New Rapyd research uncovers Germany’s most popular payment methods and the ways Germans prefer to shop and pay.

Germany continues to rank in the top ten of the most profitable ecommerce sales markets worldwide. The tech-savvy population is well-versed in nuances of financial applications and has widely accepted ecommerce as a convenient solution for modern-day life. Businesses need to make sure they are offering the right technologies, credit card processors and payment methods to meet the sophisticated expectations of German consumers.

To assist our clients in their businesses’ cross-border growth and to help them attract and retain more customers, Rapyd conducts an annual survey of consumer payment and purchase behaviors in Latin America, Europe and the Asia Pacific.

Our research uncovered insights into Germans’ preferences for accepting and receiving payments, the way payment technology has evolved in Germany and consumers’ online shopping preferences.  The survey was conducted in April 2022 and surveyed over 4,000 online consumers in Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and the UK. All respondents shop online at least once a month and are involved in purchase decisions in their households.

Key Insights: Credit Cards Fall Out of Favor and Germans Prefer eWallets.

Germany is a major center for ecommerce — and the third-largest economy in Europe. German shoppers keep pace with the rest of Europe, with a spend of $2238 (€2088) per year (PostNord). When it comes to ecommerce channels, 32% of Germans shop via computer on a weekly basis while 31% shop via mobile. Compared to their European counterparts they spend less time online overall and retain a cautious view on debt. This was mirrored in our findings, showing that less than 1 in 3 Germans used credit cards for recent online purchases, and only 5% chose credit cards as their favorite online payment method.

More than 8 in 10 Germans reported using PayPal for a recent purchase and over one-half (54%) consider it their first-choice payment method.

Weekly Online Purchases by Channel

We asked German online shoppers which devices they used to make online purchases in the past week.

31% Mobile
32% Computer

Tech Adoption In Germany

As part of our annual study of payment and payout preferences, purchasing habits and financial product adoption in Europe, Rapyd asked Germans how open they were to adopting new technology. While pretty equally split, the majority of Germans (59%) see themselves as being in the middle as members of the early and late majority. A full 20% see themselves as early adopters of new technology. Germans continue to migrate from cash and cards to newer, alternative digital payments.

Chart: Tech Adoption In Germany

The Most Popular Payment Methods in Germany for Online Purchases

How do Germans prefer to pay online? Over 80% of survey respondents recently made a purchase with PayPal. Not only did an overwhelming majority of those polled recently buy with PayPal, but it was also the number one preferred payment method for over half (54%) of the German respondents. Wire Transfer (41%) is another popular way.

Chart: Most Popular Payment Methods in Germany Online

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  • 81% of Germans used PayPal in the past 90 days
  • 54% of Germans ranked PayPal as their favorite way to pay, the best-performing method in our survey
  • Wire Transfers were the next most commonly used online payment method with 41% of Germans reporting using them but only 6% preferring them

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What Germans Are Buying Online

When asked what types of eCommerce purchases they had made in the last 90 days, German consumers reported the following online purchases categories. 

Chart: eCommerce purchase frequency by category in Germany

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  • 72% of Germans purchased clothing, shoes and accessories online in the last 90 days
  • 41% of Germans reported paying restaurants and food takeout in the last 90 days
  • 29% of Germans paid utilities online in the last 90 days

How Germans Prefer to Pay for In-Store Purchases

When asked what payment methods they had used to pay for purchases made in physical brick-and-mortar stores in the last 30 days, the methods reported differed to those used for online purchases. Nearly two-thirds of Germans report making in-store purchases via debit card (63%), though cash closely followed at 59%. Consumers not only use these payment methods most often, they also prefer them over PayPal or credit cards, spotlighting the credit-adverse nature of most Germans. When shopping Germans prefer traditional methods for in-store purchases.

Many merchants prefer cash because it helps them to avoid card-payment transaction fees. However, with the convenience of instant bank transfers and digital payment apps made with zero fees, all merchants would be wise to accept electronic payments at their physical retail locations. Moving away from cash can help protect merchants from theft while offering their customers faster and easier checkout methods. 

Chart: Most popular in-store payment methods in Germany

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  • Debit cards are the most common form of payment for in-store purchases – used by 63% of Germans in the last 30 days
  • 59% of Germans reported paying with cash in-store in the last 30 days
  • PayPay was used 22% indicating continued growth for the payment platform
  • Only 4% of respondents reporting preferring to using Apple Pay in store

How Germany Gets Paid

Accepting payments in Germany isn’t the only consideration for businesses. Many businesses operating across the European Union also need to consider how their workers, partners and suppliers and individuals prefer to receive payments. 

Using primary research, Rapyd has compiled country-level research on the most used and preferred payout methods in Europe.

Types of Payouts Made to German Consumers

The following chart illustrates the most common ways Germans report receiving payments.

Chart: Types of Payouts Made in Germany

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  • Most respondents reported receiving payouts for salary, wages and tips
  • Checks are uncommon ways to receive payouts
  • Cash leads as a way to receive personal gifts

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Trends and insights from Rapyd Research reveal how Europe gets paid.

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Which Disbursement Features Matter Most to Germans?

When businesses send money to Germans the most important feature is security followed closely by no transaction fees. Germans prioritize data security and demand that their personal information be kept safe. Almost half of all Germans surveyed rated all of the features we tested as being important. So, businesses should seek to deliver disbursements that offer security, speed, low fees, notifications and the ability to receive funds in local currencies. 

Chart: Importance of Disbursement Features to Germans

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  • 75% of Germans ranked “keeping my personal data safe” as extremely important 
  • 66% ranked “no transaction fee” as an important factor
  • 47% said receiving payments the same day was extremely important

Simplify Payments in Germany and 100+ Other Countries

Is your International business looking to grow through strategic fintech initiatives? 

With Rapyd, your business can accept and send local and cross-border payments to just about anyone—faster, cheaper and easier using the methods and currencies they prefer. 

Rapyd Can Help You:

  • Accept payments and send payouts from one platform
  • Expand cross-border card acquiring
  • Quickly access new markets 
  • Stop wasting time integrating multiple payment gateways
  • Navigate legal and compliance issues

Learn how Rapyd can help you save millions on transaction and FX fees while spending 70% less time managing payments.

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Rapyd. Online European Consumer Survey. A survey of online consumers in Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom, April 2022.

PostNord. “European eCommerce Market.” 2021.

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