International payment preferences: alternative payment solutions popular on domestic markets

6 December 2016

The online payment landscape is very heterogeneous: for example, while the UK citizens still prefer credit cards, in Germany the market leaders are direct debit and open invoice, and the Dutch like the iDEAL payment system. So if you are planning to convert your online business from domestic to international, take into cosideration that consumer payment preferences can significantly vary by location. That’s why it’s always a good idea to cooperate with a world-class payment partner as well as to implement local payment methods to increase conversion and expand your global reach. Here is a list of several alternative payment solutions popular in key markets around the world.


Launched in China in 2004, Alibaba-backed Alipay is an online payment platform providing financial services for Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces, as well as for thousands of various Chinese businesses. According to recent statistics, this “China’s answer to PayPal” has 450m registered users and controls nearly half of China’s online payment market. Created for the trade of physical goods on Taobao, Alipay now offers money transfers, bill and utilities payments, credit card repayments and other financial services.


Alipay doesn’t charge any transaction fees from customers. The merchant service fee is 3.0% of each transaction value. Plus, starting from October 2016, the company also charges a 0.1% fee for transfers from Alipay accounts to bank accounts that exceed US$3,000. One of the most appealing Alipay’s features is their escrow service: the company withholds a payment until the customer has confirmed receipt of the order or, if the customer doesn’t want to bother with personal confirmation, within 10 days after its shipment.

China UnionPay

Founded in 2002, China UnionPay, or simply UnionPay, is a state-backed payment card network which currently dominates the payment market in China. In addition to this country, UnionPay cards can be used in 141 countries all over the world, making it no.3 payment network by value of transactions processed. According to statistics, three in ten cards in the world are UnionPay-branded. The company charges a 1%-2% currency conversion fee when purchasing or withdrawing cash overseas.

Besides providing a ‘card present’ environment (cards are physically swiped in terminals), the company also offers its users several online and contactless payments solutions. The UnionPay Online Payments (UPOP) service is aimed to offer UnionPay cardholders a secure and convenient way to make purchases online in international stores. UnionPayQuickPass is a contactless method of payment working similar to PayWave from Visa – users can pay for purchases with a simple tap-and-go.


BPAY is a popular Australian electronic bill payment platform which allows users to make payments via their bank checking/savings account or debit card. Owned by four leading Australian banks, this payment service is used by nearly 70% of Australians for online purchases, top ups, and B2B payments. Companies wishing to offer this payment solution to their consumers need to register as billers with BPAY and receive a special biller code.

Making payments with BPAY is rather easy: no registration is required. You just need to log on to your online, mobile or phone bank account and enter all necessary information like your supplier’s biller code, how much money you want to send and the date when you need to make this transfer. After that, your bank will redirect the necessary amount to your biller – usually on the same day.


Based in Gauting (Germany), Sofortüberweisung/SofortBanking is a well-known European direct bank transfer system allowing customers to pay for online purchases using their existing internet banking account. The company cooperates with more than 35,000 online shops in 13 European countries, including Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, and others. The company states that more than 20% of participating merchants provide a discount when their customers choose to pay via their platform.

To make a payment via Sofort, you need to have a Sofort-enabled checking or savings account. Using your personal Internet banking credentials and sort code, you can authorize your transaction. The main benefit of the Sofort payment system in comparison with standard money transfers is their speedy service – the confirmation is sent to the seller in real time, so you can rely on a fast delivery of your order.


Available since 2001, Dotpay is the leading Polish online payment platform that successfully cooperates with thousands of companies all over the world and boasts of 26.2 million online shoppers. If customers want to make a payment via Dotpay, the good news is that there are no service fees and no registration is required.


Dotpay uses sophisticated technical solutions to incorporate Poland’s favorite payment methods – credit cards, e-transfers, online transfers, cash payments, mobile payments, e-wallets and vouchers, online installments. While most of the options are optimized for Polish market like Polish Post, Kantor Polski, Zapłać w Żabce i Freshmarkecie, Płacę z IKO or PeoPay, there are also several well-known payment options that will make life easier for international customers.

DineroMail (PayU)

Founded in 2003, DineroMail (now called PayU) is one of the main online and offline payment solutions on the Latin American market – the company works with over 5 mln customers in Mexico, Brasil, Argentina and Chile. In these countries, people prefer to pay via well-known local payment platforms to avoid data breaches and money losses. Plus, less than 20% of credit cards issued in Latin America are accepted abroad.

DineroMail provides 4 different methods of making payments: via a cash deposit, a bank transfer, a local or private credit card or an electronic wallet. It is not necessary to open an account unless you are planning to use the eWallet service. Since many Latinos have rather low credit card limits, most online purchases in Latin America are funded via cash payment alternatives or installment plans.

If you are planning to sell goods or services to international clients and choosing a reliable payment gateway, beware: besides big-name credit cards and PayPal, there are over 300 different payment options available in the world, and it’s worth exploring your target markets before deciding upon the one that will best suit your needs. Understanding local payment preferences and offering your soon-to-be-customers payment solutions that they know and trust will help you enter new markets faster and boost your return.

Blockchain techs
Mastercard may launch a payment system for fast cryptocurrency transactions
Banking techs
Korea digitizes mortgage and loan documents on a blockchain platform
Writing a White Paper for an ICO: expert recommendations
Show more posts...