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Chart of Most Popular Online Payment Methods Worldwide

Most Popular Online Payment Methods

As consumers’ shopping habits shift online and the global ecommerce market share rises, online payment methods are changing along with it.

As of 2021, 49 percent of total ecommerce expenditure worldwide was paid using digital and/or mobile wallets, making it the most popular online payment method among global consumers. 

Not only do digital and mobile wallets have a strong lead over all other types of online payment methods, but they’re also expected to cement their top position in the coming years as the usage of other online payment options declines. 

By 2025, more than half (53 percent) of all ecommerce spend is expected to be carried out with digital and mobile wallets. 

The second and third most popular online payment methods are credit/charge cards and debit cards, which are currently used for 21 percent and 13 percent of global ecommerce sales respectively. Though these methods will continue to be popular online payment options for consumers, their combined shares of online payment options will fall from the current 34 percent to 32 percent in 2025.

Bank transfer, buy now, pay later, and cash on delivery make up the top five payment methods online worldwide in 2021. 

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Top Online Payment Methods in North America

Chart of Top Online Payment Methods in North America

As the digital and mobile wallets strengthen their stronghold as the top online payment option worldwide, over in North America, credit/charge cards continue to be the go-to payment method for ecommerce payments as they have been for decades.

Experts attribute this to the strong attachment and loyalty of North American consumers to credit cards and a general unwillingness to adopt innovation. 

In 2021, nearly a third (31 percent) of ecommerce expenditure was paid for with credit cards. It was also the top payment method for point of sale purchases. 

However, the signs of North America’s declining use of credit cards are clear as current data points to the growing trend of paying online with digital wallets catching on in North America. 

In 2021, digital wallets accounted for 29 percent of total ecommerce payments. By 2025, the tide is predicted to change and digital wallets are expected to outrank credit/charge cards to become the most popular online payment method. By then, 33 percent of ecommerce spend in North America is expected to be paid for using digital wallets, compared to 28 percent by credit/charge cards.

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