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Created on 15.07.2022

Successful online retail: the key payment methods for online shops

Online shopping must be fast. That applies to payment too. If online shops offer customers their preferred payment method, purchases can be completed in seconds. The faster, the better. Find out here which payment methods are essential for your shop in 2022.

Credit card: no. 1 in Swiss e-commerce

Acceptance of credit cards is indispensable for online retailers. They are Switzerland’s most popular online payment method. Studies show that Swiss people prefer to use credit cards when shopping online. One reason for that is the fast and smooth payment processing. Credit cards are also a well-established payment method worldwide.

But there are some drawbacks too. Shop operators pay relatively high fees and are also responsible for protecting sensitive customer data. If vulnerabilities exist, hackers can exploit them to steal data.

Debit card: the newcomer in 2022

Debit cards are frequently used in Switzerland. Now for online shopping too thanks to the online-compatible payment function of the latest generation of Visa and Mastercard®. As many online customers have debit cards, you should offer this payment method in your shop. Payment is quick and easy: it’s just a matter of entering the card number, verification code and expiry date – just like paying with a credit card.

But be careful, this similarity often leads to misunderstandings. Few online shops use the correct name for debit as a payment method today – despite providers like Mastercard supporting them. But the clear distinction between debit and credit cards is important as this enables you to reach customers without credit cards. This includes lots of young people too.

PostFinance: security plus reach

Payment via PostFinance is commonplace in Swiss e-commerce. With 2.7 million PostFinance Card holders, most of your online customers can use this payment method. Another plus: payment is carried out via e-banking or PostFinance Card. Not you but PostFinance is responsible for data protection during the payment process. This means you benefit from secure, trustworthy payment processing as well as extensive reach.

PostFinance offers payment collection solutions in online shops for both microenterprises and major customers. The flexible Payment Service Providing solution “Checkout Flex” – which has many functions and freely selectable payment methods – is ideal for special requirements. You can trial this solution for yourself for a 30-day period. Or compare the various payment solutions and then decide which best meets your needs.

Mobile payments: focus on TWINT

Online payment via smartphone is all the rage and not just among the younger generation. As mobile phones can be used practically anywhere and at any time, it’s hardly surprising that shopping via smartphone is booming. That’s why mobile payments are vitally important to shop operators.

TWINT has established itself as a provider in Switzerland. The term “to twint” has become part of our vocabulary and synonymous with all mobile-related payment procedures. The Swiss app can be used at both on-site points of payment and online. The advantage is that transfers are made in real time. This means shop operators receive their money immediately and can process orders more quickly.

Payment processing – which takes place in the app – is another benefit. Not you but TWINT is responsible for data protection. As TWINT doesn’t require a credit card, you can reach a wide customer segment. Technically, integrating TWINT into your web shop system is easy and straightforward. A list of compatible providers can be found at The link will open in a new window

PayPal: the global giant

The US online payment service PayPal is an international heavyweight in e-commerce payment methods. By offering PayPal, you can provide a widely used payment system available to customers from all over the world. This payment method is strongly recommended for shops aimed at customers worldwide.

It’s also important to understand that payment is processed separately via the PayPal account. This means retailers receive payment quickly and securely, but not sensitive bank details. PayPal ensures data protection. Almost one in five people in Switzerland prefer this free payment method online. The only downside is that shop operators pay reasonably high fees.

Invoice: the classic method – even online

Purchase on account is and remains a classic payment method – even online. Despite digitization, invoices are still one of the most popular payment methods in online shops for Swiss people. Many shoppers prefer to receive an invoice because they can inspect and try out the goods they ordered before making the payment. Purchase on account only requires the entry of an address – shop operators do not receive and bear responsibility for sensitive data.

But they bear the risk as the invoice issuer. If invoices are settled late or not at all in the event of fraud, they face administrative workload or financial losses. They can pay fees to transfer this risk to external service providers if required. Risk can be transferred at attractive fees with solutions such as PowerPay from MF Group, which is also available with “Checkout Flex”.

Instalment payment: high prices, low budget

Instalment payment is already well established in other sectors. But it’s relatively new in e-commerce. The pros and cons for retailers and shoppers are generally similar to those of invoices. The big difference is time. It can take several months before the invoice has been settled in full. To make financing easier for customers, instalment payment is ideal for expensive items, such as e-bikes or furniture.

Advance payment: low-risk, but unpopular with customers

Advance payment is the opposite of purchase on account. You – the shop operator – receive the money and then make the delivery, minimizing your risks. Shoppers don’t like using this payment method as they only receive the goods after payment and the refund process is inconvenient. Shop operators are advised only to use advance payment for the first purchase or to grant attractive discounts. In any event, this payment method should be just one of many options.

Direct debit schemes: one-time set-up, multiple orders

Direct debit schemes provide two major advantages for shop operators – planning security and relatively low transaction costs. Recurring orders can be set up easily and conveniently on a one-time basis – for example, with the alias option from PostFinance. This is highly convenient in B2B business – both for shop operators and customers. Direct debit schemes also enjoy a good reputation in this segment.

Look to the future: technologies in their infancy

The example of TWINT illustrates that new user-friendly technologies can quickly emerge on the payment market. That’s why online retailers need to constantly update their shop in line with the latest trends. For example, the inpayment slip is being phased out in 2022. Now only QR-bills will be sent.

Cryptocurrencies are also on the up. Bitcoin and others are already accepted by leading Swiss online stores, such as Galaxus and Digitec. The Klarna payment system shows how the fintech sector is breaking away from old practices. The Swedish company is an online bank, payment provider and shopping app all in one. Online retailers don’t just choose between different payment methods, but also sell their products via the Klarna app.

In short: reflect on needs

As a shop operator, you’ve got highly specific requirements in terms of payment methods. These requirements relate directly to your online shop’s product range and your customers’ preferences. It’s important to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of each payment method. Fully meeting customer requirements is paramount.

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