Alternative Payment Methods

The changing landscape of payments

As the global market evolves, so do the ways people pay. Alternative payment methods—payment methods other than credit and debit cards—are hugely popular and growing more so, accounting for a significant percentage of online sales. By offering alternative payment types where they are preferred, you make payments more convenient for customers and open up new markets.

Alternative payment methods: A short guide

Bank transfers

Funds go straight from a payer’s bank account to a seller’s bank account, with no risk of payment reversals. Examples: SOFORT, ACH

Direct debit

With both bank transfers and direct debit, funds come straight from a payer’s bank account. A bank transfer is initiated by the payer, whereas direct debit is initiated by the payee—usually for recurring payments such as bills. Example: SEPA

Digital wallets

Consumers can load funds onto digital wallets, or e-wallets, from a bank account or other payment method. They can then pay with value stored in the wallet, or with a payment method linked to the wallet. Digital wallets are quickly growing in popularity around the world. Examples: Alipay, PayPal


With pre-paid methods, consumers load funds onto a card or voucher, whether digital or physical. These can be acquired without consumers having to provide personal information and can even be used as alternatives to traditional bank accounts. Example: PostePay


When using a post-paid method, consumers add items to a cart online and pay afterwards, either online or in person at a bank, store, post office, or other outlet. With some post-pay methods, the goods or services may be delivered to the consumer before payment. Examples: MultiBanco, Qiwi

Local cards

Local cards function like credit or debit cards—and are sometimes merged with traditional credit card companies. Local cards frequently have very high adoption rates by region, making them must-have payment methods in those markets. Examples: UnionPay, JCB

Join the global marketplace

Offer the alternative payment methods that people prefer to use worldwide—and grow your coverage through our acquiring and bank settlement networks.

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