Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (2023)


from Maik Klotz/12. September 2018/Reading Time: 10 Minutes

Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (1)

Image Source: Photo by Jonas Leupe

About the sense and nonsense of paying with your smartphone at the cashier point can and must one argue, and about the question why we no longer talk about mobile internet, but still distinguish between mobile payment and payment in other areas, when it comes to payment. One can also have different opinions about the fact that the German credit economy is coming onto the market with its own payment procedures just now. But there is no doubt that a lot has changed in the market of mobile payment methods in the last months. An overview over what is possible and what is not possible in Germany today.

Mobile payment definition

Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (2)

The simplest definition of Mobile Payment is the following: Mobile Payment is when you pay with your smartphone. No more no less. Differences then occur in the technology and in which channel the payment is made.In the vernacular, however, mobile payment is often reduced to the payment process in stationary retail, the so-called proximity payment.

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In fact, mobile payment is “more” than just paying at the checkout, and in the evaluation of payment one must then actually differentiate. This overview refers to mobile payment at the POS in Retail.

Apple Pay

It´s coming, it´s not coming, it´s coming. After years of waiting and nobody believing in it anymore, Apple Pay is finally coming to Germany. This wasn´t stated by some visionary, an ominous industry expert, but by Tim. The Tim Cook from Apple. Listen to the last conference call, Apple Pay is to be launched in Germany this year, so still in 2018.

Apple Pay and the banks

For the party to start, you need banks that are willing to participate and can join in, because Apple Pay builds on existing cards. Without any participating banks no Apple Pay. The German credit economy however is having a hard time supporting Apple Pay. First and foremost, the classic and large retail banks. At the start there will be:
  • American Express
  • Boon (Wirecard)
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Fidor Bank
  • Hanseatic Bank
  • HypoVereinsbank
  • N26
  • Santander
  • Unicredit
  • VIMPay
  • bunq
All other institutions do not disclose or exclude Apple Pay support. There are some who “watch the market”, but of course the consumer can´t hope for that.System requirements: iPhone SE,6,7,8 or Apple Watch (Serie 1,2,3). Apple Pay uses NFC in stationary retail and emulates a card payment.

Google Pay

Usually Google always lags a bit behind with Google Pay. Not so in Germany. Google was ahead of Apple and yet it still took three years until Google Pay came to Germany after its launch in March 2015. Since the 26th of June 2018 Google Pay can also be used in Germany.

Banks that support Google Pay

The same applies to Google Pay: Without any participating banks no Google Pay. The list of participating banks is still manageable, but with boon for example, there is a universal solution for all interested users.
  • boon (Wirecard)
  • Comdirect
  • Commerzbank
  • N26
  • Revolut
  • LBBW (geplant)
System requirements: Android smartphone with Android Lollipop5.0 or higher and NFC.Google Pay uses NFC in stationary retail and emulates a card payment.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank was the first German Bank to launch its own mobile payment solution in April 2017.Since then, Deutsche Bank customers, who also own a credit card, can pay with the Online-Banking app “Deutsche Bank Mobile” for Android at the point of sale. However, an account with Deutsche Bank is not enough, in addition to the app and a suitable smartphone, a Deutsche Bank credit card is also required.

System requirement: Android smartphone with Android KitKat 4.4or higher und NFC. A Deutsche Bank account and credit card, as well as the Banking-App. In stationary retail NFC is used and a card payment is emulated.

Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (3)

Fidor Pay

The pioneer among digital banks has been offering its customers the possibility to pay with their smartphone with Fidor Pay for several weeks now. A mandatory Fidor account, an Android smartphone with NFC and the Fidor Smart banking-app are required. When paying with Fidor the digital Fidor debit Mastercard is used at the point of sale. The so-called Host Card Emulation (HCE) is used technologically on the smartphone. For the terminal it is a normal card transaction.System requirements: Android smartphone with NFC and installed Fidor Smart Banking-App. A Fidor account and credit card. In stationary retail NFC is used and a card payment is emulated.

