Payments in the Netherlands: An in-depth guide

Payments
Payments

Accept payments online, in person, and around the world with a payments solution built for any business – from scaling startups to global enterprises.

Learn more 
  1. Introduction
  2. The state of the market
  3. Payment methods
    1. Current usage
    2. Popular B2C payment methods in the Netherlands
    3. Popular B2B payment methods in the Netherlands
    4. Emerging trends
  4. Ease and friction of entry
    1. Taxes
    2. Chargebacks and disputes
    3. International payments
    4. Security and privacy
  5. Key success factors
  6. Key takeaways
    1. Focus on mobile
    2. Cultivate the customer experience
    3. Prioritise payment security

The Netherlands is the seventh-largest e-commerce market in Europe, and online shopping comprises over 3% of the country’s GDP. Any business considering whether to accept payments in the Netherlands must understand which payment methods customers prefer, what payment security concerns are most prevalent, and what regulations govern how businesses handle customer payments.

Below, we’ll explain how to succeed in the Dutch payment landscape. Important components include:

  • Focusing on mobile
  • Cultivating the customer experience
  • Prioritising payment security

The state of the market

The Netherlands is a key player in the European payment ecosystem. Although traditional cash payments are still common, customers have quickly embraced innovative payment solutions, and a majority of point-of-sale (POS) transactions are contactless. In particular, online and mobile payment methods are popular with consumers.

The Netherlands is a member of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) region, which simplifies transfers across the eurozone, and the country follows EU guidelines including the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) oversees monetary stability and financial supervision within the country. The Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) supervises financial markets and ensures fair, transparent operations.

Payment methods

The Dutch payment market includes a wide range of payment methods, from international credit cards to local mobile payment apps.

Current usage

The country’s financial sector is technologically advanced, which is reflected in the declining use of cash. According to a 2023 DNB report, while 81% of people in the Netherlands carry cash, 59% of people expect that in five years they will pay with cash less often or not at all. Contactless payment adoption has steadily increased in the Netherlands: in 2022, card payments represented 67% of all point-of-sale transactions, and the share of contactless payments with debit and credit cards increased to 91% in 2023.

Customers in the Netherlands have embraced digital payment methods, with iDEAL – a bank-based online payment method – leading the way. iDEAL had about 70% of the Dutch online transaction market share as of 2022, indicating its overwhelming popularity. Mobile payments are also increasingly common in the Netherlands. Contactless payments made with a smartphone or wearable device accounted for 21% of in-person payments in 2022.

  • Credit cards
  • Direct debits (e.g. SEPA)
  • Bank transfers
  • BNPL

Customers in the Netherlands have a budding interest in cryptocurrency. About 14% of Dutch adults owned cryptocurrency in 2022, and Dutch cryptocurrency owners were five times more likely to be younger than 35 as of 2021. There are also several homegrown crypto startups, such as Bitonic, which was established in 2012 and is one of the earliest European Bitcoin brokers. However, adoption is still in its early stages, and many customers in the Netherlands approach digital assets with caution.

Ease and friction of entry

For businesses, expanding into the Netherlands comes with unique considerations concerning value-added tax (VAT), chargebacks, cross-border payments, and payment security and privacy. Here’s an overview.

Taxes

The Netherlands imposes a VAT on most goods and services at a standard rate of 21% and reduced rates of 9% or 0% for certain goods – including food, medicine, and books at 9%. VAT is included in the price of products and services, and businesses are responsible for collecting the tax and passing it on to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Non-compliance or late payments can result in penalties.

Chargebacks and disputes

Similar to other European markets, the Dutch payment environment is protective of consumers. When a customer disputes a payment, the business is responsible for proving the transaction was legitimate. The Netherlands falls under the jurisdiction of European regulations that influence chargebacks, such as PSD2. This directive emphasises Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for payments, with the goal of reducing fraud and strengthening security.

Customers in the Netherlands have the right to a 14-day cancellation period or cooling-off period for online purchases, during which they can cancel or return their order. Businesses are required to inform customers about all aspects of this cancellation period.

International payments

For businesses that will serve international customers in the Netherlands, accommodating cross-border transactions and multiple currencies can eliminate barriers for customers at checkout.

  • Currency conversion
    Businesses in the Netherlands can often access currency conversion through their point-of-sale tools. Conversion rates are determined at the moment of sale, with fees typically between 1% and 3%. Depending on a business’s policies, these fees can be the responsibility of either the consumer or the seller. Dutch businesses often use third-party platforms such as Stripe to simplify cross-border transactions and currency conversion.

  • SEPA transactions
    As a member of the EU, the Netherlands is deeply integrated with SEPA. This integration standardises euro-denominated bank transfers, making cross-border transactions within the eurozone more efficient.

