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Online Payment in Europe

Ecommerce stores need to select available payment methods very carefully in order not to lose customers and potential sales. This post examines the most popular payment methods in Europe.

According to a survey of Payvision 44% of European shoppers prefer e-wallets as a payment method while it must be observed that the use of particular e-wallets differs strongly from country to country. Another 42% of consumers prefer card payments which remain in a strong position. Popular with 32% of consumers, Paypal is by far the most popular e-wallet. Interestingly, pay on delivery is only favored by 11% while Apple/Google/Samsung Pay still only account to 3% of all online payments.


When having a closer look to the markets, some differences in consumer preferences can be observed. In the UK, each person owns around 2-3 credit or debit cards which makes card payments (Master & Visa Card) the most popular way of payment, followed by Paypal. In the Netherlands, card payment only accounts to 16% of the market share while iDEAL, an online banking payment method, outperforms all other methods with a share of 60% of all online payments in the country. In Germany the online payment market is particularly heterogenous and different from other countries. Digital wallets – and here especially AmazonPay and Paypal - are the most favored method of payment, making up to 53% of all online payments with invoice-based payments following on the second rank.


Being a rather smaller market, Belgium is nevertheless interesting for international ecommerce as more than 50% of Belgian consumers make their purchases in other countries of the European Union. With over 15 million cards in circulation, Belgian consumers mostly prefer to use a Bancontact card or mobile app linked to a Belgian bank account. On the second rank follows card payment with Visa and Master Cards. In Italy another digital wallet, CartaSi, is the market leader with over 13 million cards in circulation and allows consumers to make payments more safely from this card instead directly from their bank account. Consumers can load money on to their e-wallet or to connect it to their bank account.


As of research 2021, in Spain consumers care most about safety when it comes to online payments which makes it indispensable for online store owners to emphasize on safety, e.g., at the checkout page of the store. Finally in France, most consumers prefer card payments (Visa & Master), while digital wallet payment also gains in popularity. Paylib, which was launched by the major French banks, is the most popular digital wallet in France, with an impressive number of about 40 million users, compared to the 7 million PayPal users.


So, what’s the bottom line, when it comes to online payment methods in Europe? According to the above-mentioned it is indispensable to offer card payments, especially Master & Visa cards, in all European countries. Next to this no e-commerce store would be complete without having offered a digital wallet respectively e-wallet. As shown above, there are considerable differences when it comes to type of e-wallets in different European countries which makes an adjustment of online payment methods necessary.



The latter is especially of interest for e-commerce owners trying to engage in cross-border activities. Cross-border ecommerce is increasingly popular in Europe. An EU study from 2021 has shown that 30 percent of online buyers in the European Union made purchases from sellers in other EU countries.

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