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Alternative Payment Methods To Be Aware Of In 2019

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The methods of payment used for goods and services have evolved more in the last two decades than they did in the previous two millennia. The historic system of bartering, pioneered in 6000 BC, was only challenged in 600 BC by the development of the world’s first recognised currency. Consumers then had to wait another two thousand years for the world’s first bank to open, and a further five hundred years before credit became a recognised phenomenon.

Taking a Different Approach

By comparison, over the last two decades, the internet has heralded roughly 300 different types of ecommerce payments. PayPal launched twenty years ago, introducing us all to the concept of worldwide online payments. It also simplified the rather clunky mechanism of paying for goods from a bank account, or entering and saving credit card data including those pesky CVV codes. PayPal was quickly followed by rivals including Stripe, Square and WePay, all offering variations on the same theme.

A similar phenomenon occurred with Bitcoin – a decentralised cryptocurrency launched in 2009, where payments are recorded in an indelible ledger known as the called the blockchain. Imitators swiftly followed, including Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin. However, the decision to allow cryptocurrency trading has effectively turned them into a stock market plaything, with highly volatile values compared to conventional currencies.

Nevertheless, the internet’s exponential post-Millennial growth has inspired the creation of numerous alternative payment methods. And while this term encompasses any payment for goods and services outwith cash and conventional card forms, the sheer diversity of payment options quickly becomes confusing. That’s a particular problem for anyone preparing to launch an ecommerce or online services platform. How can you decide which forms of payment to accept, and which to overlook?

The best solution is to install a multi-payment gateway. These combine multiple payment options into a single user-friendly interface, with maximum cross-platform compatibility. These five alternative payment methods deserve consideration, starting with the biggest company you’ve probably never heard of:

1. Alipay

Founded in China 15 years ago, Alipay’s domestic success has seen it become the world’s largest mobile service payment organisation. The company’s homepage claims to have a billion users, mainly thanks to dominance in its home market.

Users generally access Alipay through a dedicated Wallet app on mobile devices, with additional services including QR code payments, P2P transfers and top-ups for prepaid mobile phones. The company pioneered a facial recognition payment service back in 2017, while a partnership with Barclaycard earlier this year brought it to the UK for the first time.

2. Worldpay

British-based Worldpay Inc traces its roots back to 1997 and a partnership involving National Westminster Bank. The UK’s market leader in online payments and alternative payment methods remains one of the original multi-currency payment systems, processing 400 ecommerce transactions per second.

Worldpay operates across 145 countries and accepts over 300 different payment methods. Many of its customers are small businesses like hairdressing salons and restaurants, deploying one of over 200 pre-assembled integrations for shopping carts and EPOS terminals alike.

3. PayPal

Since its founding 1998, PayPal has grown to host 250 million active accounts in over 200 markets worldwide, with robust apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App store.

Founded within months of Worldpay by a team including future Tesla boss Elon Musk, PayPal handles $13 billion of revenue every year. The acquisition of rivals like Xoom and iZettle has established PayPal as one of America’s Fortune 500 companies, while innovations include the peer-to-peer PayPal.Me service for message-based fund requests.

4. Apple Pay

The walled garden of Apple hardware and software was crying out for a dedicated payment platform, and Apple Pay duly launched in late 2014. Compatible with desktop, mobile and wearable Apple devices, it ought to work with any contactless payment terminal in retail environments.

Two-factor authentication has been added using a variety of methods including facial recognition and the touch ID used by other smartphone payment gateways. There’s support for American Express and China’s UnionPay card services, though transaction settlement time is affected by the use of certain payment methods.

5. Google Pay

Given the fierce competition between Apple iOS and the Google-developed Android platform, it’s not surprising Google Pay has emerged as a leading rival to Apple Pay. It offers greater cross-platform compatibility than its Apple-based rival, working across smartphones and tablets, wearables and appliances.

For clarity, Google Pay has previously been known as Google Wallet, Android Pay and Pay with Google. Like Apple Pay, it’s primarily used for contactless NFC payments in shops. However, it demands platform exclusivity. For instance, owners of a Samsung device won’t also be able to utilise Samsung Pay.


With the ability to take payments from across the world, the opportunities to expand your business into new territories are greater than ever. Discover how Language Connect could help your business enter and succeed in new markets by getting in touch today.

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