Do credit card forms have a future in ecommerce payments?

By 12th August 2014Digital Strategy, Ecommerce

The online payment space within ecommerce is rapidly changing. With huge growth in the number of people using mobile devices to purchase online, the days of entering in all your credit or debit card details are numbered, no pun intended. Let’s take a look at the problem with card payments and some alternatives that are available to use.

What is wrong with online card payments?

On a desktop computer – not much really. OK, no one enjoys having to enter a 16 digit card number plus three or four more fields, but it isn’t rocket science. Over the last 15 or so years people have got used to entering card details online, having come to terms with issues like trust and security thanks to initiatives like PCI compliance and 3D Secure. So what happened? Mobile happened. Filling out forms on mobile devices suck. Screen space is limited and the keypad uses a large chunk of it. Seeing as the checkout on an ecommerce site is pretty much a big form, the whole process isn’t ideal for mobile devices. Any reduction in input fields is beneficial to improving the mobile user experience. Address fields are pretty important if you want your purchase to be delivered, so the next form to look at removing is the credit card form.

Enter the competition

There are a number of alternatives to online card payments whose aim, amongst other things, are to make the process easier for users on both desktop and mobile devices. Enter online wallet providers. An online wallet such as PayPal removes the need to enter your card details on the checkout instead replacing it with an email and password login. So two fields to fill in instead of the four or five on a credit card form.

Obviously, you do need to set up your account if it is the first ecommerce payment you are making, but then it securely links up to your credit/debit card so all future transactions are much faster and easier.

Wallet payments are nothing new. PayPal has over 152 million active registered users and has been around for over 15 years. Set up as a secure and easy way to pay on desktop sites before the boom in mobile ecommerce, it has adapted well for use on mobile devices and has spawned a number of competitors all looking to get in on the action.

Alternatives to PayPal

Two of the big competitors to PayPal that are growing quickly are Google Wallet and Amazon Payments. Both of these services are very similar in terms of functionality to PayPal, having both independent checkout pages and integrations with your shopping cart software. The benefits they have is that they can pull on their existing user bases for other products in order to help people adopt and use them for payments.

Amazon ecommerce payment

An Amazon Payment account can pull details from an existing Amazon customer account including addresses and card details, so if you are in the majority of online shoppers who have purchased from Amazon, then setting up an account is a breeze.

Google WalletGoogle Wallet has made using its services mandatory on other Google products including the Play Store. This means an Android user who has ever purchased an App, movie, song, or in app credit will have a Google Wallet account.

As these newer services get more established and grow, PayPal’s market share is likely to decrease and more and more sites will start using the alternatives.

So which ecommerce payment should I use?

In an ideal world you would want to make it as easy as possible for all potential customers, so you would want to have all of them available to use. Unfortunately you are risking giving the user too much choice on the checkout which can negatively affect your conversion rate. In order to decide which one to choose, do some research into your existing customer base, your target market and your competitors. Use Google Analytics to identify the mobile devices your customer base are using. If the majority of your mobile visits are on Android devices then Google Wallet would be a good bet, whereas a safe bet for most fashion sites would be to stick with PayPal because it is most established.

Don’t drop the card form just yet

Mobile transactions may be rapidly increasing, but they haven’t overtaken desktop purchases just yet! Leave the trusted old card payment form on the checkout for the time being, but to get the best conversion rates across all devices, pair it up with one of the online wallet providers to allow for a faster and easier checkout experience on mobile.

You might also be interested in our blog post Everything you Need to Know about Ecommerce Payments