Have you noticed anything different about your favorite online retailers lately? Take a closer look at their checkout options, and you may find some alternative payment methods beyond PayPal and Google(GOOG) Checkout.
A recent study by online marketing firm Brulant found that 30% of the top 100 Internet retailers offer a form of alternative payment. In that same vein, a Javelin survey found alternative payment methods made up 14% of online purchases in 2007 and are expected to grow to 30% by 2012.
"Consumers are starting to look for different options they can trust," says Adam Cohen, principal of Brulant's consumer products and retail practice. Alternative payment companies entice buyers who may not have credit cards, feel wary about sharing their information online or just want an easier checkout experience.
Bill Me LaterAlthough the biggest alternative payment provider isn't yet being used by smaller retailers, that'll be changing soon. In a year or two, Bill Me Later will be opening up its services to businesses bringing in $1 million to $5 million in sales. For now, the company has launched its business account, so you can make purchases through their no-fuss checkout model that doesn't involve remembering credit card numbers or expiration dates. With 3 million consumers in the system and 3,500 more signing up daily, Bill Me Later users are looking to extend their payments over time, says Mark Lavelle, the company's vice president of corporate development.
"We create capacity in consumers' wallets," says Lavelle. "We're not just a way to pay."
Available at retailers like Overstock(OSTK) and Wal-Mart(WMT), Bill Me Later has no preset spending limit and is often used for high-ticket items like computers and furniture. As long as the customers are paying their bills on time, they can keep racking them up.