Sparkasse mobile payment

4,5 million Germans use the Sparkasse mobile banking-apps. With a market share of almost 70 percent and assuming that the majority have a up-to-date smartphone, Sparkasse is the largest mobile payment provider in Germany with around 3 million users. At least in theory. How many users actually use the mobile payment function will show in the next few years. The fact is however, that a large proportion of online banking customers from Sparkasse can use the payment procedure with an Android smartphone with NFC. The Sparkasse customer can deposit both Girocard and Mastercard issued by Sparkasse in the App “Mobiles Bezahlen”. The so-called Host Card Emulation (HCE) is also used technologically by the Sparkasse. For the terminal it is a normal card transaction.The list of participating Sparkassen banks can be found here.System requirements: Android smartphone with Android Lollipop5.0 or higher and NFC. An account and a Girocard or Mastercard from Sparkasse as well as the app “Mobiles Zahlen” from Sparkasse. In stationary retail NFC is used and a card payment is emulated.

Volksbank Mobile Payment

Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (4)

Since December 2017, Volksbank has been testing mobile payment with the smartphone in a Friends & Family test. It will all start on August 13th, 2018 when 85 percent of the 915 Volks-and Raiffeisenbanks will offer their customers the ability to pay with the smartphone. Like in the Sparkasse solution, customers of Volks- and Raiffeisenbanks can also deposit their current Girocard or credit card (Visa and Mastercard) and use them for mobile payment. Besides the banking-app for Androids, another app called “Digitale Karten” from the Volks- and Raiffeisenbank is required. Which banks offer this payment solution can be seen in the app.System requirements: Android smartphone with Android Lollipop5.0 or higher and NFC. An account and Girocard or Mastercard or Visa from the Volksbank and the banking-app, as well as the app “Digitale Karten” from the Volksbank. In stationary retail NFC is used and a card payment is emulated.

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Payback Pay

Payback Pay from Payback was the best-known and most used method for a long time. After the first mobile payment hype, Payback started with Payback Pay in June 2016. Since then you can pay and collect points with Payback Pay at participating merchants with the app. Payback Pay can be used likewise on iPhone and Android because it is based on a QR-Code technology. Consumers can deposit a current Giroaccount in the Payback app and are able to pay at participating merchants. The amount that should be paid will be debited after the account has been authenticated. In order to pay, a customer has to select the corresponding function in the Payback app and scan the generated QR-Code at the POS. This works depending on the scanner very good to very bad. Aral uses NFC as the only exception.Participating merchants are:
  • Aral (nur Android NFC)
  • dm Drogerie
  • Galeria Kaufhof
  • real
  • REWE
  • Alnatura
  • Tee Gschwendner
  • Thalia
  • Penny
System requirements: iPhone orAndroid smartphone with Payback App. A Payback user account with deposited bank details. In stationary retail a QR-Code is generated, which is read in by the cash register to collect points and / or to pay. Aral requires an Android smartphone with NFC.

Postbank mobile payment

Since the end of 2017 Postbank has offered its customers the option of paying by smartphone. The requirements are similar to those of the Deutsche Bank. A Postbank account and credit card are required, as well as an Android smartphone with NFC and a suitable app, in this case the “Postbank Finanzassistenten” app. Girocard is not supported.System requirements: Android smartphone with Android KitKat 4.4or higher and NFC, as well as the Postbank app “Finanzassistent”. A Postbank account and credit card. In stationary retail NFC is used and a card payment is emulated.


Fintech, which comes from Sweden, also offers interested users in Germany the possibility to pay with a smartphone. But only with an Android smartphone and a SEQR account. This account can then be loaded via direct debit.

System requirements: Android smartphone with Android KitKat 4.4or higher and NFC, as well as the SEQR app. A user account at SEQR. In stationary retail NFC is used and a card payment is emulated.

Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (5)

Blue Code

The Fintech Blue Code, from Austria, is used throughout Austria with the mobile payment system, with the same name, and can be used in merchants such as Billa, Spar, Merkur and many more. The barcode-based method has also been available in Germany since 2016. Here however only with very few selected (pilot) partners such as the Studentenwerk in Siegen and Frankfurt or Konsum in Dresden.Blue Code can be used with an associated bank or with a Blue Code account and is available for Android and IPhone.System requirements: iPhone orAndroid smartphone with Blue Code app. A Blue Code user account (or participating bank) with a deposited bank account. In stationary retail a barcode is generated, which is read by the cash register to pay.

