The golden rules for international payment methods


When it comes to payments, customers in each country work differently and, according to a recent survey[1], 47% of customers in the UK and 49% of customers in Germany have already abandoned an online transaction as they weren’t offered their preferred payment method. We have therefore put together the ten most important rules when it comes to international payment methods.

Appropriate payment methods

Select the most appropriate or most frequently used payment types in the relevant country; you should offer at least the top three for each country you are selling to. Opportunities for fine tuning arise from a more precise analysis of the payment preferences of particular target groups or industries – seeing what competitors do in each country can be useful here.

Optimise conventional payment options

Payments in advance are a red flag for many customers however, in contrast, direct debits are frequently ignored by dealers. However, these conventional payment types can be optimised, as demonstrated by some variants that are available in the marketplace. You can also facilitate payment in advance, which is slow and subject to errors, by using an optimised advance payment product, thus ensuring higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Push payments

Of course it is advisable to offer the more conventional pull payments because credit cards and direct debits are very popular with customers and are widely used payment types. However, always keep an eye on the mix of payment types – and include push payments. Direct transfers benefit you as a retailer as you do not have to think about defaults due to back charges, nor deal with the safe storage of payment data.

Go mobile, but do it right

The percentage of online shoppers who buy via smartphone or tablet varies between countries, but on average one in five purchases is now made via a mobile device. This means that m-commerce still has to catch up as one in three people access the internet from a mobile device. In addition to optimising a web shop for mobile buyers, appropriate payment systems, such as one-click payments are also required. The lower conversion rates when compared with PCs and notebooks demonstrate that many shops have not yet found the right mobile strategy.

Act local

You should detect where the customer is located via geo-targeting and give them the feeling, in terms of what is on offer and payment types, that they are visiting a local shop. When looking at payment methods, you should offer your customers five to seven of the most relevant payment types for the relevant country written in their local language.


The integration of payment services is not only a technical issue. It is first necessary to get over the barrier or acquiring them, i.e. to clarify the acceptance and other contractual details with the suppliers of various payment methods. It is also necessary to answer the regulatory questions. Above all international shops need clever cash flow management to quickly access their money with low ancillary costs. In most cases it is a good idea to rely on a special payment service provider (PSP) to quickly and easily bring payment types to the online shop.


Focus on using payment automation options; many shops still assign transactions to order manually, however, what may work with ten orders per day is destined for failure when international business takes off. Complicated back-end processes delay orders and long waiting times frustrate customers, so it’s important to make sure you use automation tools.


It is vital to minimise the potential risks of fraud and still work quickly. Here, partners such as credit agencies provide useful services relating to fraud prevention.


People’s habits change, so it’s therefore important to question the payment types in your shop at regular intervals. Detailed statistics about the shop – both on revenues and drop-out rates – can help here as problems can be detected quickly.

Payment trends

You should keep an eye on the latest payment trends; is Apple Pay the next big thing? Do not wait for the competition to try it out but rather assess the trends for yourself and become one of the trendsetters.