It is safe to say that Europe is a mature region in regards to online payments. The Euro is used as the national currency in 19 out of 28 member states, and SEPA has become an established pan-European method for transferring funds.
Despite debit and credit cards retaining their position as the most popular, preferred payment method across the majority of European countries, the market continues diversifying in terms of local alternatives: ELV, Sofort, and Giropay in Germany; iDEAL in the Benelux region; and additional systems in other countries. Merchants hoping to expand their operations into additional markets must familiarise themselves with the extensive payment options preferred by local audiences.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is home to more than 282 million people, stretching across 7% of the Earth’s total landmass. The largest e-Commerce market share belongs to the largest member state, the Russian Federation, which has the largest population, most of whom have bank accounts and internet access. Historically a cash-based society, Russia has begun transitioning to online payments, with debit cards, online banking, e-Wallets, and m-Commerce as the most popular payment options within the region at present.
Online banking has seen the most meteoric rise in popularity. Local banks, such as Sberbank Online, VTB, Tinkoff Bank, and Alfa-Click dominate the market. e-Wallets like QIWI and Yandex.Money (a joint venture between Sberbank and search engine Yandex) retain their position as the most popular alternative payment methods.
The Middle East consists of countries with vastly different rates of internet and banking penetration. From above 90% in Bahrain, Qatar, and UAE to less than 40% in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, internet and banking penetration levels vary widely.
Altogether, this region contains 146 million internet users, most of whom prefer to pay cash-on-delivery. Some retailers might neglect to include this payment method in their portfolio of payment options due to the high return rate, but to settle efficiently in the region, cash-on-delivery must be offered.
Credit and debit cards, especially Visa and Mastercard, are the second most widespread payment option in the Middle East. Alternative payment methods also maintain a presence in the region. CashU, PayPal, and bank transfers occupy the largest market shares.