The most popular payment methods globally

Businesses that operate internationally or plan to reach new markets need to ensure that they offer a good range of both local and international payment methods. Maximising your payment options will enhance customer checkout experience, satisfaction and retention, as well as contribute for an increase in profits.

Although each customer has their own preference when it comes to how they want to pay, some payment methods are quite popular globally, and likely to continue being your customers’ favourites in the years to come. In this article, we will discuss some of the most popular payment methods for international reach.

Electronic transfers

Electronic Fund Transfers englobe a huge variety of bank-to-bank online transactions, including Direct Debit, Direct deposit, e-cheques or debit/credit card. PayPal is a widely known gateway and processor that offers electronic transfers directly from your PayPal account or via your bank cards. There are over 337 million PayPal users (customers and merchants) across the world, which explains just how popular this service is. If you are looking to reach customers in other markets, alternative payment methods like PayPal would be a good option to add to your checkout page.

electronic transfer is one of the most popular payment methods.

Mobile wallets

It’s easy to understand why mobile wallets are gaining popularity. They offer customers the convenience and ease to make contactless payments with their mobile phone, a piece of technology that they’re unlikely to leave at home. Plus, mobile wallets allow for users to insert as many bank accounts as they want, and still be able to use their preferred account for each transaction despite not carrying any physical card.

Mobile wallets have around 1 billion users worldwide, which corresponds to 12% of the population. In countries like China, Norway, the UK and Japan, the percentage of mobile wallet users actually ranges from 20 to 47%, and the growth trend is upwards (Merchant Savvy). Despite not being the most popular payment method worldwide as of yet, there is a significant percentage of people from all over the world using it. Therefore, mobile wallets can be a great payment option to offer for international reach.

Credit cards

Though certainly not as innovative or convenient as mobile wallets, credit cards remain one of the most popular payment methods worldwide. Credit cards are issued by banks or credit unions, not the card networks themselves. Visa and MasterCard, for instance, are card networks but they don’t issue credit cards. However, there are a few exceptions in which card networks are also credit card issuers, such as American Express and Discover.

Generally, most banks offer credit cards options- think Barclays, JP Morgan, Capital One, Citi and NatWest, amongst others. Therefore, companies need to make sure that they support all credit card issuers, from all the countries they operate in.

Credit card is one of the most popular payment methods.

Buy Now, Pay Later

The Swedish company Klarna is perhaps the most popular BNPL provider amongst the young generation, but there are many other providers out there. You may also frequently see the option to buy now, pay later in ecommerce shops. BNPL is when payments are partially or fully postponed. Customers can purchase an item and pay for it later in instalments over a set period of time. Naturally, merchants run the risk of customers not paying back on time, which may affect the cash flow of the business. However, there are usually very high fees and interest rates for late payments.

BNPL schemes are incredibly popular and are expected to continue growing for years to come. In the US, BNPL spending accounted for $24 billion, and this digit is expected to double by 2024. BNPL is equally popular in Europe too, with countries like Sweden, Germany, Norway and Finland getting the top spots of BNPL market share (Statista report). Considering the global scale of this payment type, BNPL may be a good payment method to offer your customers.

How Imburse can help

Imburse is a cloud-based middleware connecting large enterprises to the payments ecosystem, regardless of their existing IT infrastructure. Through a single connection to Imburse, enterprises can collect or pay out using a variety of payment technologies and providers around the globe.

In a world where consumers payment preferences and technologies are ever-evolving, Imburse works with insurers to future-proof their payment requirements. Regardless of the business area, market, or requirements, Imburse will connect you to your choice of technology and provider.

Reach out to our team below should you want to discuss how Imburse can help you. Our team is happy to show you what our platform can do for your business and offer you a free demo.


Oliver Werneyer

Oliver Werneyer is the founder and CEO of Imburse. Before founding Imburse, Oliver held various roles in the insurance industry, with the likes of Liberty Life, Swiss Re and Genworth.

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