Netto Marken Discount

At Netto, you can pay with the Netto-app in all 4.500 stores in Germany. The Netto-app, which was developed by Valuephone for Android and IPhone, is required. At the checkout a unique payment code is created for each payment process in the app, which must be communicated to the checkout staff. Payment is then made by direct debit.Besides the app a corresponding user account is being required. Payment service provider is InterCard / Paymorrow.System requirements: iPhone orAndroid smartphone with Netto-app. A Netto user account with a deposited bank account. In stationary retail a transaction number is generated which is entered at the cash desk to pay.

Edeka /Vapiano

Edeka, like Netto, which is also part of the Edeka group, offers its customers the opportunity to pay by smartphone. The two solutions are technologically identical and, as with Netto, a corresponding app is required.

System requirements: iPhone orAndroid Smartphone with Edeka-app. A Edeka user account with a deposited bank account. In stationary retail a transaction number is generated, which is entered at the cash desk to pay.

Since 2017 you can order with the Vapiano-app and if you have a deposited credit card or PayPal-account you can also pay with the app.

System requirements: iPhone orAndroid smartphone with Vapiano-app. A Vapiano user account with deposited credit card or PayPal-account. In stationary retail a barcode is generated, which is read by the cash register to pay.

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In the US, Starbucks now has more transactions with the Starbucks-app than Apple Pay. However, the Starbucks-app offers many added values such as Click & Collect. In Germany the Starbucks-app can also be used to pay. To do this, the Starbucks account must be charged. This is therefore a classic prepaid procedure.System requirements: iPhone orAndroid smartphone with Starbucks-app. A Starbuck user account. In the Café a barcode is generated, which is read by the cash register to pay.
Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (6)


The good news: if you want to use your smartphone to pay in the store you can do so, at least as an Android user, at most card terminals in Germany. The main challenge for the user is the selection of the “provider”. Technologically most solutions work very similar at the POS in the end. But whether to use Google Pay or the house bank solution depends on several factors. Anyone who has neither a bank with Google Pay nor a bank with its own payment solution can still use Google Pay with the universal solution from Wirecard “boon”.The isolated application from Netto, Edeka, Vapiano or Payback can be used by everyone in the particular store.

Apple users can only use one of the introduced isolated applications and must wait until Apple Pay comes to Germany in autumn. Here, too, boon will be a universal solution that enable Apple Pay for all interested users even if your own house bank will not support Apple Pay.

Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (7)

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Mobile Payment in Germany – what is possible, and what is not (8)

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What are the payment options in Germany? ›

Popular payment methods
  • PayPal. Digital wallets. PayPal is a major digital wallet, with over 300 million active consumers.
  • Maestro. Cards. Maestro is a debit product within the Mastercard offering.
  • Visa. Cards. ...
  • girocard. Cards. ...
  • Giropay. Online banking. ...
  • Mastercard. Cards. ...
  • SEPA Direct Debit. Direct debit.

What is the most popular payment method in Germany? ›

Data shows that the most popular online method in Germany is PayPal, followed by invoice, debit or credit cards and direct debit.
In this article you will find
  • Profile of the German online shopper.
  • Is PayPal used in Germany?
  • Leverage your payment service provider insights.
Jul 8, 2021

Can I pay with my phone in Germany? ›

Contactless payment processes also include paying on a smartphone with the digital girocard. This is another key driver of payment trends in Germany, with mobile payments increasing towards 10% of all contactless transactions.

What are the 3 risks of using my mobile for payments? ›

Losing your phone. It's like losing your credit card. Cyberthieves who spoof your mobile wallet. Malware on your cellphone.

Which payment app works in Germany? ›

PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Payback Pay are the top e-wallet apps in Germany. Moreover, German consumers also use banking apps for payment and transfer money. Furthermore, German customers prefer to pay credit or debit cards when they purchase goods or services online.

