EPS: An in-depth guide


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  1. Introduction
  2. Where is EPS used?
    1. Austria
    2. Expanding its footprint beyond Austria
    3. Regulatory landscape
  3. Who uses EPS?
    1. Customers
    2. Businesses
    3. Specific use cases
    4. Factors that influence the usage of EPS
  4. How EPS works
    1. Beyond functionality
    2. How EPS works for customers
  5. Business benefits of accepting EPS
    1. Direct bank transfers
    2. Local market appeal
    3. Enhanced customer data security
    4. Competitive differentiation
    5. Tapping into the Austrian market
    6. Smooth cross-border transactions
    7. Building trust and confidence
    8. Data-driven insights for informed decisions
    9. Embracing innovation
  6. EPS security measures
    1. Authentication mechanisms
    2. Data protection and encryption
    3. Fraud detection and prevention
    4. Continuous security audits and vulnerability management
  7. Requirements for businesses to start accepting EPS payments
    1. Requirements for foreign businesses
    2. Requirements for Austrian businesses
    3. Accepting EPS payments with Stripe
  8. Alternatives to EPS
    1. Giropay
    2. Sofortüberweisung
    3. PayPal
    4. Digital wallets
    5. Credit and debit cards
    6. Cash on delivery

The Electronic Payment Standard (EPS) is a digital transfer payment method primarily used in Austria. Established in 2001 as a joint initiative by the Austrian government and Austrian banks, EPS facilitates secure and efficient online transactions. EPS lets customers make payments or transfer funds from their bank accounts using their bank's online banking interface, which uses the bank's security protocols.

The system is straightforward and user friendly. When a customer selects EPS as their payment method at checkout, they are redirected to their bank's online banking page. Then they can authorise the payment, which is processed in real time – providing the customer and business with instant payment confirmation.

EPS's integration with Austria's banks means it has widespread acceptance among Austrians, making it a preferred method for online shopping. About 100 million people use the service to make online payments every year, with more using EPS as their payment method in stores. EPS's high adoption rate makes it a strong choice for businesses that want to cater to the Austrian market.

For businesses considering integrating EPS with their payment options, there are several aspects to consider. These include understanding the setup process, transaction fees and technical requirements. The integration process typically involves coordinating with a payment service provider that supports EPS transactions, which ensures that the payment gateway on the business's website can handle EPS payments.

Additionally, EPS has started expanding its services to support cross-border transactions, allowing Austrian customers to use EPS for payments in selected foreign online stores. This expansion is part of a broader trend in which local payment methods are increasingly supporting international transactions, reflecting the global nature of e-commerce.

Below, we'll cover what you need to know about EPS, including how it works, the technical integration process and key considerations for businesses that want to implement EPS as part of their payment solutions.

What's in this article?

  • Where is EPS used?
  • Who uses EPS?
  • How EPS works
  • Business benefits of accepting EPS
  • EPS security measures
  • Requirements for businesses to start accepting EPS payments
  • Alternatives to EPS

Where is EPS used?

EPS is a major player in Austria, where 80% of the country's online businesses accept the payment method. However, its reach extends beyond Austria, too, with growing adoption in other European countries. Here's a more detailed look at the geographical landscape of EPS usage and its reflection of broader market trends:


In Austria, EPS is deeply embedded in the online payment system. Its simple integration with Austrian bank accounts, coupled with its robust security and convenience, has won over Austrians. This widespread adoption is further fuelled by:

  • Customers' strong preference for debit: Austrians traditionally favour debit cards over credit cards, making EPS a natural choice for online transactions.

  • High internet banking penetration: Online banking is common in Austria, which creates a readily available platform for EPS access.

  • Business support: Major Austrian online retailers and platforms are fully integrated with EPS for a smooth checkout experience.

This dominance of EPS in Austria reflects a market in which customers increasingly prefer online payments while prioritising security and convenience. Additionally, the established infrastructure of online banking and a predisposition for debit usage create fertile ground for EPS's success.

