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The Credit Card in Germany

It is good news that credit cards are the most popular payment method in German e-commerce for the first time. It’s also interesting that 2010 has seen a significant growth in the number of credit cards being issued in Germany with organisations such as Deutcshe Bahn and others starting to co-brand credit cards again. For example, LandesBank Baden Wüttenberg has issued a card with the football team VfB Stuttgart, which can be used at the stadium. In addition, Postbank, Targobank and Santander Consumer Bank in Germany have also grown significantly having pushed their credit card offerings and upped their sales activities.

Overall, what we can draw from this is that the German banks are starting to see credit cards as a valuable revenue stream and consumers are becoming better educated about the benefits, allowing them to choose the best card according to their needs. In addition, security is now of paramount importance in the market with all credit cards containing a chip. This has increased consumer confidence at a time when people are becoming more wary of debit cards owing to skimming fraud.

Perhaps another reason for the rise in credit cards in Germany is because banks have to make major investments to move the debit card infrastructure to one that conforms with SEPA. These costs are not easily recoverable so new revenue streams are required – and credit cards are fulfilling that need. Credit cards have been always the "Cinderella" in the card market in Germany – never getting the recognition they deserve and sitting in obscurity. Perhaps now that the glass slipper seems to fit, credit cards will step into the limelight for good.