What is payment method in German? ›

Zahlungsart {f} fin. Zahlungsweg {m} [Zahlungsmethode] fin.

What are the 3 major payment options? ›

The three most common types of payment in today's market are credit cards, debit cards, and cash. Credit and debit card transactions involve fees paid by merchants to the card companies, but they tend to involve larger purchase amounts than cash transactions.

Do people use Zelle in Germany? ›

In order to use Zelle®, the sender and recipient's bank accounts must be based in the U.S.

Do German banks use Zelle? ›

No, Zelle® can only be used to send funds to someone who has a bank account in the United States.

Can I use my phone to pay in Europe? ›

Going Digital. Increasingly, merchants throughout Europe accept Apple Pay and other digital "contactless" payment systems; Apple pay is accepted in over 60 countries as of July 2021.

Is Apple Pay accepted in Germany? ›

Apple Pay is more accessible in Germany than ever

A lot of major banks have adopted the service, including Commerzbank, Norisbank and Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg. As of now only credit and debit cards issued by the German banks themselves can be integrated into Apple's payment service.

Is Apple Pay widely accepted in Germany? ›

Apple Pay launched in Germany on December 10, 2018, with the service available through American Express, Deutsche Bank, Viabuy, Consorsbank, Hanseatic Bank, HypoVereinsbank, Edenred, Comdirect, Fidor Bank, Sparkasse, Sparkassen-Card, Commerzbank, and mobile banks and payment services o2, N26, bunq, and VIMpay.

What is are the possible risk of online payment method? ›

These risks include everything from chargebacks and fraud to data breaches and payment declines. With more consumers choosing digital payments, it's essential to understand the risks of accepting debit, credit, and prepaid cards.

What are the risks of mobile? ›

Top Mobile Security Threats
  • Malicious Apps and Websites. Like desktop computers, mobile devices have software and Internet access. ...
  • Mobile Ransomware. ...
  • Phishing. ...
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks. ...
  • Advanced Jailbreaking and Rooting Techniques. ...
  • Device and OS exploits.

What are the 3 most important things you would consider when developing a mobile app? ›

11 things to consider before you design and build your App
  • Do you really need an App? ...
  • Decide if it is for Android, Apple or both? ...
  • Have you allowed enough time to design, build and test it? ...
  • App Registration. ...
  • Who are you competitors? ...
  • Use an App developer or use on online build service? ...
  • Do you need a tablet version too?

What is one of the biggest threats facing mobile devices? ›

Phishing attacks

“Phishing remains one of the most often-used and successful tricks that cybercriminals use to compromise victims,” Pargman says of this mobile security threat.

What is the biggest issue to consider when developing a mobile app? ›

Device compatibility is perhaps the most important factor for a mobile app. Make sure, not once, but TWICE, your app should provide flawless service and compatible on multiple devices.

Where is Zelle in Germany? ›

No, you can't Zelle to Germany, as Zelle is available only in the US. The payment app only allows you to send money from one US bank account to another, meaning both the sender and the recipient must have US bank accounts.

Does Germany have venmo? ›

Venmo is currently only supported within the U.S. If you try to sign in while abroad, you'll likely get an error message. We will be able to further assist you with any login issues upon your return to the U.S. If you are outside of the U.S. long term, please reach out to Venmo Support.

Is PayPal allowed in Germany? ›

In the US and Germany, you can add PayPal as a payment method in your Google Wallet. You can use it to pay for some Google products in participating stores, apps and websites.

Why do Germans say Ach so? ›

Achso is a combination of ach which is generally translated as “oh”, or “alas” if you're feeling fancy, and so, which has a number of translations, including “so”, “right! ' and “yeah?”. The term ach so is used to express understanding.

What is the most popular payment method in Europe? ›

Popular online payment methods in Europe
1Digital wallets44 percent
2Card42 percent
3PayPal32 percent
4Local payment method11 percent
5Pay on delivery11 percent
1 more row

What is mobile phone payment method? ›

Rather than paying for your items with credit cards or cash, a mobile payment allows you to complete the transaction completely from your mobile phone. Some mobile payments use third-party apps like Venmo and PayPal, while others use a digital wallet stored on your phone.

