European Merchants’ Most Pressing Payments Challenges

What's Next In Payments®
4:47 PM EDT August 21st, 2013

By Chanel Smith EMEA Editor (@PYMNTS_EMEA)

Operating as a merchant in Europe is no easy feat, as it is a disparate region with several providers, standards and regulations. A report by VocaLink indicated some merchants have to deal with up to 30 different companies across Europe. The fragmented region makes it difficult for pan-European merchants to operate, as VocaLink outlined in a recent study exploring the top challenges that European merchants face today.

Participants revealed that the number one issue in Europe is cost. If a merchant operates in more than one European country, then the cost of payment systems is higher. The respondents who operate in only a few countries said that cost was not a burden.

The research indicates that there are drastic differences in card processing fees across the EU region, which means organizations can pay up to 33 times more in one country than another. 

The study reported that the second biggest issue was a lack of standardization, specifically in technology. Most companies that do business across Europe say that it is difficult to integrate payment solutions from different countries.

“We have different terminals and different technology in each country coupled with local banking regulations and having different languages does cause us lots of problems,” a representative at VocaLink reported.

Conversely, other pan-European merchants indicated that having a lack of standardization in payments was not an issue. Some organizations prefer to have autonomy and independence when it comes to making payment decisions, and do not seek change. The study also showed that other organizations believe it would be too hard to introduce a uniform payments standard across all European countries.

“Banks in different countries have different rules and it is sometimes easier to let the countries operate independently,” the study said. 

The report shows that other challenges in Europe include a lack of transparency over whom to contact for payment problems, PCI complications, speed of services in a new country and companies having to consult multiple providers in multiple countries.

To read the full report at VocaLink click here.

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