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The right payments for your checkout in 2024

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Anatolli Iakimets

Director, Product Marketing

Published on:

Payment Trends

The payments landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by technological advancements and shifting consumer preferences:

  • The proliferation of digital wallets has seen a substantial rise in adoption rates globally, with a projected growth of 17.2% CAGR between 2021-2026. Leading the charge are platforms like Apple Pay, with over 507 million users worldwide, and Google Pay, boasting over 150 million monthly active users. These digital wallet solutions offer secure and convenient payment options, leveraging technologies like NFC and biometric authentication to streamline transactions.
  • Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services have experienced explosive growth, with global transaction values reaching $680 billion in 2021, more than double the previous year. Platforms like Afterpay, Klarna, and Affirm are pioneering this trend, providing consumers with the flexibility to make purchases and spread payments over time without accruing interest. In 2021, Afterpay alone reported over 17 million active customers worldwide, highlighting the widespread adoption of BNPL solutions.
  • The debate between debit cards and credit cards continues as consumer preferences shift. While credit card usage remains prevalent, with over 1.16 billion credit cards in circulation in the United States alone, debit cards are gaining ground. In 2020, debit card payments surpassed credit card payments for the first time, accounting for 50.7% of all card payments in the U.S. This shift reflects a growing preference for spending within means and avoiding debt accumulation among consumers.
  • Alternative payment methods such as cryptocurrency, mobile payments, and prepaid cards are gaining traction, offering unique advantages and catering to niche markets. Cryptocurrency transactions surpassed $1 trillion in 2021, driven by growing acceptance from mainstream businesses like Tesla and PayPal. Mobile payment apps like Venmo and Cash App have also surged in popularity, with Venmo processing over $159 billion in total payment volume in 2021. Prepaid cards, offering financial inclusion and budgeting control, saw a 23% increase in usage between 2019-2021, reflecting their appeal to unbanked and underbanked populations.

As customers increasingly demand flexibility and convenience, the average number of payment methods available on websites has also seen a significant increase. Today, the average site offers 7-10 payment methods, up from 3-4 in 2018. This trend is driven by customers seeking more options and control over their payment experiences.

Multi-payments Challenges

The increase in payment options, while beneficial for customers, poses significant challenges for commerce platforms:

Integration: Integrating new payment options into existing platforms can be a time-consuming and costly process, requiring developers to navigate complex APIs, security protocols, and compliance standards. Each integration demands dedicated resources for testing, implementation, and ongoing maintenance, amplifying both time and financial investments for commerce platforms. Moreover, the need for continuous updates and adjustments to accommodate evolving payment technologies further compounds the time and cost burden associated with integrating new payment options.

User Experience: Displaying numerous payment options at the checkout presents significant challenges for user experience (UX), as cluttered interfaces can overwhelm and confuse customers, leading to cart abandonment and decreased conversion rates. Balancing the need to offer a comprehensive range of payment methods with the imperative to maintain a clean and intuitive checkout flow requires careful design considerations. Implementing strategies such as collapsible menus, progressive disclosure, or personalized recommendations can help streamline the payment selection process and mitigate the UX challenges associated with displaying numerous payment options.

Logistical Complexity: Managing a wide array of payment options adds complexity to backend systems and processes. Each payment method may have different settlement procedures, reconciliation processes, and transaction fees, necessitating robust backend infrastructure to handle diverse payment flows efficiently. Coordinating with multiple payment service providers and financial institutions further complicates operations, requiring dedicated resources for communication, troubleshooting, and relationship management.

Fraud and Security Risks: With an increased number of payment options comes an expanded surface area for potential fraud and security breaches. Each payment method may have its own vulnerabilities and fraud vectors, necessitating comprehensive fraud detection and prevention measures. Commerce platforms must invest in sophisticated fraud detection tools, encryption technologies, and compliance frameworks to safeguard sensitive payment data and protect against fraudulent activities across diverse payment channels.

Customer Support Challenges: Offering numerous payment options can also lead to customer support challenges, as users may encounter issues or have inquiries specific to individual payment methods. Providing timely and effective support for diverse payment-related queries requires knowledgeable staff and efficient escalation procedures. Additionally, discrepancies in payment processing or disputes may arise, requiring dedicated resources for resolution and mediation to ensure positive customer experiences and maintain brand reputation.

How Headless Checkout Simplifies Payments

Headless checkout, emerges as a solution to the challenges posed by managing numerous payment options in ecommerce platforms. With its decoupled architecture separating the front-end presentation layer from the back-end commerce functionality, headless checkout streamlines the integration of diverse payment methods.

This approach significantly reduces the time and cost required for implementation, empowering merchants to swiftly add and manage new payment options through APIs without disrupting the customer-facing interface. By decoupling the checkout process from the rest of the platform, headless checkout allows for greater flexibility and scalability in accommodating evolving payment technologies.

Furthermore, headless checkout enables dynamic presentation of payment options tailored to individual user preferences, effectively addressing the UX challenges associated with displaying multiple payment methods. Merchants can leverage data insights and user behavior analytics to intelligently surface relevant payment options, enhancing the overall checkout experience for customers.

Centralized management of payment integrations within headless commerce platforms ensures logistical simplicity. Merchants can efficiently monitor and manage all payment methods from a single dashboard, streamlining operations and reducing overhead costs associated with payment processing.

Redefining User Experience with Payment Flows

Headless checkout revolutionizes payment flows by offering unparalleled flexibility and customization options, allowing merchants to dynamically tailor payment options based on various factors such as device, channel, cart size, and more. With headless architecture, merchants can leverage advanced algorithms and machine learning models to analyze user behavior and preferences, enabling intelligent decision-making in presenting payment methods.

One of the key advantages of headless checkout is its ability to adapt to different devices seamlessly. Whether customers are shopping on desktops, smartphones, or tablets, headless commerce platforms can detect the device type and screen size, optimizing the presentation of payment options for an optimal user experience. For instance, on mobile devices with limited screen real estate, headless checkout can prioritize displaying a condensed selection of payment methods to streamline the checkout process, whereas on desktops, where users have more screen space, a wider range of payment options can be presented.

Furthermore, headless checkout empowers merchants to personalize payment flows based on the specific channel through which customers engage with their brand. Whether it's through the website, mobile app, social media platform, or even in-store kiosks, headless commerce platforms can adapt payment options to align with the unique characteristics and preferences of each channel. For example, offering alternative payment methods such as digital wallets or buy now, pay later options may be more suitable for mobile app users, while traditional credit card payments may be preferred by customers shopping through the website. This level of customization enhances the overall user experience and increases the likelihood of completing transactions across various channels.

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About the author
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Anatolli Iakimets

Director, Product Marketing

Anatolli Iakimets is a Director, Product Marketing at Bold Commerce

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