The German payments landscape – A detailed analysis

According to the latest Digital & Card Payment Yearbooks, the German payments landscape has evolved significantly, driven by regulatory reforms, technological advancements, and changing consumer behaviours.

The adoption of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and the rise of digital banking have been instrumental in shaping the current ecosystem.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the key trends and statistics that define the payments sector in Germany in 2024.

Digital Transformation and Consumer Behaviour

Germany has witnessed a substantial shift towards digital payments, propelled by the increasing use of mobile devices and the internet.

By the end of 2022, there were 83.8 million people with an average of 2.01 payment cards per capita, indicating a broad adoption of digital payment methods.

Consumers are now more inclined towards using digital banking apps that offer seamless access to multiple accounts and the convenience of making payments directly from their preferred bank accounts.

This shift is driven by the need for secure, cost-effective, and user-friendly payment solutions.

Competing Payment Ecosystems

The German payment market features two primary ecosystems: the card payment ecosystem and the cardless Open Banking payment ecosystem.

The former includes traditional card payments facilitated by major issuers and acquirers, while the latter leverages Open Banking regulations under PSD2, enabling direct account-to-account (A2A) payments.

By 2022, there were 125.05 million debit cards and 29.41 million delayed debit cards in circulation. This regulatory environment has fostered innovation, particularly among FinTech firms, enhancing consumer choice and convenience.

Legal Framework and Regulations

The legal framework for payment services in Germany is heavily influenced by European Union directives and regulations, including PSD2, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the E-Money Directive (EMD).

These regulations ensure the security and efficiency of digital payments while safeguarding consumer data.

PSD2, in particular, has been pivotal in promoting Open Banking, mandating secure access to payment accounts, and fostering a competitive landscape for payment service providers.

Market Dynamics and Key Players

Germany’s payment market is characterized by a decentralized infrastructure with over 30 major card issuers, 17 active acquirers, and several prominent payment service providers (PSPs).

Key players such as Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and UniCredit dominate the market alongside digital challengers like N26 and Revolut. The competition has driven significant innovation, particularly in contactless payments and mobile banking solutions.

By the end of 2022, 78.98% of all girocard transactions were contactless, highlighting the rapid adoption of this technology.

Emerging Trends and Technologies

Several emerging trends are shaping the future of payments in Germany. The adoption of contactless payments has surged, with a total of 10.29 billion card transactions valued at €492.13 billion in 2022.

Digital A2A payments have also gained momentum, facilitated by services like giropay and the increasing use of QR codes and biometric authentication for secure transactions.

In 2022, digital A2A payments included 6.45 billion credit transfers valued at €57.99 trillion and 10.14 billion direct debits valued at €4.03 trillion.


Germany’s payments landscape is at the forefront of digital innovation, driven by robust regulatory frameworks, technological advancements, and evolving consumer preferences.

As digital and mobile payment solutions continue to develop, Germany is poised to maintain its leadership in the global payments industry, offering a secure, efficient, and convenient ecosystem for both consumers and businesses.

With 1.24 million active girocard terminals and 1.56 billion ATM withdrawals valued at €381.33 billion in 2022, the infrastructure supports a thriving and dynamic payment environment.

Germany’s ability to adapt to new technologies and regulatory changes ensures its payment landscape remains competitive and innovative, setting a benchmark for other countries in the digital payments domain.

Key Statistics

Population: 83.8 million, with 2.01 payment cards per capita.
Total Payment Cards: 168.57 million, including 125.05 million debit cards and 29.41 million delayed debit cards.
Card Payments: 10.29 billion transactions with a total value of €492.13 billion.
POS Terminals: 1.24 million active girocard terminals.
ATM Withdrawals: 1.56 billion transactions with a total value of €381.33 billion.
Digital A2A Payments: 6.45 billion credit transfers valued at €57.99 trillion and 10.14 billion direct debits valued at €4.03 trillion.


The Digital & Card Payment Yearbooks provide the latest data on the European and Eurasian digital payment and card payment markets at granular country and regional level.

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