eCommerce Review: Popular Payment Methods in Europe, UK, US

According to the 2021 E-commerce in Europe report by PostNord, “297 million consumers in Europe shop online” and have spent an estimated €465 billion for online shopping in the past year.

Those are big numbers. If you are in the eCommerce business, you would want to know how you can have a share of that. Though we’re not delving into marketing or conversion optimization strategies in this article, we offer you one simple way to increase your chances of capturing a portion of that market.

Here’s how—make sure your payment methods are what shoppers actually use. Don’t let potential buyers abandon checkout just because you don’t offer the means of payment they feel most comfortable using.

To give you a head start, let’s look at some of the popular payment methods in Europe, the UK, and the US today.

Also read:
Checkout Optimization: Reducing Purchase Friction
Add-to-Cart Best Practices in 2022: Nudging Prospects to Buy

Popular payment methods in Europe, the UK, and the US

Here are the preferred payment methods in Europe, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US).

Europe

Digital wallets and payment cards were the most popular payment methods across Europe in 2021, according to DPDgroup.

Digital wallets such as Paypal were the most preferred payment method in Germany and Italy. Consumers from Belgium, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Denmark named Visa or Mastercard as their preferred payment method.

Payment Method Preference in Europe, 2021 
Digital wallet (Paypal, etc) 
Visa / Mastercard 
Domestic bank credit or debit card 
Bank transfer 
Sored value cards / Virtual cards / e- 
Caswon-Delivery 
By invoice (and payment slip) 
Direct debit 
Other cards (American express) 
Mobile payment app 
Klama 
Payu 
Pr7elewy2a 
Voucher ePay/ Gift card from unique 
iDEAL 
Virtual currencies (bitcoin) 
Sofort 
PaysafeCard 
Dotpay 
IN Home Pay
Source: PDPGroup

Country-based trends in Europe

  • Local payment solutions occupy strong positions in some countries.
  • iDEAL has been the preferred payment method in the Netherlands for years and has remained so in 2021. 
  • Shoppers in Poland primarily use Przelewy24 and Payu to pay for online purchases.
  • Multibanco is a top choice among Portuguese e-shoppers.
  • Klana is the 4th preferred payment method in Austria and also a popular one in Germany.

United Kingdom

In 2021, the UK remained one of the strongest eCommerce markets in Europe, with a higher purchase amount and eCommerce share than other European countries, according to PostNord.

Preferred Payment Methods in the UK, 2021 
Visa I Mastercard 
Digital wallet (Paypal, Alipay) 
Domestic bank credit card / debit 
card 
Direct debit 
Other cards (American Express) 
Stored value cards / Virtual cards / 
e-money 
Bank transfer 
12% 
10% 
8% 
8%
Source: PostNord

Predictions and trends in the UK

J.P. Morgan predicts that cards will be among the most popular payment methods in 2023, along with digital wallets.

Severe restrictions in the UK during the pandemic led to very low usage of cash as a payment method. COVID-19 greatly affected shopping behaviors there. However, a survey conducted by PostNord revealed an equal split between those who were inclined to continue shopping online and those who wished to go back to offline shopping. Hence, a shift in the share of cash as a payment method could be expected.

Forecast Payment Split for 2023 
Direct debit 
5.0% 
Cash 
7.9% 
Bank transfer 
11.9%
Source: PostNord

United States

US consumers stood out for using credit cards the most for online shopping. However, a 2021 study by GoCardless estimated that up to 76% of young Americans aged 18 – 24 are less likely to use credit cards for online shopping.

Meanwhile, as the market exhibits interest in using cryptocurrency as a payment method, Worldpay recognizes merchants in the US as among the front-runners in accommodating the demand.

Preferred payment methods, 2021 
Credit / Charge Card 
Digital / Mobile Wallet 
Debit Card 
Bank Transfer 
Buy Now Pay Later 
PrePay 
Cash on Delivery 
Prepaid Card 
21% 
8% 
4% 
3% 
1%
Source: GoCardless

Trends in the US

Digital wallets are expected to become a leading payment method this year and are projected to account for nearly one-third of regional eCommerce spending by 2025.

BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) doubled its share in 2021 and is projected to reach a 9% share of the preferred payment method in the US in 2025, as dozen of firms compete for the market. 

Want to find out which payment methods your market prefers? Our CRO strategists can find out for you. Reach out at [email protected] or hit the chat bubble on the right!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like