European Payments: How to Support Consumer Habits

Julian Morelis Thursday, 25 February 2016

In today’s world, where streamline buying journeys and one-click payments are a day to day occurrence, organizations across industries need to have a secure and seamless platform from which to manage this.

As organizations grow and audiences become international, it is essential to take into consideration how you can support these markets.

Consumer Habits

Some of the fears around purchasing online are not what they were ten years ago. Consumers are happy to enter their payment information to purchase something they want, whether this is a physical product or digital service. What has become apparent is that consumers have their preferred payment methods and this can be prevalent and quite different across countries.

UK – Debit & credit cards and PayPal are the dominant payment method for eCommerce and online payments.

Mainland Europe –PayPal is still dominant as well as the likes of Klarna, iDeal and SOFORT, with the use of SEPA continuing to grow at a steady rate.

Multiple Payment Methods

Paying for products is no longer restricted to getting your debit or credit card out. We have seen the emergence of new and interesting ways for consumers to purchase items across different industries.


  • PayPal is the dominant eWallet, with a history of security and a period of time to build up consumer trust which has seen more than 179 million accounts be created.
  • In light of this we are seeing several card issuers launching their own wallets, including Visa and MasterCard.
  • One question will be if these will be able to gather traction in a market place where consumers already have a range of choice.


  • In direct competition with these emerging wallets is SEPA, which is alive and kicking thanks to the efforts of the European Union’s Payment Services Directive. This set certain milestones in place that has brought the initiative forward to where it is today. By the end of October 2016, payment service providers in non-euro countries will only be able to collect euro-denominated payments using SEPA procedures.
  • This sees much of the investment organizations are making in payments focused on supporting SEPA as opposed to alternative wallet types.

 Acceptance Rules & Fraud Engines

A key consideration is whether as a business you will be able to support processing payments from one country to the next with the same success.

For example, a French organization should not be seeing a negative cost in terms of processing a transaction from Spain because the interchange has been flattened and it’s consistent. In this scenario you still have to cater for the fraud engines of the card issuers and the card issuers have not been mandated to accept a transaction from a different country, even though it might exist in Europe with the same rule-set of a domestic transaction. Therefore, it could be determined that a Spanish transaction in France is riskier than a domestic French transaction.

This situation could mean new rule-sets of acceptance are applied, as even if the cost is the same, the acceptance rate could be lower and the decision falls to the merchant as to whether they need a regional acquirer in each of the countries they operate in, or are willing to accept a potentially lower acceptance rate.

European Payments: The Omni-Channel Future

With the role of SEPA increasing and more online purchasing occurring across countries, MPP Global understand the importance of being able to offer this support to consumers. We welcome you to watch our webinar European Payments: The Omni-Channel Future, where we discuss the main considerations and the future of Pan-European payments.