According to a recent report from CyberSource (a major online payment supplier), the more payment methods offered by e-commerce Web sites in North America, the higher the sales conversion. Specifically, they found e-commerce Web sites offering four or more payment methods get, on average, sales conversion rates of 72%. Web sites offering three payment methods receive conversion rates of 71% — 20% higher than those Web sites offering just one payment method.

So what kind of payment options are these sites offering their potential customers? Nearly all sites offer general purpose card payments (payments made with Visa, American Express, or Master Card). Less than one-half of respondents offer any other payment option, but the percentages are not necessarily insignificant — 46% offer gift certificate payments and 41% allow consumers to choose to be charged with recurring billing options. Further, over 20% offer choices like PayPal or electronic checks.

Considering many consumers have fears about giving up their credit card information online to make a purchase, online retailers are well advised to publicise the number of alternative payment methods they offer online. Education could be the key to further adoption.