19/10/2016, updated 15/06/2023
E-commerce is strongly growing in Chile. Of course, the client service is not what you could expect in some countries where e-commerce is a more mature market. However, it is growing, especially since the quarantines during the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, online payments systems also have developed.
You will find various payment methods on websites. Here is a short list:
WebPay is the most common online payment method to pay by card. This is due to the fact that 1) it is one of the cheapest to install 2) it is offered by TransBank, the consortium of the main Chilean banks. It is the "web" equivalent of the "RedCompra" card readers that you see in lots of shops.
No problem to use this payment method. You can pay cash or in installments (quotas). Check the interest rate in that case. In large shops, you can usually pay in up to 6 installments without interest.
WebPay allows you to pay using credit or debit card. Foreign credit cards are normally allowed (if you have informed your bank that you are traveling/living in Chile before, of course). If you have a CuentaRUT, you can also use WebPay.
ServiPag.com is the web equivalent of the ServiPag counters that you can see in some streets/metro stations. Initially developed to allow Chilean people to pay their utility bills, it is nowadays also provided by some websites to pay online. Online payment only works with credit cards. You can also instruct ServiPag to debit your account directly. The website will redirect you to the website of your bank to confirm the debit.
If you have a commercial credit card (the one "given" by big retailers like Falabella or Paris, you can use this card to pay using ServiPag.com and accumulate loyalty points.
Wire transfer/cash deposit
It is not always possible to pay by card. Actually, a lot of Chileans still prefer to come to the shop to buy a product. Therefore, for most shops, their website is only a way for people to find them and get contact details. If you can not or do not want to come to the shop, they usually send you their bank account details. You can do a wire transfer and they ship the product.
That's a good method if you do not yet have a Chilean bank account. Indeed, you can also deposit the funds at a cashier desk in any branch of the shop's bank.
A more recent method, not very widespread. We mainly mention it so that you know it is legit.
Khipu is very similar to a wire transfer. Actually, the founders called their product "the simplified wire transfer", because you don't have to enter each time bank account details. Indeed, the first time you use Khipu, you need to enter the details of Khipu account in the online area of your bank's website, like if you were doing a normal transfer. And then, you perform a transfer to Khipu (not to the shop). The next time you have to buy, you can directly do a wire transfer to Khipu, without having to enter again account details of another shop.
Honestly, the added-value is quite slim. Yet, as some websites only offer this method, it is good to know how it works.
Good to know before paying online
The level of development of websites is quite variable. The big brands have websites with a quality similar to the one you might be accustomed to. Small shops are unlikely to have such websites. This means nothing regarding that the quality of the shop. Do not hesitate to give them a call to check if a product is available, if they can ship. Most Chileans prefer to call before ordering, so the owner will not be upset.
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