Guide to Popular European Payment Methods | Solidgate Blog

Popular European Payment Methods: Must-Have APMs

european payment methods illustration

With an estimated 74% of European internet users now shopping online and skyrocketing inflation driving profit margins down, merchants are becoming more aware than ever that they need to invest in their online payment processes now. One of the top priorities is implementing more APMs.

The European market has many alternative payment methods available, so Europe presents a very high growth potential for alternative payments. The European alternatives to traditional banking have exploded recently, with Statista estimating that the market will grow to more than 1.5 billion transactions annually.

Alternative payment methods are an essential part of the digital economy. They can be used by consumers and businesses, who use them to pay for goods and services online. Alternative payment methods include cryptocurrencies, e-wallets, and direct debits.

This article aims to provide an overview of the alternative payment landscape in Europe. We’ll explore the different types of alternative payments, highlight some key players and mark down some unique challenges for sellers.

What are Alternative Payment Methods?

Alternative payment methods are becoming increasingly popular in Europe. In fact, alternative payment methods have the potential to revolutionize how we pay for goods and services. But what is an alternative payment method?

Alternative payment methods are financial transactions that are not made via cash or major card schemes (Visa, MasterCard). They are popular in Europe but less commonly used elsewhere in the world.

Alternative payment methods can be very convenient for online shopping because they can often be processed instantly by the merchant when you purchase on their website (which means no waiting around for your funds to clear).

This is not possible with credit or debit cards – these must be authorized by your bank first, which takes time and may result in declined payments if there’s an issue with your account or card details.

Another advantage of alternative payment methods is that because they don’t require a bank account, they’re often cheaper than other forms of online payment like credit cards and debit cards (although this isn’t always true).

Let’s take a look at some of the popular payment methods in European countries.

APMs in Germany


If you’re looking for a way to pay online without using a credit card, you may want to consider Paysafecard. This prepaid payment method is accepted in many countries worldwide and allows you to purchase it at various locations. It’s also a secure payment method because the money is transferred directly into your account (as opposed to being held by a third party), so it can be used for both online and in-person purchases.


Sofort is a payment method that allows you to make and receive payments through your smartphone or computer. It’s available in all of Germany, which means it works for both B2B and B2C transactions. The technology behind Sofort is provided by the payment services provider Wirecard Bank AG with its headquarters in Munich, Germany.

The service was founded in 2000 by four German banks: Commerzbank AG, DAB Bank AG, Deutsche Bank AG, and Postbank, as well as private investors such as Ströer Interactive Media GmbH (now Ströer Digital Media SE) and Kreditech Holding SE.

In 2005 it was renamed “Sofort,” which translates into English as “immediately” or “instantly”; this name change was done so that people would associate Sofort more closely with the word “fast” than any particular type of transaction method (like wire transfers).


GiroPay is a payment service provided by Sofort AG. It’s similar to PayPal but only available in Germany. GiroPay is considered more secure than PayPal because it requires users to enter their CVV2 code when purchasing instead of just their password. This prevents hackers from accessing your account and stealing your money.

GiroPay lets you pay for goods and services online without needing an account with the merchant beforehand (similar to PayPal). You simply enter your card information on their website, approve the transaction, and complete your purchase as usual.

APMs in France

Cartes Bancaires

In France, banks are the most popular choice for online payments. Most people use credit cards to make online purchases, although some prefer debit cards or prepaid cards. In France, there are many different payment methods: Cartes Bancaires is the most popular method because it offers a high level of security and is widely accepted by European merchants.

Meal Vouchers

In France, you can purchase meal vouchers from supermarkets and gas stations from €10 to €100. These are prepaid cards that can be used at restaurants, cafes, and bars. There are different versions for adults and children. Consumers can use them in any currency, but they aren’t as popular as they once were because of the rise of electronic payments like PayPal, which doesn’t require a physical card or cash to make payments.

