Installment payments are becoming increasingly popular as a payment option in e-commerce – among customers and online retailers alike. For some, it means greater financial flexibility when shopping online, and for others it means higher shopping baskets, more sales and more satisfied customers. There are now numerous providers who offer installment payment as a service for online retailers. We have compared the providers in our market overview of installment payment solutions on the basis of 11 categories and 115 criteria and provide you with a decision-making aid with our comparison. The results can be downloaded as a PDF here.
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The checkout is of particular importance in e-commerce. It is here that the prospective customer becomes a customer – and unfortunately, it is also here that many customers still bail out. This is reason enough to make the checkout as user-friendly as possible and to gear it as closely as possible to the needs of the customer. This includes the right mix of payment methods. The PayPal wallet, payment on account and a direct transfer method are standard in almost every store.
Retailers observe increase in sales through use of installment payments
One payment method that is becoming increasingly popular among online store operators is installment payment. This is because this payment method is already both well-known and popular among customers from the offline world. According to relevant studies, this ensures more sales, a better conversion rate and more satisfied customers in the store. According to a study by ibi Research, 70% of the online retailers surveyed who use installment payments have seen an increase in sales, 68% an improvement in customer satisfaction, and 65% an increase in the average value of the shopping cart.
Every online merchant should check whether an installment payment also makes sense for his store
These results show: Every online merchant should look into the topic of installment payments and check whether it doesn’t also make sense for their business to expand their checkout in the store. When choosing a provider – because using it on your own is only advisable in rare cases – you should look carefully and set priorities according to your own situation. We have grouped the criteria to be considered into categories, which also form the structure of the market overview. The result is a comparison in 11 categories based on 115 criteria, in which the solutions of all relevant specialized providers in the DACH market are put through their paces. The Klarna Group and PayPal are not included because – although they also offer installment payment solutions in their extensive payment method portfolio – these do not form the focus of the service and product offering.
The solutions included in the market overview are:
- FlexiPay installment payment from the UNIVERSUM Group
- Paysafe Paylater installment payment
- Installment payment by easyCredit
- Ratepay installment payment
- Santander installment payment
11 categories for the optimal overview of providers
First, general figures and information about the provider itself play an important role in the selection process. Do you want to go for the one player from abroad, should the provider rather bring the background of a bank or would you rather have a fintech startup as a partner?
But of course, it should not just be about the providers as companies, but about the solutions. Here, the merchant features in particular are especially important in the decision-making process. Perhaps the most important feature is the risk question. Who assumes the risk of default? Which payout model suits you best? On what basis are financing decisions made? Marketing, design and statistics formats may also be quite relevant criteria.
An important point, especially in terms of internationalization and cross-border commerce, is also the international availability of the installment payment solution for the end customer. Only a few service providers offer their product on an international stage. We have included what we consider to be the most important (European) markets in our market overview and checked them for the offer or availability of installment payment solutions.
In addition to the features for merchants, the end-customer-oriented features of the solutions play a decisive role in the selection process. For example, the general conditions and terms, the accumulation of financing or the sometimes time-consuming, because inconvenient, legitimation procedure. In a nutshell: How user-friendly and customer-oriented are the various installment payment solutions?
It’s not what you say, but how you say it. And a high service level is an additional sales driver. Particularly when it comes to installment payment, which by definition are spread over a longer period of time, the way customers are treated and the service they receive is essential. For example, when it comes to the delicate issue of late payment: defaults are rarely of a criminal nature, but rather due to financial bottlenecks or personal fate. Professional receivables and collection management can be worth its weight in gold. This is also in the interest of the merchant, because the performance of the installment payment provider is also linked to him by the customer. That’s why we have also devoted a focus to the question of features and routines during the installment payment period.
The merging of channels, which is increasingly being demanded in retail, is also evident in the area of installment payments: a multichannel or omnichannel strategy, i.e. the use of installment payments in both online stores and stationary retail, is the model of the future. So how is the installment payment solution integrated into the checkout process at the PoS (point of sale)? Will additional hardware be required, for example? Do employees on the sales floor need to be trained for installment payments?
We also asked about fundamental legal criteria: This has been a sensitive issue at least since the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But rights and obligations must also be clearly defined outside of the regulation. Who is the customer’s contractual partner, the merchant or the payment service provider?
Now it’s getting technical: because in addition to features for merchants and customers, one question comes to mind: How and via which interfaces can merchants integrate the installment payment solution into their own store system? Spoiler: The usual suspects, i.e. all common store systems, are usually also served by the product providers.
Many merchants leave the integration of individual payment methods to a payment service provider. We therefore also queried who has integrations with the various PSPs.
What customer service is to end consumers, merchant support is to store operators. Are merchants supported in integration, in use at the PoS, and online? And in what form? Are trainings offered, is it possible to turn to an (online) community? Which services and support options of the installment payment providers can merchants and store operators access, if any?
After you have been able to compare the basic requirements, features and services, the final look at the providers’ pricing approach follows. The overview shows that the installment payment providers have developed different cost models and price ranges. So for every use case and also transaction volumes in this category, you should be able to identify a provider that fits your needs.
Installment payment as a payment option is popular with customers and ensures higher sales. Online retailers should consider the question of whether expanding their payment method portfolio makes sense as well. There are now a whole range of providers. Our market overview should serve as a guide for selecting a suitable partner.