How do business’ approach to payment method vary across Europe

Question

We operate in Spain, France and Ireland and have recently launched in Germany. We’ve experienced vastly different attitudes to payment methods – prepayment vs contracts / cash vs wire transfer / standard credit vs credit card vs Direct Debit.

We’ve had to "win" this experience – is anyone aware of any more empirical evidence. It’s increasingly important as we expand further

Answer

Can you clarify who your customers are – are they consumers, SME’s or larger businesses ?
And also clarify what your average payment size is ?

If non-consumer business, I would suggest opening a Euro account with a bank in a Euro zone country (maybe Ireland, due to language, but can be France, Germany, etc.). Under EU law, a bank cannot charge more for sending payment in Euro in the EU than it charges for local payment, so payment across the EU tends to be free or almost free.
Under EU law, Euro payment in the EU is also next day at the latest by law, so no delays.

This way, your customers can pay you straight to your bank account, without problem, delay or cost.

Have you also considered one of the ultra-low cost escrow services operating across Europe ?
They can guarantee that you get paid 100%, whilst guaranteeing your clients that they will get everything they were promised from you, or their money back – that gives you quite a marketing advantage.
And at only €3.49 per party per transaction, the cost is negligible (and this method enjoys the next-day Euro payment advantage).

Answer

Thanks for your prompt response Colin. Our service enables businesses to use SMS within their day to day business communications. The range of uses is very broad – from appointment reminders to engineer communications to customer communication and marketing

Whilst we don’t promote it as an SME-based service, our broad approach (16,000 customers worldwide) inevitably means that we have more SME customers than PLCs. Out payment and collections tools are reasonably sophisticated. We support ecommerce of course but we are also a pan-European DD originator (via SEPA).

So although we have the flexibility and breadth, I’m trying to find out how potential customers prefer or would choose to pay. The danger is we promote everything to everyone!

Answer

And you have had problems with pan-European DD origination (via SEPA) in which countries ?

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