Leading payment methods in online retail in Belgium 2015-2019

Which payment methods are the most popular for online shopping in Belgium? In 2019, 21 percent of Belgian consumers used a debit card for their e-commerce purchases. This was done by using something called Bancontact (formerly known Bancontact/Mister Cash, since 2018 Payconiq by Bancontact). Credit cards, on the other hand, were used less often from year to year. Bancontact’s popularity was also reflected in processed payment transactions: approximately 1.44 billion transactions were made using this payment scheme, whereas VISA/Mastercard and Maestro reached 300 million transactions altogether.

What is Bancontact exactly?

Bancontact is a Belgium-only payment scheme and the country’s market leader when it comes to electronic payment methods. It can be found on debit cards from domestic banks such as BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius and KBC. In a way, Bancontact is comparable to PayPal in that it is responsible for processing electronic payments for goods purchased online. As the payment scheme is on a debit card, however, it is also responsible for processing purchases in a brick-and-mortar store.

Does this mean that Belgians do not use credit cards for e-commerce?

In 2017, Belgian consumers made relatively more use of credit cards for e-commerce payments than their counterparts in the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). This is probably because Belgians tend to buy products online from outside their country. The leading online retailers of the country, for example, consisted in 2016 of companies from either the Netherlands (Coolblue and Bol.com), Germany (Zalando and Mediamarkt) and France (Vente-Exlusive.com/Veepee). The Colruyt Group (the company behind Belgium’s discount supermarket chain Colruyt) was the first domestic entry in the ranking in seventh place. Amazon topped this list but saw web visits from Belgium go to either one of three platforms: their French platform, .COM platform or German platform.

Leading payment methods for products or services purchased online in Belgium from 2015 to 2019*

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

March, 2015 to April 2015; March 20, 2016 to April 6, 2016; March 25, 2017 to April 6, 2017; March 25, 2018 to April 5, 2018; March 22, 2019 to April 08, 2019

Number of respondents

N 2015=2,730; N 2016=3,535; N 2017 = 1,805; N 2018 = 2,014; N 2019 = 2,062

Age group

18-70 years

Special properties

respondents who shopped online in the prior 12 months

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

* Original survey question: "How did you pay for it?"

The results have been weighted to represent the entire population.

The figures have been taken from several publications.

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