Expanding its footprint beyond Austria

Although Austria remains its core market, EPS is steadily gaining traction in other European countries. Several factors are contributing to this expansion:

  • Similar customer preferences: Growing comfort with online payments and a preference for debit cards are evident in other European markets, making EPS a viable option.

  • Cross-border e-commerce: The rise of online shopping across borders creates opportunities for EPS to expand its reach.

  • Business partnerships: Leading international payment gateways and e-commerce platforms are integrating EPS, facilitating its acceptance beyond its home country.

This growth reflects a broader European trend towards digitalisation and the increasing popularity of online payments. Customers are becoming more comfortable with online transactions, and businesses are recognising the need to cater to these evolving preferences.

Regulatory landscape

The regulatory environment in Europe plays an important role in shaping the online payment landscape. Initiatives such as the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) aim to increase transparency and competition in the payment industry, benefiting solutions such as EPS.

PSD2's focus on open banking and strong authentication protocols aligns with the core principles of EPS, further supporting its growth and encouraging the development of innovative payment solutions.

Who uses EPS?

While EPS boasts widespread use in Austria, its appeal extends to specific customer segments and business types.


  • Young adults: This tech-savvy demographic embraces online shopping and prefers convenient, secure payment options. EPS fits this group's needs perfectly, offering instant transactions and eliminating the need for physical credit cards.

  • Security-conscious customers: For those who prioritise security and privacy online, EPS provides peace of mind. The system's integration with trusted bank accounts and robust authentication protocols offer a secure payment experience.

  • Online shoppers: Whether buying clothes, electronics or food, online shoppers value a simple checkout process. EPS's integration with major online retailers simplifies the payment process, improving the overall shopping experience.

  • Debit card users: In countries where customers prefer debit cards over credit cards, EPS is a natural choice for online transactions. Its direct connection to bank accounts works well for customers who do not want to buy using credit.


  • Online retailers: From established brands to small businesses, online retailers rely on efficient and secure payment solutions. EPS provides a cost-effective way to accept payments, having lower transaction fees compared with credit cards.

  • Subscription-based businesses: Services such as streaming platforms and recurring subscriptions benefit from EPS's ability to automate payments from bank accounts. This allows for consistent revenue flow and reduces failed payments.

  • E-commerce platforms: Platforms such as online marketplaces must cater to diverse customer preferences for payment methods. EPS adds a secure and user-friendly option for customers.

  • Businesses with international customers: As online shopping increasingly transcends borders, businesses should consider accepting payments via international payment methods. With its growing presence in Europe, EPS allows businesses to cater to customers from a broader geographical area.

Specific use cases

  • Micropayments: For online services with smaller transaction values, EPS offers a cost-effective solution because of its lower transaction fees compared with credit cards.

  • Bill payments: EPS facilitates online bill payment by allowing customers to pay bills directly from their accounts without the need for paper cheques.

  • In-app purchases: Mobile apps are increasingly adopting EPS as a payment method for in-app purchases. The convenience and security of instant bank account connections make it a user-friendly option for app users.

  • Online donations: EPS provides a convenient and secure way for donors to make online contributions to charities and non-profit organisations – potentially boosting donations.

Factors that influence the usage of EPS

  • Demographic trends: A growing tech-savvy population and increase in online shopping habits favour the adoption of convenient online payment solutions, such as EPS.

  • Regulatory environment: Initiatives such as PSD2 promote open banking and secure online payments, creating a favourable environment for EPS to thrive.

  • Customer preferences: A shift towards debit card usage and a growing emphasis on security and privacy contribute to the popularity of EPS among customers.

  • Business needs: Businesses are constantly seeking cost-effective and efficient ways to accept payments online. EPS caters to these needs with its low transaction fees and secure payment infrastructure.

How EPS works

EPS's diverse functionalities, which include integrated cross-border transactions, secure escrow services and data-driven insights, allow businesses to enhance their online operations and expand their reach to international customers. Here's how it works:

  • Easy payment processing: Businesses can accept payments instantly through QR codes or online integration to minimise friction at checkout and improve conversion rates. By processing transactions in a range of currencies, businesses can serve international customers better and expand their market reach.

