By Bruce Dragt, EVP of Product at YapStone
Alternative Payment Methods are used so frequently in the EU that it’s almost silly to call them “alternative.” In fact, APMs have become so mainstream in countries like Germany that Sofort alone reports over 4 million transactions per month, in a relatively small geographic location.
With the vacation rentals market growing steadily in the EU, the demand for Alternative Payment Methods only increases. This is because buyers and sellers often live in different countries and need to be able to perform cross-border transactions without a hitch.
If a buyer lives in Ireland and wants to rent a vacation home in Switzerland, he may feel a little apprehensive to pay online with his credit card. Though the geographic distance is short, the currency, culture, and rules are vastly different. So how does the buyer tell for sure that his sensitive payment details are secure?
This is precisely the reason why Europeans have embraced APMs so heartily.
According to a report on The State of Online Banking, European shoppers are reluctant to buy from a foreign website for fear of fraud, but over half of them would be more likely to shop from a foreign website if it didn’t force them to provide their payment card details to an international merchant they have never heard of. Allowing customers to pay with their bank, in their local currency, with multi-factor authentication, creates a layer of trust – which is exactly what APMs do.
PPRO’s recent report identified that only 7 percent of European businesses with an online presence actively sell cross-border. While this is a missed opportunity for any merchant selling products, it is even more devastating for vacation rental businesses.
Vacation Rentals in Europe
The multi-billion dollar vacation rentals industry requires cross-border selling, by its very nature. Those renting their homes to people going on holiday are most definitely going to benefit by transacting with foreign guests; doing so increases their potential customers by millions. If property owners in Europe limit their customers to those living in the same country, their investment will not likely create the desired return.
Marketing themselves to foreign guests, of course, requires individual property owners to list their homes on vacation rental marketplaces that accept alternative payment methods. By doing so, they borrow the security and reputation of the marketplace site by allowing their customers to use their trusted payment method, in their local currency.
YapStone processes billions of dollars in international transactions for the vacation industry and has found that bank transfers, in particular, are the most popular of all APMs. Some of the most prevalent are:
Klarna Pay Now
Also known as Sofort, this APM has gained significant traction in Germany and is finding its way into Austria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland. It is used by over 30,000 online merchants, with over 4 million transactions per month.
GiroPay is supported by all major German banks, accounting for 80 percent of all online banking consumers.
This APM accounts for 60 percent of all ecommerce transactions in the Netherlands, available to customers at 10 major Dutch Banks.
After the customer has paid, it is up to the payment technology of the marketplace to convert currencies and pay the homeowner.
Worldwide Adoption of APMs
European aren’t the only ones adopting APMs. Travelers from all over the world are flocking to European holiday locales because they can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with paying securely with APMs.
As customers become savvier about fraud risks, they will begin looking for vacation marketplaces with the highest payment security and fraud coverage; naturally, the leading-edge platforms will rise to the top.
Alternative Payment Methods will play a major role in the vacation rentals industry in the years to come, potentially eliminating millions of dollars in losses due to fraud. Europe is leading the movement for worldwide APM acquisition and may be to thank for making the internet a safer, more convenient way to transact.