  • Payment methods from other countries
    By accepting popular payment methods from other countries – such as China’s Alipay and WeChat Pay – businesses can reduce payment barriers for international tourists.

Security and privacy

The Dutch payment ecosystem balances security and ease of use, with a combination of robust regulations and innovative practices. By staying ahead of technological advancements and integrating EU directives, the Netherlands enables secure, efficient, and transparent financial transactions.

  • Data protection laws
    Data protection is central to the Dutch regulatory environment. The Netherlands adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which ensures that businesses handle personal data with care. Dutch companies are required to obtain explicit consent before collecting user data and must provide users with the option to erase their data upon request.

  • Payment services regulations
    The Netherlands has implemented PSD2, which requires the use of SCA, making transactions more secure by requiring multiple verification methods.

  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
    The DNB mandates that financial institutions implement rigorous AML measures to prevent financial crimes. Regular, proactive audits and checks ensure that suspicious transactions are flagged, investigated, and reported.

  • Ecommerce standards
    With a thriving e-commerce sector, the Netherlands has instituted specific standards to ensure online transactions are secure and legitimate. Businesses must provide clear information about their products, prices, and the ordering process. For online card payments, 3D Secure is a standard authentication protocol that Dutch businesses use to provide additional fraud protection.

Key success factors

The Dutch payment market is advanced and efficient. Businesses accepting payments in the Netherlands will need to balance innovation with compliance, and global strategies with local initiatives. Here’s a well-rounded approach:

  • Powerful fraud detection and prevention
    Losses from online credit card fraud in the Netherlands increased by more than €1 million from 2021 to 2022, to a total of €3.6 million. This highlights the need for strict security measures as more payments move online. E-commerce businesses should establish an efficient system for handling disputes, and employ security tools such as 3D Secure authentication for online transactions.

  • Diverse payment methods
    While customers throughout the country can easily access mobile banking, contactless card payments are more common than mobile payments at points of sale. Businesses that serve customers in person can offer multiple payment options, including credit and debit cards, mobile payments, and QR code payments. Similarly, e-commerce businesses can make their checkout process more approachable and convenient by accepting credit and debit cards, mobile payments, and real-time transfers.

  • Simplified cross-border payments
    Although the Netherlands is part of the SEPA zone, which simplifies euro transactions across European countries, challenges remain for businesses accepting transactions from outside this zone. Varying regulations, transaction fees, and exchange rates can increase the complexity and cost of international transactions. Partnering with a trusted third-party payment processor to accept international payments can simplify these payments for businesses and customers.

  • Complete regulatory compliance
    The Netherlands adheres to a range of EU regulations, from GDPR for data protection to PSD2 for payment services. While these regulations provide security and consumer protection, they also impose significant compliance requirements on businesses. Complying with these requirements can be complicated and resource intensive. Investing the necessary time and money into compliance from the start can prevent major headaches – and fines – later on.

Key takeaways

The Dutch payment landscape is sophisticated, with many nuances. Businesses entering this market should understand local preferences, adapt to emerging trends, and prioritise transparency and security to create an optimal payment experience. Here’s how to customise your payment strategy to the Dutch market.

Focus on mobile

  • Build a mobile-friendly website
    Ensure your website interface allows for quick and easy purchases from smartphones to capitalise on the growth of mobile shopping.

  • Embrace iDEAL
    E-commerce businesses should accept iDEAL, as this popular digital payment method accounts for the majority of online transactions in the Netherlands.

  • Adopt QR codes for in-person payments
    As mobile payment methods gain popularity, implement QR code scanning options at points of sale to make the transaction process swift and touchless.

Cultivate the customer experience

  • Provide multi-language payment interfaces
    Though Dutch is the country’s predominant language, English is widely spoken. Offering payment interfaces in both Dutch and English lets you support a broader audience, especially in tourist-heavy areas such as Amsterdam.

  • Use SEPA payments
    Use SEPA transfers to reduce transaction times. SEPA Direct Debits are especially relevant for businesses that offer subscription-based services or monthly memberships.

  • Invest in responsive support
    To improve the overall payment experience for customers, offer immediate, localised customer support options for queries and concerns.

Prioritise payment security

The content of this article is for general information and education purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Stripe does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information in the article. You should seek the advice of a competent lawyer or accountant who is licensed to practice in your jurisdiction for advice on your particular situation.

The content in this article is for general information and education purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Stripe does not warrant or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy, or currency of the information in the article. You should seek the advice of a competent attorney or accountant licensed to practice in your jurisdiction for advice on your particular situation.

Ready to get started?

Create an account and start accepting payments – no contracts or banking details required. Or, contact us to design a custom package for your business.