There are hundreds of payment gateways available globally to help companies to sell products online. These range from very simply solutions for small companies (such as Stripe or Shopify’s inbuilt option) right up to more complex payment gateways (offered by the likes of Sage and WorldPay). But do they really make any difference to ecommerce sales?

The answer is, of course, yes!

There are two main factors when choosing a payment gateway (or a suit of gateways) that influence ecommerce sales: trust and preferred payments. According to a report by PayPal, trust and preferred payment can account for approx. 20% and 10% uplift in sales respectively.


Trust is obviously important when buying online. It is nowhere more important than when you are asking customers to put in sensitive payment information. If customers don’t trust that their details are secure, then they will be reluctant to purchase.

Ensuring that you are using a payment gateway that is trustworthy is of paramount importance. PayPal is one of the most well recognised and trusted ecommerce payment options. Having PayPal on your ecommerce site is a must.

For all its positives, however, not everyone likes PayPal (and they charge a higher fee than other options). For this reason, it is also important that you have another option to take the preferred payment method of the country you are selling into.

There is more to trust than just choosing the payment gateway, and you can find out more here on how to build trust on your ecommerce site.

Preferred payments

In the UK most people tend to purchase either through debit/credit card, or through PayPal. However, this is not true of other countries. Even within, Europe there are massive differences in how consumers make ecommerce payments.

Some of the differences in how consumers pay are cultural, but others are down to not having access to the same methods we do in the UK (such as credit cards).

The top international ecommerce markets for the UK are the US, Germany and China. If you plan to (or are already) sell in these markets, then maximising ecommerce revenue means you need to know how consumers in these markets pay.

United States

The US is much the same as the UK when it comes to payment preferences. With credit/debit cards and PayPal being the most popular method of payment online.

Selling to the US usually doesn’t require the setup of any preferred payments beyond what you should already have in the UK (i.e. credit/debit cards and PayPal).


Although the Germans do use credit/debit cards and PayPal, the preferred method of ecommerce payment is ELV. Elektronisches Lastschriftverfahren (or ELV) is basically a direct debit payment, and is exclusively used in Germany.

If Germany represents a major ecommerce market for you, then setting up ELV can be done through companies such as WorldPay. If it doesn’t represent a material percentage of your revenues, however, stick to credit/debit cards and PayPal. By and large, Germans are happy to use them


In China, Wallets are king. The two top forms of ecommerce payment are AliPay and WeChat Wallet.

Unlike the US and Germany, however, not everyone in China has access to a credit/debit card. So if you want to seriously test the Chinese ecommerce market, you will need one of these solutions. Up until quite recently, this was a nightmare. It required setting up a Chinese company and many hoops to jump through. The good news is that Stripe have just released an integration with AliPay. This makes things much simpler, especially if you are already using Stripe.


If you are selling to countries other than the three here, here is some more info on international preferred payments.

Getting your payment gateways right for your key target markets can really boost ecommerce sales on your own website, so make sure you choose the right one for your business.

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