The most common payment methods in Europe

The most common payment methods in Europe

Here in Europe it´s not all about credit cards. There are actually many, many different online payment methods. Let´s have a look at what customers in certain European regions and countries tend to use if they order goods online.  You´ll notice common names like Paypal, but also some very local ones, like Dankort.

This article was written in 2013. If you want more up-to-date information, check out this page on online payment methods in Europe.

You should know that credit cards are still the most popular online payment method in Europe, with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain all preferring to pay this way. Now, let’s take a look at different regions and countries to see what their inhabitants like to pay with.

The United Kingdom and Ireland

In the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) credit cards are the most frequently used payment method for online purchases. About four in ten online transactions in the UK are paid by credit card. Debit cards also do well, as 35% of online transaction are paid this way. PayPal is the country’s third most used online payment method. These three represent 96% of the online payments, so you could say other payment methods don’t have a say. In Ireland debit and credit cards are very popular, with the Irish debit card Laser being the most popular.

The Benelux

The Benelux consists of three countries: Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Although these three countries are united in this union of states, they don’t share that many economic or cultural similarities. For example, in the Netherlands a lot of people pay online with iDEAL, an online payment method that allows customers to order online using direct online transfers from their bank account. Since the introduction in 2005 more than 400 million transactions has been completed with iDEAL. Belgian customers primarily use cards and online bank payment method to pay online, while in Luxembourg customers use credit cards, like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB and sometimes PayPal.


Swedish online customers like to pay by credit card, with MasterCard and Visa being their most used cards. Online bank transfers are also popular as they are used by three in ten online customers. Almost the same amount of people prefer to pay per invoice cards. In other Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Finland, debit and credit cards are also the preferred payment methods. In Denmark Dankort is very popular: a hybrid card which can be use as a debit card and as a credit card.


The preferred payment method of online shoppers in Germany is invoice. A recent survey showed that 58% of the online customers in Germany order online and pay afterwards. Credit cards are also popular, as 34% of the customers use MasterCard, VISA or American Express. Other frequently used payment methods are PayPal, ELV, GiroPay, Sofort Überweisung , RatePay and Cash on Delivery.


In France many online customers use Carte-Blue to pay their ordered goods online. This is a debit card, that can also be used as a credit card. Other popular credit cards are MasterCard and American Express. PayPal is also quite popular in France.


In Spain credit and debit cards account for the majority of online transactions.  A very popular payment option in Spain is 4B, a payment method owned by various Spanish banks. The credit and debit cards of Euro6000 are also frequently used in Spain.

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