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Online payments powering the growth of the UK’s digital economy

by Sarah Dunsby
10th Nov 23 10:03 am

The increasingly fast migration to mobile shopping continues at a fast rate. In February of 2023, even more spending was done through mobile – three out of five purchases were made via a smartphone. This couldn’t not have been so without the help of certain online payment methods, that keep the economy a well-oiled machine. Here are the top online payment platforms powering the user-driven UK economy.


WorldPay Online commands a significant share of the UK market as the top payment processor. It manages a vast number of transactions and provides global card payment services. Their offerings include a versatile online payment gateway that supports over 116 currencies and accepts all major credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal. The fee structure is diverse, with options like a pay-as-you-go plan which entails a nominal set-up cost and transaction fees. While WorldPay is celebrated for its flexible pricing, extensive currency support, and strong security measures, it has some drawbacks. The company does not provide a full e-commerce solution and chooses not to disclose specific transaction fees on its website, which can be a hurdle for businesses trying to estimate costs. Despite this, WorldPay’s services are highly regarded by users on Feefo.


Shopify, recognised as the premier e-commerce platform in the UK, offers a holistic solution for businesses venturing into online retail. This platform not only facilitates payment processing but also provides web hosting and seamless integration with major sales outlets, including their point-of-sale system and marketplaces like Amazon. Shopify’s user-friendly setup process offers a 14-day free trial that does not require credit card details. Post-trial, the platform adopts a tiered approach to pricing, combining monthly subscription fees with transaction fees that vary based on the selected plan. Despite these advantages, users must consider the ongoing monthly fees and additional charges for using non-Shopify payment gateways.


In the flourishing UK online payment landscape, Trustly stands out for its streamlined direct bank transfer approach, offering simplicity and cost-effectiveness. With a user-friendly interface, Trustly enhances the speed and security of transactions, addressing the challenges posed by Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) programs. Despite the substantial £4.9 billion debt accrued through BNPL, Trustly provides a reliable alternative, emphasizing transparency in fee structures. Users should assess technical requirements and align with business needs for optimal integration. Trustly contributes to a responsible online payment ecosystem, offering businesses and consumers a seamless and secure financial experience. Recently, Trustly has gained popularity in online casinos, becoming a preferred choice for transactions, especially in casinos that accept Trustly, showcasing its versatility and growing demand in the gaming industry.


PayPal’s reputation as a cornerstone of online payment solutions is well-deserved, with a significant portion of the UK’s shoppers and millions of businesses worldwide relying on their services. PayPal makes it exceptionally simple for existing account holders to start accepting payments, and their scaled transaction fee structure caters to businesses of various sizes. Although PayPal is user-friendly and offers a range of benefits like mobile-optimised checkouts and robust fraud protection, it’s not without its disadvantages. The fees can be prohibitive for merchants with lower sales volumes, and the standard web payment options may not meet the professionalism some businesses require. While PayPal’s ease of use and international payment capabilities are strong points, potential users should be aware of how the fee structure aligns with their business volume.


Stripe distinguishes itself in the online payment processing arena with a focus on straightforward pricing and ease of integration, allowing for card payments, recurring billing, and direct debit services. Stripe’s no-fee policy for setup, monthly, or hidden costs attracts many, particularly with their competitive rates for transactions with European cards, which gives small firms a confidence boost. The platform is praised for its simplicity and clear fee reporting, making it a transparent choice for businesses. Despite these strengths, Stripe requires a level of technical acumen to implement effectively, which could be a barrier for those without technical resources. Additionally, the transfer of funds to merchants operates on a 7-day rolling basis, a delay that may not be suitable for businesses requiring faster access to their funds. While Stripe offers extensive documentation and support, potential users need to consider the balance between the technical requirements and the benefits of its payment solutions.

Evolution in online payments

In the dynamic realm of online transactions, a positive transformation is evident in consumer behaviour. Over the first four months of 2023, UK customers embraced online spending, contributing to a robust total of £32.6 billion. Notably, April witnessed a remarkable £1.3 billion spent, constituting sixteen per cent of the month’s total online spending. Adobe’s data highlights a 2% increase in the average value of orders in April, with a notable spike in expenditure from April 20 onward. Despite a temporary market pause, February showcased a significant 7% surge in online spending, reaching £8.4 billion, underscoring the resilience and dynamism of the digital economy.

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