What is the most commonly used method of payment? ›

The most common payment methods are: Credit and debit card: This is one of the most commonly used and oldest payment methods worldwide.

How can I send money from Germany to USA? ›

Some of the best money transfer companies to send money from Germany to USA
  1. Fee free online transfers: OFX.
  2. Best for exchange rates, expats or family: Wise.
  3. Better rates for larger transfers: XE Money Transfers.
  4. Ideal for small remittances: WorldRemit.

What is the cheapest way to send money to Germany from USA? ›

Bank Transfer

Bank transfers are usually the cheapest option when it comes to funding your international money transfer with Wise. Bank transfers can be slower than debit or credit cards, but they usually give you the best value for your money.

What is the easiest way to send money to someone in Germany? ›

PayPal is one easy method, and if the recipient doesn't have a bank account, they can spend money directly from their PayPal account. Remitly is another option and allows recipients to pick up cash transfers in person. Alternatively, you could send a money order or a prepaid international debit card.

What method of payment is best? ›

Cash. Cash is king. It's true. Without cash (whether in our wallets, bank accounts, or tied up in CDs and money markets), there is no true financial security.

Which payment system is best and why? ›

Which payment gateway is best?
  • Stripe: Best overall payment gateway.
  • Adyen: Best omnichannel option.
  • Helcim: Best interchange plus pricing for businesses of all sizes.
  • PayPal: Best for doing everything in one place.
  • Square: Best if you also have a storefront.
  • Braintree: Best to accept a variety of payment types.
Jul 18, 2022

What are three electronic payment methods? ›

The most common electronic payment methods include ACH, debit and credit cards, wire and bank transfers, digital wallets, and mobile pay.

What is the best way to send money internationally? ›

An international bank transfer is usually the best way to transfer money internationally because it is secure, fast and cheaper than other methods such as cash, money orders or credit cards. A bank or money transfer company can carry out an international bank transfer for you.

What is the safest app to send money internationally? ›

The Best Money Transfer Apps for 2023
  • Best Overall: PayPal.
  • Best for International Transfers: WorldRemit.
  • Best for Low Fees: Cash App.
  • Best for Shared Bills: Venmo.
  • Best for Small Transfers: Facebook Pay.
  • Best for Bank to Bank Transfers: Zelle.

How long does a German bank transfer take? ›

For paperless transfers in euros, it usually takes one or two working days, according to EU payment guidelines. For transfers in foreign currencies, it takes up to four working days.

Is it better to take euros or use debit card? ›

Advantages of an overseas card

The main advantage of using a debit or credit card overseas is that you won't pay foreign transaction fees every time you spend. While many also won't charge fees for cash withdrawals, you will still usually be charged interest from the date of the transaction if you use a credit card.

What is the best way to pay by card in Europe? ›

Specialist travel credit cards are the best method of paying for items abroad, but bad for cash withdrawals. They're still overall among the best cards to use abroad. Even credit cards that charge no cash withdrawal fees normally still charge interest on the withdrawal until you pay it off.

How can I use my phone without international charges? ›

Only use Wi-Fi

One of the simplest ways to avoid paying international fees is to keep your phone in Airplane mode unless you're in a place with Wi-Fi. This is a great option for anyone willing to go a few hours a day without using their phone's data.

Is Google pay allowed in Germany? ›

Google Pay is only available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden.

Does Germany have cash App? ›

Does Cash App work in Europe? Alternatives for 2023. Unfortunately, Cash App is not yet available in European countries – it's only available for US and UK residents. If you live in the US or UK and want to send money to a friend who lives in Germany, or another European country, you cannot do so.

What payment methods are accepted in Germany? ›

Popular payment methods
  • PayPal. Digital wallets. PayPal is a major digital wallet, with over 300 million active consumers.
  • Maestro. Cards. Maestro is a debit product within the Mastercard offering.
  • Visa. Cards. ...
  • girocard. Cards. ...
  • Giropay. Online banking. ...
  • Mastercard. Cards. ...
  • SEPA Direct Debit. Direct debit.

