May 15, 2002, 12:00 AM

Retailers like e-checks, but they don’t register yet with consumers

A BizRate survey found that 96% of online purchases are paid by credit cards or debit cards. Only 0.1% are paid by electronic check and 0.2% by checks mailed post-order.

 

While there’s a growing interest among retailers in accepting electronic check payments for retail purchases, the technique has hardly made a dent in credit/debit cards’ online payment hegemony.

A survey from Jan. 1 to March 31 by BizRate.com Inc. of 28,711 web shoppers found that 96% of online purchases are paid for by credit cards or debit cards. Only 0.1% are paid by electronic check and 0.2% by checks mailed post-order, BizRate tells Internet Retailer. The balance of purchases are paid by just about every way there is of paying for something, including PayPal, gift certificates, billed to telephone number, invoice, Internet currency, etc.

In spite of the low numbers, there is a growing interest among retailers because they are finding that accepting electronic check payment attracts certain customers. “We’re confident that accepting electronic checks has brought in people who wouldn’t have been able to shop with us otherwise,” says Mike Lundeby, CEO of Thunderbolt Promotions, which operates e-commerce sites DoughboyShop.com on behalf of The Pillsbury Co. and TwinkieShop.com for Interstate Bakeries Corp., parent of Hostess. DoughboyShop.com counters the market, with as many as 15% of its payments coming in via electronic check. DoughboyShop.com accepts checks through TeleCheck International Inc.

Lundeby believes that check usage is higher at his site because of the customers he serves. “It’s not uncommon for us to get orders from customers in their 60s and 70s who live in rural areas and don’t have credit cards,” Lundeby says. “The same is true for our younger customers in their late teens and don’t have credit cards.”

 

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