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How to set up online payment in Germany.

Share your experience in setting up an online payment.

3:26 pm on Jun 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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First of all, I am sorry for posting this message here in search engines section, but I could not find other place where I could find webmasters from Germany.

I have a client located in Germany. They need to get an online payment option for their site. I suggested to get it through Verisign, but their local bank does not offer internet merchant account as it is required by Verisign. Please share your experience in setting online payment system in Germany and provide contact information if possible.

Thank you in advance.

6:03 pm on June 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Jigit - your post is fine here. In fact it's a very important question for promoting and setting up commercial websites in Europe.

To start with the bad news: online payment is the the achilles heel of german online shopping.
Credit cards are not as widely used as in US/UK.
One of the reasons is the EC card, which enables people to draw money in may European countries, as well as pay with it in many shops.

A second problem is a recent decision which put the responsibility for risks of online payment per credit cards to the card companies.
This has caused those companies to change their policy to the consequence that now most small merchants are no longer able to offer credit card payment at all.
(not sure about the details, but I got that from online booksellers, who suddenly are standing in the rain)

So online payment in Germany can IMO only be one option. All major online merchants offer the additional possibility to let customers pay per invoice, or better yet, with automatic direct debit transfer system.
Online banking is huge in Germany. Set your cart system up so that users are invited to do the transfer immeadiately.
This however requires you to have an account in Germany to avoid the absurdely high bank fees for crossborder transfers.

Third option are mobile payment solutions.
Lots of money and hype has been invested in such systems. From what I can tell none has yet gained mass acceptance.

10:37 pm on June 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Ah, my favorite topic: Jigit, sticky mail me, I send you infos on different companys...

Here the first overview:

after a law change in germany at the beginning of the year, a lot of service providers stopped their payment services.

Right now you can get the basic package:
- creditcard
- ELV (electronic debit or Lastschrift)
- Mobile phone payments (Handy)

For something around 200-250 USD setup and a transaction fee of around 30 cents per transaction.

Companys that offer that (besides mine):
- Atos Origin / B+S Card service (they are one)
- EKS (European Karten Service)
- Lufthanse Air Plus
- Citibank (very restrictive)


You can have interfaces for any common shop system, but more important for the important programming language: PERL PHP, etc.

To get Verisign would be great, but only a few banks with international accounts (e.g. Citibank) can have that and Versign is very restrictive with germans so...


[edited by: heini at 11:08 pm (utc) on June 26, 2002]

10:46 pm on June 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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votes: 6

Additional info for the interessted webmasters:

When I integrated my first online payment (I have done around 30 integrations in the last 3 years) my head started to explode about the contract situation:

1.) the merchant needs 4 different partners and
only if he is lucky this is the same company:
- Acquirer: gives him the Merchant ID number
- Issuer: gives him the contract for creditcards
(these are Mastercard, VISA, AmEx, Diners)
- Service Provider: carries the info from the
shop site to the Gateway (which is run by the
- Bank: the bank has to accept the data carried
by the Acquirer

2.) In most of the situations the merchant is
unable to integrate the interface to the shop
system: another service contract :-/

3.) The costs compared to the US: almost 40% more

4.) QoS: the Quality of Service is horrible, if
you choose the wrong Reseller: they have
their own gateways in front of the other
gateways which connect to the bank gateways...

All after all, if it runs: great - but if you have less than 10 sales a day: just forget it!


8:00 am on July 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the information you have provided. I called couple of the companies mentioned and was glad that I got the information from you people that I wanted.


9:23 am on Aug 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

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joined:July 7, 2002
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pontifex : can u suggest some ways to accept payments here from india from our german customers - third party offering payment solutions may be?

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