Internet telephone company Skype has signed on three providers of online payment services and will offer scratch cards to make it easier for consumers to pay for its services electronically or in cash, the company said today.

As part of its credit service, Skype now offers customers online payment services from GlobalCollect International Payment Services and Click&Buy. Both companies enable online purchases to be made in numerous countries around the world.

In addition, Skype will leverage online payment capabilities within its parent company, eBay, which owns the online payment service provider PayPal. Once customers approve payments with PayPal on their Skype accounts, they can pay without having to enter additional data, such as credit card numbers.

For those who wish to use its internet-based services but pay for them in cash, Skype also offers Ukash vouchers, a product of Smart Voucher, that can be purchased in more than 50,000 locations in the UK, Ireland and Spain, and provides its own scratch cards, currently available in several retail outlets in Sweden and Finland.

The new payment methods can be used to pay for Skype's growing range of fee-based services, including SkypeIn, SkypeOut and Skype Voicemail.

Skype's core VoIP (voice over IP) service for calls between two PCs is free.