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How to Accept Credit Card Payments in Europe

How to Accept Credit Cards in Europe

Choose the Best Acquirer for Accepting Credit Card Payments in Europe

Merchants looking to expand into Europe need to offer customers the methods of payment that they prefer and trust. Although each country displays its own unique preferences and behaviors, credit cards are widely used across the region. Before launching into these markets, merchants need to understand what is required to accept credit card payments in Europe.

Although convenient for customers, merchants pay processing fees for each credit card transaction, and in some cases additional monthly service charges from their acquirer. Credit card acquirers in Europe use different pricing models and offer different features, so comparing options can be difficult.

The most popular way of paying for online purchases in Western Europe is with a credit or debit card.1

Merchants Looking for a Card Acquirer Need to Consider these Factors

A Pan-European Local Card Acceptance and Settlement Footprint

Choosing to work with card acquirers in Europe can be a better option as fees are lower and acceptance rates are higher. Interchange fees are the biggest component of card processing fees. They can be as much as 1.5% to 2.5% versus local fees as low as 2 basis points. However, working with a European card acquirer requires you to have a physical presence in Europe – this may not be an issue for a larger organization that can justify the costs based on the projected return, but for smaller businesses this may not make financial sense.

Card(s) Accepted

The primary objective of selecting a card acquirer in Europe is to enable customers to pay with their preferred credit card. Not all acquirers accept the same range of card schemes, so it is essential that any acquirer you work with supports the card types and schemes that are most important to your customers and your markets. It is not always the case that you need to accept every card. It comes down to maximizing profit. If the cost of acceptance is higher than the benefits, it may not be the right decision. However many customers prefer to use a particular local card scheme, you risk losing sales by not offering it.

Popular credit cards in Europe

Popular Credit Cards in Europe

Managing Foreign Exchange

Not all of the countries in Europe are in the Eurozone and customers in those countries (as well as any markets outside Europe) will make payments in their local currencies. For merchants, the foreign exchange rates for these transactions can add up, so having a card acquirer that accepts payments and settles efficiently in the currencies that you do business in can make a significant difference to your bottom line.

Provide Omnichannel Customer Experiences

For merchants with a physical and digital presence, a coordinated approach to transactions is critical to creating an omnichannel experience for customers today and as business models change and consumer shopping preferences evolve. Choose an acquirer that can support this hybrid model and lets you use the data and insights generated through all interactions to provide a seamless experience for customers in store or online.

Going Beyond Cards

Each country within Europe has its own local preferences for payment methods based on a range of factors, including cultural differences and the rate of technology adoption. Although popular, credit cards are just one of many payment methods preferred by customers in Europe.

To really succeed in the expanding digital commerce environment, merchants need a payment stack that supports the local payment preferences of customers across markets. The acquirer that you work with should support these methods and present them to customers based on their location. Bank transfers should be part of this choice, not only are they a popular method for customers, merchants benefit from lower fees, faster delivery of funds and no chargebacks.

Payment Method Preferences Vary Across Europe

Credit Cards aren't the only payment methods merchants need to consider in Europe
Source: J.P. Morgan Country Insights: The Changing Dynamic of Payments in Europe


Due to the greater risk of a data breach during an online transaction, there are security standards that must be followed to prevent fraud. Merchants need to ensure that the acquirer they work with offers the necessary security features to protect their business and their customers.

Fintech Flexibility

Fintech as a Service goes beyond accepting payments. Businesses also need to be able to make payments, issue their own cards and create ewallets. Fintech as a Service provides companies with the flexibility to adapt and scale in the rapidly changing world of digital commerce.

Quickly and Easily Accept Credit Cards and Local Payment Methods in Europe with Rapyd

Rapyd allows businesses to offer comprehensive and configurable payment capabilities based on the local preferences for credit cards and alternative payment methods.


  1. J.P. Morgan Country Insights: The Changing Dynamic of Payments in Europe

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