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Survey: Alternative payment methods grow in acceptance

A recently completed survey from the consulting firm Brulant found a 267 percent spike in the acceptance of nontraditional payment methods by some of the biggest e-commerce chains over a four-month period.

Compare Low Interest Credit CardsBrulant released the full results from its October 2006 and February 2007 survey, which considered what forms of payment were accepted at the websites of 100 of the top online retailers, such as Staples, Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney.  PayPal, Bill Me Later and Google Checkout were among the alternative payment methods considered.

But before consumers start cutting up their credit cards, they should be aware that those sites offering nontraditional payment made up just 24 percent of the sample.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express and other traditional credit cards and debit cards were still the only payment option at 76 percent of the websites, meaning that plastic is still needed for e-commerce.  But since retailers are known for being slow to accept fundamental changes, the near tripling in nontraditional payment acceptance is a major development.

Brulant ‘s survey found that PayPal had 6 percent of the market, while Google checkout controlled 5 percent of the market.  Both were far outpaced by Bill Me Later’s 17 percent market share.

Weighing the possible reasons for the surge in acceptance, Brulant highlighted the fact that with the initial survey performed in early October, retailers may have not yet launched all of their holiday services.

Meanwhile, retailers seemingly have become more open to the idea of payment alternatives amid general dissatisfaction the interchange fees charged by major credit card issuers.

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