APMs in Italy


Moneta is a payment system used in Italy. It’s owned by Banco BPM, the largest Italian bank; the company was created in partnership with Visa and Mastercard. The Moneta app allows users to pay for online and in-store purchases using their mobile phones. It can also be used to make payments through POS terminals at restaurants or shops.


Cartasi/Postepay is a payment method that allows you to pay using your phone, bank account, credit card, or cash at the store. Cartasi/Postepay is only available in Italy.

APMs in Poland


In Poland, you can use Przelewy24 to pay for things online or through your bank account. It’s a popular alternative payment method that allows you to transfer money from one account to another. You can do this in one of three ways:

Credit card – if you have a credit card issued by a Polish bank, then you can use it as your primary payment method on websites that accept Przelewy24. This is usually the most convenient and fastest way of paying with this method, as there are no additional fees involved (as opposed to online banking or bank transfer).

Bank transfer – if you don’t have access to a credit card but want to pay via Przelewy24 anyway, then transferring money directly from your bank account is an option. Make sure both the sender’s and recipient’s names match up correctly before submitting the transaction for processing. The downside of using this option is that additional fees may be associated with it (for example, if someone else has already used their credit card on the said website).

Online banking – many people prefer this alternative because they don’t have enough funds available on their cards at any given time (e.g., during holidays when demand rises significantly due to higher sales volume). However, sending payments directly from one person’s personal savings account without intermediary steps is not always possible, depending on the type of service purchased.


Blik is a mobile payment system that allows you to make payments with your smartphone. It was created by Blik Labs and is used by some Polish retailers, including popular brands like Tesco outlets, Eurekakids, and HMV Poland. Blik has grown in popularity as more Polish retailers accept it as a valid form of payment. You can now use your Blik app to pay for goods at over 10,000 locations throughout Poland.

APMs in Spain


Trustly is a Swedish company that provides an online payment service, with headquarters in Stockholm. Retailers in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway use Trustly. It also has operations in Poland and Spain and a partnership with Italian mobile phone carrier TIM, allowing merchants to accept payments via TIM’s retail network.

The service allows users to exchange money between their accounts without entering bank account details or credit card information into online checkouts. Instead, they simply register with Trustly once and use their username as the unique identifier for all future transactions on any partner site.


SEPA is a single payment space for Europe. It is an initiative of the European Union and was created to improve cross-border payments within Europe. SEPA allows people in Spain to make payments in euros instead of having to pay in their local currency.

For example, if you live in England and want to buy something from Germany, you would have had to pay your German seller via Bank Wire Transfer or PayPal until now because they were not compliant with UK regulations on international payments (for example, Maestro cards). However, if you use SEPA, it will allow this transaction as well as many others like:

  • Credit card transactions
  • Direct debits
  • Direct credit transfers

Crossborder Alternative Payments Methods

european payment methods map

Bank Transfer

Bank transfer is the most common payment method in Europe. It can be used to pay for goods and services or send money from one account to another. To send a bank transfer, you need the recipient’s IBAN, a unique way of identifying individuals and businesses across Europe. For example, if you want to pay your friend in Barcelona €100 for coffee on Monday morning, all you need is their IBAN (a unique identifier) and an internet connection!


Klarna is a Swedish company that offers payment methods for online retailers. Klarna’s customers can pay for goods and services online without a credit card, which makes Klarna an excellent alternative to PayPal and other credit card payments. This means the customer does not need to enter personal data such as name, address, or phone number when making a purchase.


PayPal is a secure payment method that allows you to pay online without disclosing your financial information. PayPal works by linking your credit card, debit card, or bank account to your PayPal account. You can then use this account to send or receive payments from anyone with an email address. To pay for goods and services using PayPal, simply choose the “PayPal” payment option when purchasing on any website that accepts it.


We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of offering European alternative payment methods. The popularity of these methods continues to grow and will be even more critical in the future as eCommerce keeps skyrocketing.

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