Payment methods in Germany: notes for merchants

Payment methods in Germany: notes for merchants

When you sell products and services, you need to know your client base. It includes research on what payment methods they prefer. And, as it is an extensive topic, we will get to it country by country.

So today, Genome takes a look at the most used payment methods in Germany so merchants know what to expect from their customers in this market. 

What is a payment method?

Before discussing the popular payment methods in Germany, let’s first dissect the term. 

It is a payment option a client chooses to purchase goods or services either in-person or online. There are many payment methods, but they can usually be differentiated by their usage. 

For instance, such a payment method as cash can only be used in physical stores, while cards are suitable for both physical locations and online stores. Thus, as we will see further on, German online payment methods will differ from the ones used at shops and restaurants.

There is also a differentiation between traditional and alternative payment methods (APMs). Cash and debit/credit cards are considered traditional payment methods, while online wallets, mobile banking apps, etc., are classified as APMs. 

If your company sells products and/or services, you need to know what payment methods clients prefer in a certain location, whether you trade in retail or via the internet. 

Most popular payment methods in Germany: statistics

So, what are the most used payment methods in Germany? Well, let’s take a look at a study conducted by the Deutsche Bundesbank called Payment behavior in Germany in 2021

According to it, cash remains king by the number of transactions made for goods and services. In 2021, cash accounted for 58% of the said transactions, although in 2017, this number was higher – 74%. As the study explains, the pandemic led to an increase in online purchases and, respectively, a rise in other payment methods suited for it. 

So, in 2021, debit cards (with Girocard being the most popular) were used for 23% of transactions, credit cards – for 6%, internet payment methods – for 5%, and transfers/direct debits – for 4%. 

Now, to the online payment methods in Germany. If we look at payments made via the internet exclusively, the situation here differs. Most of the online transactions in 2021 were made using internet payment methods (49%), followed by transfer/direct debit payments (27%), credit cards (18%), and debit cards (4%). Although the internet payment methods aren’t specified, another survey published by Statista shows that the most popular online payment method in Germany is PayPal. 

And as for the use of mobile payment methods at POS terminals, Apple Pay was the most well-liked (38%), followed by banking payment apps (25%), Google Pay (18%), Payback Pay (11%), PayPal (5%), and the payment app of a chain store (5%). 

Now that we know what people in Germany prefer to pay with, let’s discuss the payment methods listed in detail. 


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A closer look at popular payment methods in Germany

As the aforementioned survey suggests, cash remains the most used payment method in Germany when it comes to in-person. Still, other methods of payment have gained popularity.

Debit and credit cards

These are self-explanatory, as cards have been around for decades. With debit cards, the card owner’s money comes directly from their bank account, while credit cards use credit funds of the bank, and the clients need to return the money within a certain period to avoid interest.

Girocard is used most commonly. It is a contactless debit card that is only issued and accepted within Germany. The company has issued 100 million cards over the years and has 60 thousand of ATMs around the country. 

And there’s also Giropay – an online payment system used for payments via the internet. Today Giropay is one of Germany’s most well-liked internet payment systems, with 35 million users. 


Numbers speak for themselves – Paypal is one of the most used online payment methods in Germany. This payment method brings consumers a fast, convenient, and secure experience. You can log in with an e-mail address and password, click a button, and that’s it, done – the payment is processed.

Besides, as of 2022, 429 million people were using Paypal, and 93% of respondents in Germany replied they had used PayPal for online purchases at least once a year.

Contactless payment methods

We can’t talk about popular payment methods in Germany without mentioning contactless payments. 

With options like Apple Pay and Google Pay, clients can make purchases at stores that provide contactless payment equipment, as well as online. All they need is to have an NFC-enabled phone or smartwatch.

And there’s also the Payback Pay app for contactless payments, which allows getting points for purchases at the checkout. 

Cover Germany’s online payment methods with Genome

Need a payment solution to accept payments on your website? Genome is here for you! We provide e-commerce companies with multiple merchant accounts online and work inside the EU and with other European countries, including Germany.

With our account, clients can pay you using 20+ currencies using cards and over 40 alternative payment methods. Both hosted payment pages and host-to-host solutions available, and also a mobile SDK if your shop exists exclusively inside the mobile app. 

And our advanced payment analytics will allow creating multiple reports on transactions and chargebacks, so you can track how your business is doing 24/7. 


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Not only that, but Genome’s merchant account has integrations with the most popular e-commerce platforms around the world: Shopify, WooCommerce, OXID, OpenCart, PrestaShop, Magento, and Opencart. So, you can use the services of these platforms and accept money to our Genome account. 

All you need to do is start a business wallet at Genome and apply for a merchant account. Get access to merchant services, SEPA and international transfers, instant payouts, mass transfers, corporate cards, and many more features on our platform!


What payment method is used in Germany?

There are many ways clients can pay for products and services in Germany. For retail, cash is still the most popular payment method in Germany. Debit and credit cards are used frequently too. And as for online transactions, here, internet payment methods prevail, followed by transfers, direct debits, and cards. 

What is the most used payment method in Germany?

For in-person purchases, Germans still prefer cash to other methods of payment, such as cards and contactless payments. As for online payment methods in Germany, clients pay using internet payment methods the most.

What is the most popular payment method in Germany?

For now, it is cash for retail payments, although its popularity has started to decrease. And online, they enjoy paying with internet payment methods such as PayPal.