  • Cross-border commerce: Businesses can receive payments from overseas customers without currency exchange concerns because of automatic currency conversion. This allows businesses to simplify cross-border transactions and tap into new international markets.

  • Enhanced trust with escrow: Through EPS, businesses can offer escrow services to hold payments in a secure escrow account until the customer has confirmed receipt and satisfaction with the goods or services. This builds trust and confidence with customers, which can lead to higher sales and foster customer loyalty.

  • Streamlined integration: Businesses can integrate EPS effortlessly with popular e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WooCommerce, for a smooth checkout experience.

  • Engaging mini-programmes: Businesses can develop customised mini-programmes within the EPS app, creating a dedicated space to offer services, sell products and engage with customers. Interactive content and personalised experiences help foster brand awareness, drive customer engagement and increase sales.

  • Data-driven insights: Businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences through comprehensive analytics tools powered by EPS. Data-driven insights allow businesses to make informed decisions about product offerings, marketing strategies and business expansion.

  • Tailored financial solutions: Businesses can access a range of financial services such as loans and insurance through EPS partnerships, which are designed to meet specific business needs and financial goals. Convenient solutions integrated within the EPS system can help businesses secure financing and manage finances effectively.

  • Convenience of mobile wallets: Businesses can offer contactless payments through the EPS digital wallet in physical stores, providing customers with a fast and convenient checkout experience. This reduces waiting times, boosts customer satisfaction and improves operational efficiency.

  • Secure and transparent transactions: Businesses can guarantee safe and reliable transactions with robust security measures, including multilayered authentication protocols and advanced encryption technology. Businesses and customers receive clear confirmation of all transaction details for improved transparency and control.

Beyond functionality

Although these functions are central to EPS's business-oriented features, the platform is constantly evolving and investing in improvements, focusing on areas such as:

  • Enhancing cross-border e-commerce capabilities to facilitate smooth international trade and transactions and expand market opportunities for businesses

  • Expanding financial integrations to offer a more comprehensive suite of financial services for businesses and cater to diverse needs

  • Developing advanced analytics tools to provide deeper insights and AI-driven solutions for effective customer engagement and business optimisation

How EPS works for customers

  • Choosing EPS at checkout: When shopping online, Austrian customers select EPS as their payment method on the checkout page of a business's website.

  • Customers select their bank: Customers are then redirected to a page where they choose their bank from a list of Austrian banks.

  • Secure login to online banking: Customers log in to their online banking portal using their standard credentials. This step ensures that the payment process is secure.

  • Transaction review and authorisation: Once logged in, customers review the payment details pre-filled by the business (including the amount and recipient). They authorise the payment, often with an additional secure step, such as a transaction authentication number (TAN).

  • Confirmation and redirect: After authorising the payment, customers are redirected to the business's website, where they receive confirmation that the transaction was successful.

Business benefits of accepting EPS

Direct bank transfers

  • Guaranteed payments: Unlike credit cards, EPS transactions are direct bank transfers. Once completed, the payment is guaranteed, significantly reducing the risk of chargebacks.

  • Familiarity for customers: Austrians are familiar with bank transfers as a traditional payment method. EPS taps into this familiarity, which makes it a preferred choice for many.

Local market appeal

  • Tailored for Austrian market: EPS is specifically designed for the Austrian market.

  • Linguistic and cultural alignment: The system is in German and culturally aligned with Austrian customer habits.

Enhanced customer data security

  • No handling of sensitive data: Because the payment process is managed through the customer's bank, businesses don't handle sensitive financial data, which reduces the burden of complying with stringent data security regulations.

Competitive differentiation

  • Niche market advantage: By offering EPS, businesses can differentiate themselves, especially in niche markets where customers strongly prefer local payment solutions.

  • Enhanced business-to-business (B2B) transactions: For businesses that work with other Austrian businesses, EPS can streamline the payment process by aligning with the country's common financial practices.

Tapping into the Austrian market

  • Unmatched reach: With 80% of online shoppers in Austria using EPS, integrating this payment method grants businesses access to a large, loyal customer base.

  • Enhanced brand reputation: Demonstrating a commitment to local preferences by offering EPS can build trust and strengthen a brand's reputation in the Austrian market.

