New “Click-to-Pay” Option Will Make It Easier to Make Impulse Purchases Online

Have you ever browsed the website adding items to your cart, but when you finally got to the checkout page, you decided not to buy? You may have reconsidered whether you really need these items. Or maybe your credit card was in the next room and you were comfortable and cozy on the couch.

It will soon be easier to pay for purchases online without entering your credit card details. Four credit card networks – Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express – have teamed up to offer a click-to-pay option for online shopping sites. While this is very convenient, it can be confusing for your online spending.

“The idea is to reflect the uniform, consistent checkout process that exists in brick-and-mortar stores — with one terminal and one payment method, regardless of the retailer,” the four card issuers explained .

How “click to pay” is safer

Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at, explained that EMV technology (remember when we all finally got chip cards ?) Made in-store transactions more secure, prompting many attempts at online fraud. The new click-to -pay optionmeets security requirements that restrict the disclosure of your card details for one-time purchases.

If you’ve ever paid for something online using PayPal, you’ll be familiar with the general process: you log into your payment account, which then contacts the merchant to withdraw the payment. You don’t need to enter your credit card number by number or save it in your browser. (If you remember your card number, you are on your own.)

The new version will look like this:

Cinemark and Rakuten already have pay-per-click functionality on their websites, and this fall you’ll see it added to BassPro, JoaAnn Fabric and Crafts, Papa John’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, to name just a few.

The downside of “click to pay”

Lest you assume that credit card networks are merging solely for your benefit, here is one reason they are rolling out this new option: to reduce so-called cart abandonment.

If you’ve ever landed on a product checkout page, realized you didn’t have a credit card (or just didn’t want to enter a number, expiration date, and security code) and left the website, you are who the card companies are trying to target. Part of the proposition for stores is that if they add this feature to their website, they will reduce cart abandonment and get more people to actually complete their purchase.

Instead of using a clumsy checkout process as a buffer for impulse purchases, you’ll have to implement your own rules to avoid overspending.

“While the simplified payment process is beneficial for consumers, it’s important not to see it as an excuse for excessive spending and impulse purchases,” Rossman commented via email. “This is the flip side of being able to pay so easily — retailers can separate you from your money much faster.”


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