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A new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says online, mobile and digital currency payment systems are set to overtake credit and debit cards as the most popular ways to pay in e-commerce worldwide by 2019.

The share of credit and debit cards in global payments is expected to drop to 46 percent by 2019 from 51 percent three years ago, the report said in its “Information Economy Report 2017: Digitalisation, Trade, and Development”, citing figures from payment processing company Worldpay.

According to Analysys International, a Chinese internet research firm, the size of the mobile payment market in China alone had reached US$3.5 trillion by the end of the second quarter, up 22.5 percent from the previous quarter.

The UNCTAD report said that in developed regions, digital payments are dominated by credit and debit cards, followed by e-wallets. But in some developing countries, where credit cards are rarely the most important payment method, new online and mobile payment methods are catching on.

The South China Morning Post noted that in China, the preferred payment method for business to consumer e-commerce was Alipay, which is used by 68 percent of all online shoppers in the country, while in Kenya, mobile money, or accessing financial services via a mobile phone, is more common than credit cards for e-commerce, although cash on delivery remains the main method.

In Uganda, 2017 has seen a sprout of new companies developing innovative payment processing solutions and merchant systems built around mobile money.