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Why banks and merchants must consider local and alternative payments

As an online merchant, it can be hard enough to get the basics right – from choosing the best vendors to power your online store, through to the endless demands of securing your portal against fraud and getting the best deals from marketing and technical partners. So when it comes to picking which payment and alternative payment methods to offer customers, it’s tempting to go for the big schemes, plus maybe PayPal, Square or another P2P provider.

cross-border e-commerce

Why banks and merchants must consider local and alternative payments

However, that payment mix might not be right for your business, especially if you’re aiming for international customers. The truth is that all businesses these days are going online – which means it’s going global. According to Statista, cross-border e-commerce accounted for 15% of all e-commerce sales in 2016, a figure projected to rise to 22% (or around $ 1 trillion) by 2022 – writes Adam J Clarke, Founder and CEO of Macropay.

When it comes to growing revenues online, offering local and alternative payment methods is essential. Data from Ayden estimates that 38% of all e-commerce sales in Belgium occurred using major local payment system Bancontact; the same study found that Dutch local payments providers accounted for 49% of all e-commerce sales, while in Scandinavia, local payment systems constituted 42% of online business. By taking a positive approach to local payments and understanding the technological, societal and economic reasons why people prefer to pay locally, it’s possible to reach consumers across-borders and accelerate your company’s growth.

The other major emerging trend in payments is the rise of so-called “alternative” payments, chiefly based around account-to-account payment initiation services (PIS). These are becoming massively popular, especially with younger consumers, since they offer instant transfer of funds and feature lower fees than traditional card payments. Although alt payments are just getting started, providers such as Trustly and Sofort have seen transaction volumes grow by more than 350% in the last three years.

If these figures fail to convince by themselves, then one last finding from a UK consumer survey might be persuasive: in a study of the online shopping habits of 2,000 adults, more than 50% said they would abandon a transaction if their preferred payment method were not available. With data like this, offering local and alternative payment methods is no longer a “nice to have” – it’s critical for success.

At Macropay, we specialise in processing local and “alternative” payment schemes for merchants. We offer our customers one contract, one dashboard and an efficient, streamlined onboarding process. We currently offer thirteen of the most popular local payment methods across three continents, such as Portugal’s Multibanco, Brazil’s Boleto Bancario, and Belgium’s Bancontact, as well as Trustly and Sofort as alt payment options. And we’re planning to expand this portfolio to include more schemes from more countries alongside traditional debit and credit payments to serve our customer’s needs.

To find out more about how your business can improve transaction volumes and enhance profitability by offering your customers a wider range of payment options, visit us at

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