E-Commerce Credit Card Alternatives Take OffBy Evan Schuman | Posted 2007-04-13 Print
Online retailers' acceptance of nontraditional payments rockets 267 percent in just four months, according to one survey.
Some of the largest e-commerce chains have suddenly started to embrace nontraditional payment methods, with one analyst group finding a 267 percent increase in such acceptance in four months.
The survey was completed by e-commerce consultancy Brulant, which released the full results from both its October 2006 and February 2007 surveys.
Brulant in October looked at the Web sites for the 100 largest online retailers—including Federated, Staples, Wal-Mart, Target, JC Penney, The Home Depot and Rite Aid—and logged what payment methods they accepted, according to Brulant analyst Stephen Morris. Nontraditional payment methods include Bill Me Later, Google Checkout and PayPal.
In February, they went back to the same sites and did the same thing and found that acceptance had almost tripled.
Statistics, though, can be misleading, especially when the initial numbers are small. Although a 267 percent increase sounds like a landslide of nontraditional payment support, the survey also found that only 24 percent of the tracked sites offered any alternative payment.
With 76 percent of sites supporting only traditional credit or debit cards such as those from MasterCard, Visa and American Express, the survey results do not suggest that consumers can take advantage of e-commerce with no credit cards yet. Given that large retail chains are notoriously slow to accept fundamental changes, this is still a very significant development.
Patti Freeman Evans, who tracks retail trends for Jupiter Research, said the rapid increase is "not surprising" given the research her company has done.
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