Why no card payments in Germany? ›

What's going on? The problems with card payments seem to be linked to a commonly used card payments terminal from US company Verifone. According to reports, H5000 card machines at multiple retailers and businesses experienced a software malfunction that stopped them processing payments.

What are the challenges of mobile banking? ›

There is also risk of malware and virus attack which might lead to third party accessing an individual's private data and details such as their usernames, passwords etc. There is also risk in mobile banking through SMS. SMS services do provide end to end encryption of messages being exchanged.

What are online payment challenges? ›

9 Online Payment Challenges To Be Aware Of
  • Online Card Fraud. ...
  • Cross-Border Transactions. ...
  • Chargebacks. ...
  • Card Data Security. ...
  • Optimum User Experience. ...
  • Compliance and Security. ...
  • Regular Updates to the Payment Options. ...
  • Processing Fees.
Nov 22, 2021

What are the major operational challenges of online payment? ›

Disadvantages of Online Payments
  • Technical problems. ...
  • Password threats. ...
  • Cost of fraud. ...
  • Security Concerns. ...
  • Technological illiteracy. ...
  • Limitations on amount and time. ...
  • Disputed transactions. ...
  • Loss of smart cards.
Jul 26, 2022

What are the challenges in mobile? ›

Portability: Portable computers face physical challenges (volume, weight, power consumption, cost), pragmatic challenges (increased chance of data loss, small user-interface issues), and systems issues (network integration, resource imbalance such as lack of local storage, impoverished computational power).

What is the biggest problem in banking? ›

Security Breaches. With a series of high-profile breaches over the past few years, security is one of the leading banking industry challenges, as well as a major concern for bank and credit union customers.

What is the biggest danger when online banking? ›

Some of the biggest security issues associated with online banking include malware or phishing scams to intercept or steal customers' personal and financial information. Online banking is safe. However, hackers are constantly at work, finding new ways to get around security measures.

What are the three common challenges in banking? ›

Top 10 Challenges Facing Banks & Credit Unions in 2022 [+ Solutions]
  • Understanding customer expectations. ...
  • Optimizing the mobile experience. ...
  • Leveraging social media to increase foot traffic. ...
  • Security and authentication. ...
  • Fintech competition. ...
  • Omnichannel reach. ...
  • Internal change. ...
  • Adopting AI.

What is mobile payment advantages and disadvantages? ›

Mobile payments can be convenient, fast and secure. They can, however, be expensive and still vulnerable to issues with technology. In particular, if there are any issues with the host phone, mobile payments will be unable to work at all.

What is the main risk faced by the payment system? ›

Third, every payment method involves risk. The Bank for International Settlements' Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems identifies five major categories of risk associated with payment transactions: fraud, operational, legal, settlement, and systemic.

What is the reason for payment failed? ›

What causes payment failure? Failed payments can occur from both the merchant's end and the customer's end. A customer will often experience payment failure due to a faulty internet connection, entering incorrect payment details, or because there is not enough money in their account to cover the payment..

What are the possible attacks in e payment system? ›

Worms, Trojans, viruses, phishing, pharming, spoofing, man-in the middle, denial of service attack, transaction poisoning and spamming are the most common threats.

What are some of the issues you must consider before accepting online payments? ›

Here are five tips to reduce the risks associated with these transactions.
  • Verify billing addresses. ...
  • Confirm that the shipping and billing address match. ...
  • Research your credit card processor's PCI compliance. ...
  • Take security precautions with your e-commerce website. ...
  • Train your staff to watch for signs of fraud.
Jan 23, 2023

What is the disadvantage of digital payment system? ›

The problems which still exist are as follows: Not Traceable: The digital cash uses the internet, which makes traceability difficult. Hence, the system provides anonymity. This can be a good thing but also a bad thing.

What are the five disadvantages of mobile? ›

Constant distraction, social disruption, never-ending workdays, ongoing expenses, cause of accidents, health problems, youth crimes, etc. are some of the major disadvantages of using mobile phones.


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