New data suggests that three in every four adults have purchased goods online in 2014, a considerable rise from figures in 2008.

Office for National Statistics data shows that 74% of people have engaged in online shopping activity in the first seven months of 2014, compared to 53% six years ago.

In addition, some 53% of adults now do their banking online, up from 30% in 2007, highlighting the rise in popularity of online services.

Clothes were the most popular purchase when buying online, supported by improvements to the returns processes.

Online services are growing in popularity

Online shopping appeals to those looking for a quick and convenient way to shop as most goods are available for delivery within days of being ordered.

However, in order to purchase goods in this fashion, a plastic payment card is required – be that in the form of a credit, debit or prepaid card.

The latter work in a similar fashion to debit cards but must be loaded with funds prior to use and do not have a credit facility, meaning debts cannot be built up.

This is ideal for people looking to manage their spending and remain under budget, as additional funds simply cannot be spent.

Giving options to those without debit or credit cards

A further positive aspect for this sort of card product is that it provides an opportunity for people to shop online who may otherwise not have access to a credit or debit option.

This prevents a section of society from being excluded; something that Ukash, a global online payment provider, is keen to ensure does not happen.

The firm has suggested that people who cannot use online services could be missing out, especially given some of the offers than can be found online.

Providing alternative options is therefore important, which is why prepaid cards could appeal to this particular part of the market.

The need for more options

A further positive aspect related to prepaid card options is the security measures that can come with certain types of card – Chip and PIN decreases the risk of fraudulent activity, for example.

Furthermore, the cards can be used to withdraw cash at around 30 million ATMs, providing access to finances in a wide variety of locations.

Providing consumers with plenty of choice is an increasingly important aspect when it comes to online shopping – especially given the large numbers of people who are using these types of services.

Giving these people the means to spend online is good news for both retailers and for the economy as a whole, as consumer spending is encouraged.