5 Top Payment Methods in Germany

Germany is swiftly moving away from using cash, with many citizens now preferring to use cashless payment methods. Recent data from Deutsche Bundesbank shows a continuous rise in payments using credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments using smartphones and wearables.

In order for your business to take advantage of this rapid surge in online shopping in Germany, it’s important that you let your customers pay the way they want. I’ve recently expanded my business into the German market and I compiled a list of the most popular payment methods that you should consider using.

5 Top Payment Methods in Germany

1. PayPal

PayPal dominates the online shopping rankings in Germany. According to a recent report, 57% of German consumers chose PayPal instead of one of the other competing mobile payment options. On the whole, 75% of survey respondents chose one of these digital payment methods instead of alternatives that are slowly fading in popularity, such as cash in advance and prepaid cards.

Similarly, Statista found that PayPal and similar options were chosen by 50% of shoppers, versus just 17% for debit cards.

2. Mobile Wallets

Google Pay and Apple Pay are among the top mobile payment options chosen by Germans, followed by Payback Pay, Barclays bPay, and Bitpay.

Payback Pay is available in a few other European countries, but is most prevalent in Germany, where 23% of survey participants chose it as their favorite method. It could easily be bundled together with Google Pay and Amazon Pay, however, because it simply works as a connection between the customer and one of those two mobile wallets.

Google Pay maintains a slight lead over Apple Pay, with 40% of German customers who use it when shopping.

3. Debit and Credit Cards

Debit cards are a popular payment method in Germany. Data by PCM shows that around 121 million debit cards were in use in Germany at the end of 2021. Debit cards are sometimes referred to as Girocard or EC-Karte, although these are blanket terms – Girocard is a German debit card brand.

Girocard is co-branded with Mastercard (Maestro) and Visa (V-Pay) in order to work worldwide. These cards are the most common by far – up to 88% of debit card payments are carried out by Girocard.The remaining 12% of card payments in Germany are carried out using standard Mastercard and Visa cards.

German shoppers have a marked preference for paying with debit cards. When it comes to credit card options, charge credit cards are fairly common. These cards can be used throughout the month and only charge the account after 30 days.


SOFORT is among the leading payment methods in Germany, with many consumers turning to it instead of traditional bank transfers. It allows customers to connect directly to their bank instead of needing to input credit or debit card data on a checkout page.

It has an added security measure that helps prevent fraudulent transactions. Before the payment goes through, customers need to confirm it through two-factor authentication.

Apart from SOFORT, German shoppers often pay with Giropay, which is a similar bank transfer service.

5. Cash

Despite the rise of cashless payments, cash continues to be one of the favorite payment methods in Germany. A 2021 report by the Deutsche Bundesbank found that German citizens paid in cash for around 58% of their total purchases. However, this is a huge drop from the previous study in 2017, when Germans paid for 74% of their shopping in cash.

Germany beats all other countries in the eurozone when it comes to how much cash Germans carry in their wallets at any given time. In 2021, Germans carried around €100 on average, and this might not change anytime soon – the vast majority of Germans (69%) intend to keep paying with cash in the future.

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