Third & GroveThird & Grove
Apr 18, 2018 - Justin Emond

How to tailor your Shopify payment options to international markets


The three major impacts on sales conversion for U.S.-based Shopify stores that expand into international markets are language detection, currency detection, and localizing available payment methods. The good news is, you can solve languages and currency detection with a host of great Shopify apps, like Langify and Multi Currency by Bold. However, to maximize conversion in your international stores, you have to provide the most popular payment options for each country, as they vary widely.

Read on to learn what the most common payment methods are for eight leading foreign markets in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and how to support them in your Shopify store.


Like the United States and the United Kingdom, Canada has a mature online shopping ecosystem and consumer base. The most popular forms of payments are credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal—by a landslide.

Shopify Payments is available in Canada, along with many other common gateways.


More than 10 percent of people on the planet without a bank account live in China. While China lags behind the rest of the world in bank account usage, no other country has adopted mobile payments with more enthusiasm and speed over the last three years, and they will continue to have a substantial cultural impact on Chinese commerce. To get a sense of the revolution underway. retailers looking to expand into China should read this excellent analysis of the cashless revolution.

Making up nearly 75% of all online transactions, the three major online payment methods in China are Alipay (by commerce platform Alibaba), Union Pay, and Tenpay pay. To cover the majority of the market, online retailers should focus on supporting Alipay and Union Pay (meanwhile, Ten Pay support is critical if you plan to run a WeChat store). Shopify has native support for the Alipay gateway, but the best option to also add support for Tenpay and Union Pay the China Payments service.

While Shopify Payments is not supported in China, many third-party payments are.


The French are very comfortable with buying goods online—France is one of the 10 largest digital commerce markets in the world A large percent of all online payments are made with Cartes Bancaires, a ubiquitous bank card used by nearly all French citizens. Nearly all Cartes Bancaires cards are co-branded with MasterCard or Visa, so supporting this payment method is simple. PayPal is the next most common form of online payment in France, so support for the payment platform is also important for Shopify retailers to be successful in the French marketplace.

While Shopify Payments is not yet supported in France, many common French gateways are.


While Germans are some of the most frequent online buyers in Europe, credit and debit cards are used relatively rarely compared to other mature first world countries. The majority of all online purchases are made using epayment systems—supporting PayPal, SEPA, and Sofort are the most critical—and using invoices.

A surprisingly large number of online transactions are completed by Germans paying an invoice they receive in the mail, via email, or with the shipped goods. To support this curious and common method of payment, look to services like Sufio that work well with Shopify to support invoiced payments.

Shopify supports many payment gateway options in Germany, though Shopify Payments is not available.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, for years a British colony before being reabsorbed into China, historically has been more developed than China from a banking and technology perspective. The most popular online payment methods in Hong Kong are credit cards, Alipay, and Union Pay.

There is one more important payment option worth mentioning: the Octopus card.  Introduced in Hong Kong in 1997 as a contactless transit pass, the Octopus card is now used for payment in a wide variety of offline and online transactions. Usage is widespread: There are five Octopus cards for every Hong Kong citizen and nearly 99% of residents have cards. Retailers should seriously consider support for the Octopus card.

While Shopify supports many gateways in Hong Kong, the leading option for online retailers is AsiaPay’s paydollar service. Shopify Payments is not available in Hong Kong.


According to a 2017 article in the Economist, Japan is a still a cash-obsessed country: “Last year, cash accounted for 62% of consumer transactions by value, according to Euromonitor, a market-research firm. That is down from 65% in 2015, but compares with just 22% in Britain, 34% in America, 10% in South Korea and 50% in China.”

The three most popular online payment methods in Japan are credit cards, Konbini, and Furikomi. Both Konbini and Furikomi are cash equivalents. Furikomi is essentially a secure bank transfer payment method. Konbini is a payment method where a customer receives a reference number when they complete an online purchase that they bring to a convenience store (Japan practically has one on every block) to pay for the purchase with cash.

Komoju is a powerful payment platform that supports all of the popular payment methods in the Japanese market, and is currently the only way to integrate Konbini with Shopify. Komoju and several other third-party payment options are supported by Shopify in Japan, though Shopify Payments is not yet available.


Consumers in Mexico pay for the majority of their online purchases with credit cards, debit cards, and Paypal. However, not all consumers are willing to trust online retailers with their debit and credit card numbers;  instead (much like in Japan) they pay for goods online using a system where they get a reference number at the time of purchase that they then bring to a physical location — often a convenience store, supermarket, or bank — to pay for the online goods in cash. To support this offline payment method, you likely need to use the ComproPago gateway.

Bank transfers also make up a non-trivial amount of online payments, so retailers should consider using MercadoPago, the leading gateway provider for this form of payment in Mexico.

Though Shopify Payments is not available, many common gateways are supported in Mexico.

United Kingdom

The online commerce marketplace of Great Britain is the most analogous to the United States market in that the vast majority of online purchases are completed with standard credit and debit cards. But direct bank transfer is also popular in the UK (via BACS), so consider adding support for this method.

Shopify Payments is supported in the UK, as are a variety of great third party payment gateways.

The Biggest Trend In Online Payment for 2018

A titanic opportunity for retail sales growth is coming, and it involves the way consumers pay for what they buy online. It isn’t Square, Venmo, contactless payments, or a new, unproven payment service from some three-month-old startup in Silicon Valley. This opportunity is going to drive the most sales growth of any technology you can adopt this year, reward retailers that adopt it out of the gate and punish those that don’t see the potential. Read our analysis to learn more and make sure you are prepared.



Debit and Credit Card Usage in Asia

Share of respondents who had used the following payment methods for internet purchases before in Germany from 2012 to 2016

How does pay by invoice work in Germany?

KOMOJU makes konbini payments available on Shopify