4 Online Payment Methods That Customers Want (and How to Use Them)

4 Online Payment Methods That Customers Want (and How to Use Them)
No matter where you sell, customers want options when they pay. Here are four of the most popular online payment methods and how to use them.
by Mackenzie Born Nov 01, 2022 — 3 min read
4 Online Payment Methods That Customers Want (and How to Use Them)

Whether you sell through an online store, social media, or on mobile apps, customers want options when they pay online. 

While credit and debit cards are still the most preferred payment method for U.S. shoppers, other online payment methods are growing quickly in popularity. According to projections from eMarketer, there will be 6.5 million new mobile wallet payment users per year from 2021 to 2025. Afterpay reported that buy-now, pay-later usage is increasing among all generations — particularly with Gen Z, whose buy-now, pay-later spending increased 900% from January 2020 to February 2022.

As customers gravitate toward new digital payment methods, here are four of the most popular payment methods to know about, how they work, and how to accept them. 

1. Apple Pay

Apple Pay is Apple’s digital wallet payment method. Digital copies of cards are stored on Apple devices, such as an iPhone or an Apple Watch, so consumers don’t need a physical copy of their cards to pay. When customers check out on a website or app, transactions can be initiated with a tap on their device.

Apple Pay is the most popular mobile wallet app in the U.S. According to Statista, Apple Pay had a market share of over 90% in 2020. The digital payments service accounted for 92% of all U.S. mobile wallet debit transactions in 2020, according to data from Pulse. Apple Pay can be used in-store and online, and thanks to its large market share, the payment method caters to a wide consumer base.

2. Google Pay

While not as widely used as Apple Pay, Google Pay is a popular alternative among U.S. consumers who don’t have an Apple device or who prefer Google platforms. Available on both Android and iOS devices, Google Pay stores a customer’s card information so they can pay online and in person with a tap of their phone.

Similar to Apple Pay, Google Pay allows users to add gift cards, loyalty program cards, membership cards, and event tickets to their mobile wallets so they can easily access payment methods and rewards to shop at certain businesses. 

3. Cash App 

Cash App is a peer-to-peer payment app, similar to Venmo or PayPal, in which users can send and receive money quickly. 

Cash App is popular for personal transactions, but customers also use it to pay businesses. Users can add their Cash Card — a debit card tied to their Cash App account — to digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay to complete transactions. Merchants can also accept Cash App payments directly through a point-of-sale terminal or online with Cash App Pay.

According to data from Stilt, Cash App is popular among users with a credit score of less than 600, which gives businesses an opportunity to cater to customers who may skew younger or who aren’t yet using credit cards for their finances.

4. Afterpay 

Afterpay is a buy-now, pay-later lender that divides a customer’s total purchase into four biweekly payments. Users pay 25% of their purchase up front, and payments made within the four-payment installment window are interest-free.* 

While Afterpay allows a customer to pay in installments, the service pays the merchant the full cost of the transaction up front, minus merchant fees to use Afterpay, so there’s no financial risk for a business if the customer doesn’t pay. 

The buy-now, pay-later service has over 19 million active customers around the world and doesn’t require a minimum credit score to use, which can help open payment options to a range of consumers. This includes younger generations who prefer to pay in installments rather than with traditional credit cards, according to data from Afterpay

Read more about how to offer buy-now, pay-later options to your customers.


How to accept digital payments online

Regardless of your business type, accepting digital wallet and buy-now, pay-later methods offers a greater number of customers more ways to pay, which can help your bottom line. 

To start accepting digital wallet or buy-now, pay-later methods online, first you’ll need to ensure that the payment processor you use supports them. If it does, you can set up or enable the payment infrastructure on your online checkout and site pages. If you also sell in person, you can connect these digital payment methods to your point-of-sale system, as long as the system you use supports them. 

If your online store or payment links are hosted by Square, you have the built-in option to accept payments with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Cash App Pay, and Afterpay for a faster and more flexible checkout experience. You can enable the payment methods you want to use easily, take customer payments securely, and even accept digital and buy-now, pay-later methods in person and remotely. 

*Late fees may apply. Eligibility criteria apply. See www.afterpay.com for more details. Loans to California residents made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license.

Mackenzie Born
Mackenzie Born is an editor at Square covering all things commerce, from starting and running a business to leveraging technology that helps it grow.


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