German banks pull the plug on Paydirekt/Giropay

Reports coming out of Germany suggest that the German banks have lost patience with Giropay and its holding company Paydirekt GmbH.

If the shareholders of Giropay are currently voting on the future of the payment system, the end is likely to be near. This is suggested by the fact that Giropay has recently continued to lose popularity.

In addition, a European alternative, the EPI, is in the starting blocks and could be the focus of the banks – although the success of this initiative is still very much in the balance despite a recent spending spree.


With high expectations, banks and savings banks launched a joint online payment method in 2015. It never became a competitor to PayPal as was the plan, now it is threatened with extinction.

The main issue is the lack of acceptance of the online payment method Giropay. As the table below demonstrates, despite being launched back in 2015 it has failed to gain any real traction and languishes in 8th position in the German online payments mix with a heady market share of 1.6% after nearly 10 years.

The shutdown of Giropay/Paydirekt at the end of the current year could be decided as early as today (12/16/2024) at a shareholders’ meeting, according to informed sources.

A Paydirekt spokeswoman said: “There are currently votes at shareholder level on the future of Giropay and Paydirekt GmbH as the operating company. We will inform you as soon as final decisions have been made.”

The shareholders of Paydirekt GmbH are Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank for the cooperative financial group and GIZS GmbH & Co. KG for the Sparkasse financial group.

High expectations in 2015

The German banking industry launched Paydirekt in autumn 2015, more than three and a half years after initial preparatory work, in order to offer a domestic payment service to counter the US giant PayPal and the credit card companies Visa and Mastercard in the booming online trade.

Consumers should be given the opportunity to pay for purchases on the internet quickly and easily by connecting to their checking account. The German banking industry advertised that payment data in this case would remain with the main bank and on servers in Germany.

In spring 2021, the German banking industry merged its online payment methods Paydirekt, Giropay and Kwitt under the Giropay brand.

However, the response from consumers and retailers alike remained muted, even though it was only announced in April 2024 that the petrol station operator Esso had been acquired as another retailer where payments can be made using Giropay via a smartphone app.

Meanwhile, PayPal expanded its market position in Germany over the years and currently claims to have 35 million active customer accounts in the country with 29.6% penetration.


The willingness to invest further money in Paydirekt/Giropay was reportedly low in view of the poor track record.

In addition, the EPI (European Payments Initiative) payment system is currently being pushed forward at the European level – also with German support.

This makes it seem “as if the local credit industry had given up its German solution in favour of the future European solution,” writes the industry newsletter “Finanz-Szene”.

“It is true that many market participants doubt whether it would have made sense to maintain Paydirekt alongside EPI. It is also true, however, that Paydirekt, founded in 2015, never really established itself on the market, even independently of EPI.”


Germany Market Report can be found HERE


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