The only thing lacking in internet commerce currently is choices in payment systems. Today, buying on the internet is so efficient and cost effective that in some situations, you’d be silly to buy from brick and mortar shops.
With the introduction of even better retail experiences, for example, Valve’s Steam or Microsoft’s Digital Locker, buying legit software through these platforms offers better experiences through features such as licence management; never having to worry about losing discs or serial numbers.
Even though I would prefer to purchase through Steam for my games, I’m restricted by their payment systems. Like many other online retailers, they only accept credit cards. Whilst I won’t argue most people do have credit cards, there are still potential customers without them. I believe, for them, not to invest in system integration with more payment choices, they are even more disadvantaged.
If consumers purchase straight from the vendor, it’s a win-win situation. The consumer enjoys the costs avoided through convential distribution channels, and the vendor enjoys an 100% share of profits.
For me, I can’t and wouldn’t like to get a credit card purely for ethical reasons, however I’m happy to purchase through other systems such as Paypal or wire transfer. I would like to see online retailers open up their payment systems, and accept funds from a wider range of systems. The benefits could easily outweight the costs.
However, ANZ bank in Australia has recently introduced a Visa card that doesn’t offer credit, and only debits money in a regular savings account. Its an alternative I’m considering to avoid the negatives of a credit card, but enjoy the benefits of the wide acceptance of Visa.