February 24, 2011, 2:10 PM

Alternative payment service eLayaway records its largest increase in merchant acquisitions

Backyard Discovery is one of 12 merchants to join the eLayaway network last month.

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ELayaway, an alternative payment service provider for online retail purchases, says it added 12 merchants to its program in January, the biggest monthly gain for the company since its 2006 launch. The online payment service says it has more than 700 merchants in its network.

The company, which went public last year, enables consumers to pay for an item over time and to receive the item once full payment is made. Merchants pay nothing to offer the service. Consumers pay a fee of 1.9% of the purchase amount.

Among the newest merchants using the service is Backyard Discovery Holdings, which operates the Swingsetsonline.com e-commerce site, where consumers can buy backyard play equipment. The retailer has placed a “Checkout with eLayaway” button below the item description on product pages; the button is located to the right of the “Add to Cart” button.

The retailer selected the payment alternative for two reasons, says Thomas Reed, Backyard Discovery’s e-commerce manager. “First, it gives our customers the ability to buy a bit bigger swing set than a one month allocation of funds might allow,” he says. “Second, eLayaway gives parents a more flexible way to pay that keeps their budgets healthy.”

Alternative payments, which also include such services as PayPal and Google Checkout, account for 17% of online payments when measured by dollar volume, according to survey results released late last year by Javelin Strategy & Research. That is up slightly from 16% last year

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