I would like to give customers the option of paying however they can whether that be through a proper gateway (e.g. SagePay) or through something else such as PayPal, Amazon Checkout or Google Checkout.

Personally I have not bought anything through the Amazon Checkout except for on Amazon.co.uk and my PayPal buys have been limited. As for Google Checkout I have no idea what that is or how it works from a consumer perspective.

I understand that people buying from smaller sites are happier to pay by PayPal as they have an account already and trust PayPal.

As for Amazon Payments and Google Checkout, do people actually use them if given the choice? There are a lot of people on Kindles these days, happy to buy stuff via Amazon on their Kindle. Would Amazon Payments make sense to this growing crowd?

With too many payment gateways on offer it might be confusing at the checkout. Does anyone know if this is a problem for genuine customers?

I also have not seen many 'pay by Amazon Payments' icons on websites (you see PayPal all the time). Does advertising the fact that you can pay by Amazon Payments increase sales, e.g. to Kindle owners that have a nebulous book-buying account that 'their other half doesn't know about'?


People will use whatever form of payment they are most comfortable with. So the more payment options you offer, the more likely a user is to make a purchase on your website. The downside to this, for you as the webmaster (or owner) of that website is you have multiple sources of payments that you need to integrate and test as well as reconcile your books to.

Offering your customer multiple ways to pay is only as confusing as you make it. If you clearly display their options to them it should be very easy for them to make payment. Making your payment options page very visual (i.e. images/logos of Paypal, and Amazon, Google Checkout, and credit card images for the major credit cards you take if you are also using a true merchant account) is an important part of that process. Making the checkout process as similar as possible for all of your payment methods is also a good idea. Naturally you have little control of the customer experience if they have to leave your site to make payment on the third party processor's website (i.e. Paypal) but you do control everything up to and after they leave your site.

No one can tell you for sure that using Amazon, or any other payment provider, will increase sales because just offering it doesn't necessarily mean it will increase sales. How you present the payment options and your type of customer will have the most influence on whether offering a specific payment processor will increase sales. For example, if your clientele are typical eBay users then offering Paypal as a payment option will definitely increase sales. If your clientele are readers or academics, offering Amazon probably will increase sales, etc.

Since most third party payment providers do not have set up or monthly fees it is worth offering them to your customers. Then you can see which ones perform well and which ones do not. You can later drop the poorly performing ones to make your checkout less cluttered and easier to use.

  • I havwe a friend that runs a really, really large site with all the normal social network doodads, for which there are statistics. Nobody uses 'Digg' or 'Stumbleupon', only 'Facebook' gets any clicks. I was wondering if someone with a large transactional site can say the same for payment gateways. Does anyone use 'Google Checkout' or 'Amazon Payments'? Or is adding them about as pointless as adding a 'StumbleUpon' or 'Digg' button (to all intents and porpoises). Jul 1 '11 at 13:36
  • 3
    What kind of a site does your friend run? Digg attracts a certain demographic. If his users aren't in that demographic then the Digg button is useless. If he did attract that kind of user I bet he'd see a lot more usage. But either way he did the smart thing by trying them all out first because that way he knew he wasn't leaving traffic on the table. As far as payment providers go Paypal is by far and away the most popular one. Google Checkout would be a distant second and Amazon a distant third. I used to work in the merchant services industry so I keep up on these sort of things.
    – John Conde
    Jul 1 '11 at 13:39
  • He is a she and the site is attracting the whole demographic for real products, services and information. They are not in the news every week, just once a month or so on the BBC, significant compared to most internet sites but not clickworthy enough for the dwindling Digg service - going the same way as myspace - CEO resigned, staff laid off, users jumped ship - and soon to be as cool as the HotBot search engine (powered by Inktomi, can't forget that...). Would like some numbers rather than hunches, experience rather than expertise on the payment gateways situation, but thanks. Jul 1 '11 at 14:09

I will talk about personal experience only.

We have a few e-commerce sites that sell retail computer software in different countries (UK, USA, Australia). I will use UK as an example.

We use SagePay as payment processing gateway. We also have Google Checkout implemented. When customer is on a Basket page he has a choice of "Checkout Now" using our own checkout process (payments will be processed via SagePay) or Google Checkout (where he gets redirected on Google site and does the rest there).

The results: in average maybe 1 out of 50-60 orders gets placed using Google Checkout. If per month we can make,lets say, 400-500K worth of sales using our own checkout process, Google Checkout makes max 20K. I have to mention that about 40% of orders are made by returning customers (regular .. or those who have more than 1-2 orders, even if they placing it once a year).

PayPal -- we got asked 2-3 times a month if they can pay using PayPal .. but company does not want to deal with it (I don't remember exact explanation but it has something to do hight rates, the fact that PayPal can easily suspend your account in case of complaint (even if it is a ridiculous complaint -- like "I have ordered it midnight why don't I have it delivered it by 9AM") and the hassle of proving that you are not "an elephant" afterwards).

But if we would have it (PayPal) implemented on our site, I would imagine that it will beat Google Checkout with ease: it is well known, possibly everyone has an account already.

Taking all this together it is definite that SagePay works best for us, especially in terms of charges: If customer pays by Debit Card you pay just 10p for a transaction; Credit Card -- around 2.2% (that's depends on you actual agreement and is different for each company, how much transactions per month you have, the amounts etc) or around 1.3% if transaction is 3D-Secure -- each company get their own rates -- those are just approximations.

  • Very useful answer, many thanks! Presumably Amazon Payments is off the radar, as measured by your customer enquiries. Jul 1 '11 at 13:38

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