E-wallets will account for as many global payments as cards by 2017, according to a report by WorldPay.
The report said that card payments made up 57% of payments in 2012 but by 2017 will make up just 41% of payments, while e-wallets are predicted to rise from 17-41%.
Shane Happach, chief commercial officer at WorldPay, said: "We’re seeing a transformation in transaction trends.
"Credit and debit cards have long dominated as the payment method of choice for online transactions.
"Now, alternative payment methods are forecast to grow significantly faster than total e-commerce and will represent more shopper spend than cards by 2017."
Among the other findings of the report were that in China, e-wallets already account for 44% of transactions, with Alipay comprising the greatest market share at 30% of total payments.
Kevin Dallas, chief product and marketing officer for WorldPay’s e-commerce division, said: "Emerging economies, such as the BRIC countries and the next layer of emerging markets, are seeing particularly fast growth of alternative payments. This means the complexity of the payment landscape will increase further.
"Merchants will need to ensure they understand diverging regional and sector trends in preferred methods of payment.
"It’s crucial that online merchants work with a payment provider with specialist knowledge of the complicated alternative payment landscape."
Globally, PayPal has the highest market share of all alternative payment schemes at 57% and Alipay is in second place with 20%.
WorldPay also estimated that card-based e-wallet schemes will have a 25% share of the card market by 2017.