Guide to payment methods used by e-commerce businesses in Germany

The e-commerce market in Germany is one of the largest in Europe and is experiencing accelerated growth. By 2023, revenue is expected to reach €108.80 billion, highlighting the vast opportunities in this space.
Contrary to expectations, debit and credit cards do not occupy the first places. Three types of payments are leading the way in the German market, and we will focus on them below.

Online Payment Methods

Until June 2023, the most common online payment method in Germany was online payment services. This method is chosen by up to 68% of respondents.
Online payment services have gained popularity in Germany due to their convenience and security. Germans value efficient and reliable financial transactions, and these services offer fast and easy ways to make payments and transfers.
Additionally, concerns about data privacy and fraud have led to a preference for secure digital payment methods. Thus, services such as PayPal, Amazon Pay and mobile payment applications have become integral to everyday life. Furthermore, 57% of German consumers choose PayPal over other competing mobile payment services.

1. Invoices

The online payment market in Germany is also dominated by invoices, which account for 54% of German consumers. Offering this payment method is vital to converting buyers into customers.
Invoices depend on the merchant delivering the goods with an invoice attached. Consumers can try out the goods and then return or pay within a period of time, usually 14 or 28 days.
Buyers love it because they are not required to pay upfront. They get to try the products first and decide if they like them enough to pay for them. There is no need to enter sensitive data into an online portal and the speed of purchase is also improved because only one address needs to be entered.

2. Direct Debit

Direct debit closes the podium with 48% of the votes. This method is popular in online payments as it offers a high level of convenience and allows users to automate recurring payments. Reduces the need for manual payments and simplifies financial management.
Additionally, direct debit is cost-effective for businesses as it minimizes transaction fees compared to credit card payments. Additionally, it is considered a secure payment method because it requires authorization.

3. Debit

As we mentioned, outside the sub-niche are debit cards with 38%. Despite this, debit cards continue to be used frequently, enjoying convenience and financial control. They are widely accepted, making them versatile for a variety of transactions.
The Girocard (Germany’s counterpart to a debit card) processed 6.7 billion transactions in 2022, an increase of 13% from the previous year. Furthermore, 64% of Girocard transactions in 2021 were contactless.

4. Credit card

Credit card use remains uncommon in the German economy due to factors such as internet limitations and a conservative approach to spending. Many Germans prefer to avoid debt and value financial responsibility, which makes debit cards and direct debits more attractive.

5. Prepaid Cards/Vouchers

Prepaid cards and vouchers, although less popular than other payment methods, have attracted attention in Germany, being chosen by 25% of German consumers.

6. Cash Payment in Advance or Cash on Delivery

Cash in advance and cash on delivery represent even rarer payment methods in the German payment landscape, chosen by 20% and 8% of consumers respectively. These methods reflect a conservative and cautious approach to online and offline shopping.
Cash in advance involves paying for goods or services before receiving them, emphasizing trust and reliability in the seller. Cash on delivery, on the other hand, allows customers to inspect items before paying, mitigating concerns about fraud or product quality.
These payment options cater to the diverse preferences of German consumers and are also chosen, although cash on delivery is less common. 5% of respondents didn’t choose any method from the above – 3% of German consumers say they haven’t conducted any payments online and 2% use other options.


Online payment services, led by household names such as PayPal and Amazon Pay, have achieved a prominent position thanks to their ease of use and focus on transaction security. In turn, invoices have gained traction by offering shoppers the freedom to try products before paying.
In summary, the diversity of payment methods reflects the wealth of options available to consumers in Germany’s e-commerce market, highlighting the importance of offering a wide range of payment options to meet customer needs and preferences. in a constantly evolving market.

Online payment services, led by household names such as PayPal and Amazon Pay, have achieved a prominent position thanks to their ease of use and focus on transaction security.