Smooth cross-border transactions

  • Effortless international expansion: Accepting EPS simplifies cross-border transactions through instant currency conversion and secure payment transfers, allowing businesses to expand their reach and serve international customers easily.

  • Reduced operational costs: By eliminating complex cross-border payment processing procedures, EPS saves businesses time and resources, allowing them to focus on core business activities.

Building trust and confidence

  • Multilayered security: EPS employs advanced security measures, including encryption and real-time monitoring, to protect businesses against fraud and unauthorised transactions, guaranteeing a safe and reliable payment experience.

Data-driven insights for informed decisions

  • Comprehensive customer analytics: EPS provides valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions about product offerings, marketing strategies and operational adjustments.

  • Tailored marketing campaigns: Businesses can use customer data to create targeted marketing campaigns that resonate, boosting engagement and conversion rates.

Embracing innovation

  • Future-proof technology: EPS invests in innovation and develops features that adapt to the evolving world of online payments, ensuring that businesses can remain at the forefront of the industry.

  • Open banking: EPS's commitment to open banking enables deeper integration with financial services, providing businesses with access to a wider range of solutions and functionalities.

EPS security measures

Authentication mechanisms

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): EPS employs a robust MFA system that requires at least two independent factors for user verification. This typically involves a combination of password, personal identification number (PIN), TAN and/or biometric authentication (fingerprint or facial recognition).

  • Strong password requirements: EPS enforces stringent password criteria, including a minimum length, character complexity and regular password updates. This significantly reduces the risk of brute-force attacks and dictionary cracking.

  • One-time passwords (OTPs): For added security, EPS offers optional OTPs sent via SMS or mobile app notifications. These temporary codes expire after a short time to minimise the risk of unauthorised access.

  • Biometric authentication: For some transactions, EPS integrates with mobile banking apps that use fingerprint or facial recognition for secure and convenient user verification.

Data protection and encryption

  • End-to-end data encryption: All sensitive data, including user information and transaction details, is encrypted in transit and at rest using industry-standard encryption algorithms, such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256. Even if data is intercepted, it remains unreadable without the decryption key.

  • Tokenisation: EPS also uses tokenisation technology to replace sensitive card numbers with unique tokens during online transactions. This minimises the risk of data breaches and protects sensitive information.

  • Secure communication protocols: All communications between customers, businesses and banks are encrypted using secure protocols, such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). This protects data from eavesdropping and tampering during transmission.

Fraud detection and prevention

  • Advanced monitoring systems: EPS employs sophisticated real-time monitoring systems that analyse transaction patterns and identify anomalies. These systems use machine learning and data analytics to detect suspicious activity and prevent fraudulent transactions.

  • Risk scoring: EPS assigns risk scores to each transaction based on various factors, including transaction value, user location and historical data. This allows the service to prioritise higher-risk transactions for further verification.

  • Transaction limits: The system sets limits on the number of transactions a user can perform within a specific time frame. This helps prevent automated attacks and curb suspicious activity.

  • Chargeback protection: After a fraudulent transaction, EPS offers comprehensive chargeback protection to help businesses recover their funds.

  • Secure banking integration: EPS works with Austrian banks to ensure that all transactions are processed through their secure online banking portals. These portals employ strong security measures, including MFA and data encryption, further protecting user information.

  • Direct bank account access: By enabling direct access to bank accounts through open banking application programming interfaces (APIs), EPS eliminates the need for users to store sensitive card information within the EPS platform. This reduces the potential for data breaches.

Continuous security audits and vulnerability management

  • Regular penetration testing: EPS undergoes regular penetration testing by independent security experts to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. This proactive approach helps to prevent security breaches and maintain high levels of security.

  • Security incident response plan: The payment method has comprehensive security incident response plans to deal with security incidents effectively, minimise damage and restore normal operations quickly.

  • Bug bounty programmes: EPS actively participates in bug bounty programmes to incentivise security researchers to identify and report vulnerabilities in their systems. This helps to address potential security flaws before malicious actors can exploit them.

