Feeds

€165bn in e-commerce every year - and not a plastic card in sight

Gambling and smut pop the virtual money floodgates

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Alternatives to traditional credit and debit cards are now processing €165bn ($214bn, £133bn) annually – 22 per cent of global e-commerce – and that's just the start as the next generation of consumers grows up without seeing a plastic card.

The numbers come from WorldPay, which should know a thing or two about online payments, and are accompanied by an interactive map showing how country-specific payment schemes risk creating islands of commerce and are already making it harder for companies with international aspirations.

Alternatives to card payments include real-time bank transfers, direct debits, electronic wallets, paper-based payments and costs tacked onto a mobile-phone bill, but the popularity of such schemes is very regional. PayPal, for example, dominates in the UK and US but is almost unknown in the Netherlands, where iDEAL-moderated bank transfers dominate.

That makes it harder for a UK company using PayPal to sell into the Netherlands, or Germany, or France, or just about anywhere else in Europe (with the notable exception of Italy), despite the international banking agreements which should permit international commerce.

Despite that, WorldPay reckons alternatives are set to grow, predicting that by 2015 more than half of the world's e-commerce payments will be made using such alternative schemes, to the cost of the credit card companies (WorldPay provides services to both sides, so is primarily interested in increasing the overall number of transactions).

Explaining the growth, WorldPay's report shies away from the obvious cost advantages and instead points out that the reluctance of traditional credit cards (and PayPal) to sully themselves with gambling or porn has driven consumers into the arms of alternative suppliers.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing; WorldPay reckons fraud isn't significantly higher among the 230 alternative payment mechanisms running around the world, though as they continue to proliferate some will no doubt prove susceptible to keyloggers and suchlike. What is clear is that electronic payments are undergoing an extremely slow revolution, and like any revolution there will likely be blood on the steps before it's over. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.