Online payment methods differ greatly from country to country. Though credit cards, debit cards, and Visa and Mastercard remain popular payment methods throughout the world, some countries prefer other, less well-known payment methods. For example, in Germany, many customers prefer to pay for online purchases using ELV (an electronic direct debit payment method), while in Poland, some people still prefer to use cash-based methods for online purchases.
The most popular payment methods in a country may be based on customer preference or payment infrastructure. For internet retailers looking to enter new international markets, it’s important to be able to accommodate consumer preferences and accept a wide variety of payment methods. Providing multiple payment solutions that are quick and easy not only puts customers first, it also goes a long way to ensure a business’s cross-border success.
Preferred Payment Methods in Europe
Online payment methods in Europe, specifically, can be quite diverse. The above image (based on a graphic produced by Expert Market, using data provided by Adyen), illustrates the preferred online payment methods for 11 European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Sweden, and Russia.
A quick glance at the image confirms that credit and debit cards prevail as the most popular payment methods in many European countries. And Visa and MasterCard in particular are the chosen card types in many of these countries. In Spain, 91% of the population prefer to use Visa or MasterCard for online transactions, with 85% in Ireland, 83% in Italy, and 77% in the United Kingdom. In these countries, PayPal and American Express are also popular payment methods for online transactions.
In countries such as France, Poland, Sweden and the Netherlands, too, credit cards dominate as the most popular payment method, particularly in France with 82% of the population preferring this payment method. In these countries, however, domestic, co-branded cards, such as Carte Bleu in France, are often favoured over traditional MasterCard and Visa cards. Credit and debit cards are also popular in both Turkey and Poland, with 87% and 45% respectively.
Though the popularity of credit cards and debit cards – and Visa and MasterCard in particular – is obvious, many European countries also choose alternative forms of payment. In Germany, for example, only 25% of the population prefer to use credit cards, with a larger portion of the population (38%) preferring to use the electronic direct debit payment method known as Elektronisches Lastschriftverfahren (ELV). Other popular payment methods in Germany include PayPal (16%), Sofort Bank (15%) and GiroPay (6%).
In the cases of both Sweden and Poland, 35% of each population prefer online banking for e-commerce transactions. A further 20% of the Swedish population use open invoice, and 15% of the Polish population even admit to preferring cash-based methods for online purchases.
Just over half of the Dutch population (55%) prefer to make online payments using iDeal – a similar method to the German ELV and supported by the majority of local banks. Direct debit is also popular in the Netherlands, with 15% choosing this as their preferred payment method.
In Russia, payment methods vary greatly, and while credit and debit cards remain popular (with usage at 35%), 25% of the population prefer to pay by Qiwi, a convenient and instant electronic payment method. A significant benefit of using Qiwi is that it allows customers to make online purchases without supplying sensitive and personal information. Webmoney (20%) and Yandex.Money (14%) are also popular payment methods for Russian online customers.
It’s clear that while credit and debit cards remain popular payment methods in many European countries, for e-commerce retailers wanting to venture into the European market, the ability to offer multiple payment options can be vital to their success. A payment processing company can help merchants navigate the complex intricacies of currency, regulation and customer preference associated with each individual country.
To learn more about the currency, culture, payment and regulatory climates for over 200 countries around the world, please visit PacNet’s World Payments Guide Online.
If you would like to learn more about the United Kingdom specifically, please download the FREE PacNet Payment Guide to the United Kingdom.