Requirements for businesses to start accepting EPS payments

Here's a rundown of the requirements and process to begin accepting EPS payments:

Requirements for foreign businesses

  • Legal documentation: You must provide documentation proving your business's legal existence and good standing in your country.

  • European subsidiary or representative: Consider setting up a subsidiary or appointing a representative within the European Economic Area (EEA) to facilitate EPS integration and comply with regulations.

  • Tax and regulatory compliance: Understand and comply with the tax regulations and financial reporting requirements that apply to foreign businesses operating in Austria.

  • PSD2 compliance: Adhere to PSD2 regulations for strong customer authentication and secure online payments.

  • Additional regulatory compliance: Implement Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes to remain in compliance with local and European protocols.

  • Data protection and privacy: Comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for data protection and user privacy.

Requirements for Austrian businesses

  • Valid Austrian business registration: Your business must be legally registered and operating in Austria.

  • Tax identification number: Obtain and maintain a valid Austrian tax identification number.

  • Merchant account: Open a merchant account with an Austrian bank that partners with EPS. This facilitates the transfer of funds in EPS transactions.

  • Merchant agreement: Sign a merchant agreement with EPS outlining your obligations and responsibilities as a payment processor.

  • PCI DSS and GDPR compliance: Ensure that your website and systems comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and GDPR rules.

Accepting EPS payments with Stripe

Integrating EPS through Stripe involves these steps:

  • Stripe account: Create a Stripe account and complete KYC verification.

  • Stripe Connect: Enable Stripe Connect to integrate EPS and other payment methods into your online platform.

  • Technical integration: Configure Stripe to accept EPS payments and ensure secure data exchange. This may involve integrating the EPS API or using Stripe's pre-built components, such as Checkout and Elements.

  • Testing and activation: Test your EPS integration thoroughly to make sure the transaction process works smoothly before launching it live.

  • Currency conversion: Check that your Stripe account supports the euro (EUR) for processing EPS payments.

  • Ongoing compliance and security: Maintain PCI DSS and GDPR compliance, implement strong security practices and stay up to date with shifting regulations.

Alternatives to EPS

Although EPS enjoys a dominant role in Austria, it faces competition from several alternative payment methods, including:


  • Functionality: Similar to EPS, this service offers online bank transfers from a customer's account.

  • Market share: Widely used in Germany and gaining traction in Austria, although still trailing EPS in that country.

  • Strengths: Secure, convenient and familiar to German and Austrian customers.

  • Weaknesses: Less prevalent than EPS in Austria, potentially limiting reach for some businesses.


  • Functionality: Another online bank transfer solution with similar functionality to EPS.

  • Market share: Popular in Germany and Austria but used less widely than EPS.

  • Strengths: Fast and convenient.

  • Weaknesses: Not as widely accepted as EPS, potentially affecting conversion rates.


  • Functionality: A global online payment solution with numerous features, including customer and seller protection, PayPal boasts widespread use and brand recognition.

  • Market share: Recognised internationally with a significant user base in Austria.

  • Strengths: Convenient for international transactions and offers customer protection.

  • Weaknesses: Higher transaction fees compared with EPS, potentially discouraging some smaller businesses.

Digital wallets

  • Functionality: Offer contactless payments and peer-to-peer transfers, similar to EPS digital wallets.

  • Market share: Rising in popularity, especially among younger generations.

  • Strengths: Convenient and secure, offering a modern payment experience.

  • Weaknesses: Still evolving and fragmented, with various players competing for market share.

Credit and debit cards

  • Functionality: Widely accepted, offering a nearly ubiquitous payment method for customers.

  • Market share: Still prevalent in Austria although facing competition from online payment options.

  • Strengths: Convenient and familiar, offering a readily available payment method.

  • Weaknesses: Higher transaction fees compared with EPS, potentially affecting profit margins.

Cash on delivery

  • Functionality: Offers payment upon delivery of goods.

  • Market share: Still used for certain segments, especially physical goods.

  • Strengths: Provides peace of mind for customers who prefer not to pay online.

  • Weaknesses: Can be inconvenient and logistically challenging for businesses.

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