SEPA: Direct Debit

Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Direct Debit is a common payment method in the European Union that allows you to receive online payments in your store from European customers using a single bank account. It’s wildly popular in Denmark, Germany, Norway, the UK, Poland, and in other countries that are members of the European Free Trade Association.

Adding the SEPA payment method to your store is one of the first things to consider when selling in Europe. Offering more payment methods is important because buyers tend to abandon checkout if they can’t find their preferred way to pay. Since many customers in the EU use SEPA to pay for their purchases, they may expect to see the SEPA payment option in your store.

To add the SEPA payment option to your store checkout, you can set up SEPA via the Stripe payment gateway. For businesses located in Germany there’s also a way to add SEPA with the help of PayPal Plus.

SEPA works with Euro currency only. You can change your store currency from the store admin, in Settings → General → Regional Settings → Currency.

Setting up SEPA via Stripe

Stripe is a fast and trustworthy payment gateway that allows you to receive a variety of payment methods from all over the world including credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, and dozens of other options your customers prefer.

To start accepting payments with SEPA via Stripe in your store:

  1. From your store admin, go to Payment.
  2. Scroll down and Choose Payment Method → SEPA Direct Debit (via Stripe).
  3. Click Connect SEPA. You’ll be redirected to a page where you can log into your existing Stripe account or create a new one.
  4. Once logged in your Stripe account, it will automatically connect with store. Make sure SEPA is activated in your Stripe account.
  5. After connecting SEPA via Stripe, you will be redirected to your store. In the Payment method name at checkout field you can enter the name under which customers see this payment method at checkout or leave it as SEPA.
  6. Make sure that the Enable this payment method at checkout setting is turned on to display SEPA at checkout.
  7. In the Payment instructions for customers field you can add a description of the SEPA payment method for your customers, it will appear at the checkout.

Once everything is set up, you can accept payments with SEPA in your store.

Setting up SEPA with PayPal Plus (for Germany)

If you are located in Germany you can add SEPA with PayPal Plus, popular and secure payment processing solution. It may be convenient to use this method if you already have a PayPal account.

The SEPA payment method provided with PayPal Plus offers your customers an easy and reliable option to pay at your store checkout. It’s not necessary for your customers to have a PayPal account to pay with this method.

Accepting SEPA payments

Depending on the setup your customers may experience the process of paying with SEPA differently.

If you set up SEPA via Stripe, your customers will be asked at the checkout to provide their IBAN and billing address and click Pay. After the order is placed, it gets the Awaiting Payment status. Usually, SEPA transfers take 1-2 business days. In most cases, the money will be transferred the next business day. As soon as a bank transfers the money to your account, the status of an order in your store admin will update automatically to Paid.

If you set up SEPA with the SEPA app, customers will have the following workflow. When a buyer chooses SEPA as a method of payment at checkout and enters their bank account details, a direct debit mandate is auto-generated for their order. A mandate is a proof of buyer’s consent to charging their bank account, it contains terms and conditions and the account data entered by the buyer (sensitive data is masked). The buyer can check the mandate text and place a checkmark to agree to a direct debit, after that they can proceed with order placement. When the order is placed, it has the Awaiting Payment status. You can check the status in your store admin → My Sales → Orders. After receiving the payment, you can manually set the Paid status to the order.

If you set up SEPA via PayPal Plus (it’s available for German stores only), your customers will be asked at checkout to fill in their billing address and click on the Zur Kasse (Pay) button. They will be redirected to the PayPal website to proceed with payment. After the order is placed, its status in your store admin is automatically updated to Paid.

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