In our Online-Shop, we offer different payment options. The most important are "Prepay" and PayPal. With "Prepay" I mean customers have to transfer the money manually to our bankaccount (via online-banking or at the bank counter/machine) before the goods are send. This is pretty common in Germany and usually clear.

The problem is, although we implemented the Paypal checkout process which it's easy to use, there are some folks who choose "Prepay" and then send then money manually via PayPal and to top it all, they don't reference any ordernumber. So we have to ask the Crystal Ball who send us the money.

I search for my fault where we don't communicate the options clearly, so there are several things (icons/paypal logo) that makes it clear what to choose and why. But there are still a few people who don't (want to) understand the difference. The term "Praypay" have the same meaning for both processes. But if they use Paypal, we get the instant payment notification and it's easier for them - because it's just the paypal login and everything else is set.

Sending money manually is annoying and disturbs our straight, standardized and optimized german payment process.

Should I put on more information text and explain the difference in a FAQ (that maybe no one reads)? Should we discipline them in a) rejecting the money of the manual paypal payment? Or b) sending an automated message to the people, telling them that this way might delay the proceeding of their order and they should choose the right option in future?

Any other idea how to communicate clearly the difference?

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5 Answers 5


Have you considered renaming options to "Bank transfer (takes a couple of days)" and "Instant payment (PayPal)" or something similar? I noticed that your option names are very similar to each other and that might confuse the customers.

  • It's a good idea to communicate the difference about the time aspect. Thank you!
    – marcus
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 8:22
  • In addition (assuming "Normale Banjubersung" is the "prepay" option), move it to below all the others (so PayPal is seen earlier). In addition, perhaps add a divider line between the "fully online" options and the "possibly involves a real bank" option.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 8:55

I suggest to communicate to these people and ask them about how they actually understand the process or purchase at the moment. I.e., you may ask them to describe the process step by step, and provide more details on how and why they choose a certain payment method, etc.

I believe it will help you to understand why your users behaves that way. After that you may try to work out an appropriate solution.

Currently, it's not so obvious. For example, they may really mess things up (Prepay and Paypal, like Mariusz already mentioned) or, maybe, some of your users are really understands the whole thing wrong and see a "Prepay" as the only option (even if they have a PayPal account) they have to choose to pay before delivery, etc.

Playing with wording and description may help, but you have to communicate with your users to understand the problem right.

  • I definitely want to talk to these users to find out why they choose this. Writing an email and ask seems a bit odd, like I don't know my business. I thought about something like a survey for those users and try to tempt them with a coupon code.
    – marcus
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 20:15

You could also add a step after people select the option they want to use to outline the various steps people will have to go through. It may need more information, but will add predictability and understanding in your user, and lower your cost in divination (that crystal ball thing really is pricey).


There are several things you can do. This is an example from our payment system (a German ticketing service):

If the user select Prepayment as method of payment we display an "important" warning.

Choosing Method of Payment

Then, we show all the bank account details necessary for the transaction in the success screen (last step of the buying process). This should make clear that a bank transfer is required.

Success screen

Immediately after the buying process is finished we send an email including detailed information on how to make the bank transfer.

Confirmation Email

  • 1
    Showing the Bank Account Information on the success page is a good idea to emphasize that it's about normal bank transfer. I also send these information with the email and I already have a visible outstanding note, that Prepay is not for PayPal. Thanks for contributing!
    – marcus
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 20:04

I second alexeypegov's suggestion to investigate your users' reasons better.

I don't think they mix up the options. I rather think they rule out the other options (don't want Sofortüberweisung, nobody uses cash on delivery, don't recognize Paypal, don't live near a shop) and then afterwards realize that it will add an additional delay and try to avoid that by paying with Paypal.

If this is the reason, Mariusz's suggestion will remedy a great deal of the problem.

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