New Euro Alternative in Direct Debit Systems

Jens Leinert

English-speaking adult providers can achieve up to a seven percent increase in sales with the implementation of the new European SEPA online payment system, experts say.

This alternative payment system can be used by all European citizens in 32 nations.

With the new, uniform European SEPA Direct Debit payment method, online purchases from more than 500 million Europeans in 32 European countries, can simply be paid by SEPA Direct Debit.

The unification of European cashless payments, under SEPA, also allows U.S. adult merchants to enter online-purchase transactions within the 32 countries.

This article explains the forecasted sales growth with digital adult products of up to seven percent with simple statistical regularities and from a European banking perspective.

American adult providers know the numbers — approximately 20 to 25 percent of the visitors to their pages are from Europe. At first, they behave similarly to theipay4.r American counterparts. Between two and 12 percent of all visitors start a purchase of content or a service, regardless of whether they are Americans or Europeans.

But then everything changes.

While most of the U.S. customers complete their purchases, a lot of the European customers cancel their purchase usually when it comes to paying.

And this has nothing to do with the fact that the European customers do not have intention to pay for the services they require, but rather with the fact that most American erotic pages predominantly offer American payment methods such as credit card payment. But the credit card is not that popular in Europe as it is in the U.S.

Only 50 percent of Europeans have a credit card. Among Internet users, it’s a little more popular, but this still only accounts for 25 percent of Europeans. That means for an adult merchant, if 25 percent of their visitors come from Europe and in turn 25 percent of them do not have a credit card, he loses about a quarter of the possible European sales, that’s about seven percent.

Larger providers with the appropriate resources have been trying to compensate this gap by offering various European payment methods on their websites, but this requires a lot of effort, of which many merchants are afraid.

As different and diverse as the European cultures are, so are the individual European payment methods and payment preferences of end users. In my long experience as a payment service provider, I never met an U.S. provider who would indeed offer all of the European national payment methods.

With the new, uniform European SEPA Direct Debit payment method, online purchases from more than 500 million Europeans in 32 European countries, can simply be paid by SEPA Direct Debit.

When an end user is on the erotic page and wants to pay for his purchase, in addition to seeing a credit card option, he should also see the SEPA Direct Debit payment option. If he chooses SEPA, he needs to type in his name, his address and his national bank details. In the background, these national bank details will be converted into uniform European bank details, consisting of IBAN and BIC. Postings will be forwarded to the merchant's bank account and the end user’s bank will be informed in the form of a payment about the upcoming debit. The AVIS period is five banking days for the first booking, so that the end user has time to provide sufficient funds within that timeframe. After five days, the bank account of the user is finally debited and the money is forwarded to the merchant's account.

To protect against fraudulent debits, the end user has the opportunity to return the charged amount. If the seller is not able to present a so-called mandate, the user would have 13 months to return the debited amount. If the seller is able to present a mandate, the user has only eight weeks, which is, according to experts, a big advantage over the credit card, which gives the end user six months to reclaim the purchase price.

In the offline-world, the mandate is usually signed at the cash desk. In Internet commerce there is an e-mandate. Companies like PAY4 have developed two e-mandate systems for its international customers — the e-mandate in conjunction with an online bank transfer (OBT) transaction or per signature field in the check-out of the online offer.

After entering the bank details, the end user will be redirected to its online banking site, where he logs in by entering his personal PIN into his own online banking account and authorizes the payment again with his personal PIN.

The e-mandate, in conjunction with an online bank transfer, was developed by Sascha Winkler, who worked for Sofort, the leading provider of online bank transfer in Europe.

Accordingly to Winkler, “This process was previously suitable only for one-time payments. In conjunction with the SEPA Direct Debit, now subscriptions can be handled easily. After the first payment has been made via online bank transfer, recurring payments will be debited via SEPA Direct Debit. This is how we were able to combine the benefits of secure online money transfer with the requirements of the recurring payment and additionally protect against debt defaults with the emandate."

As an alternative to the e-mandate via OBT, companies also offer to generate the e-mandate by the signature field in the payment process. The end user signs with a mouse at his computer or with his finger on a tablet like an iPad or a Smartphone, which means SEPA Direct Debit can also be used as a mobile payment solution for mobile offers.

The handwritten e-mandate is then stored on a secure mandate server, where secure access is allowed for the end user, the adult provider, the merchant's bank and the bank of the end user, for the possibility to review the written mandate at any time and to convince themselves of the legitimacy of the business.

However, the provider decides himself, whether he offers SEPA Direct Debit with or without an emandate. Using an e-mandate, the chargeback risk is considerably reduced by reducing the opposition period from 13 months to eight weeks. But, impulse buying incentives also decrease and so does the conversion rate as well.

An example of how this works in practice can be illustrated with a live cam platform. The user tops up his account and gets credits, which he then uses for the services provided. To benefit from SEPA, the operator only needs to secure this first top up with an e-mandate after the implementation to be able to collect future top ups simply via SEPA debit. The following SEPA debits can also vary in the amount; it is not necessary to create a new mandate every time, when the amount differs from that mandated one.

On a live cam platform, the transmitters usually get an immediate payment from the provider, regardless of whether the payment of the visitor was successful or not. To protect providers from large financial loss, the secure SEPA Direct Debit is not only important for this industry because of the extra reach but also because it reduces debt defaults of European customers.

The same applies to all providers who pay a high affiliate commissions for traffic. These businesses can use the secure SEPA payment with an e-mandate to ensure that an affiliate commission is only paid in case of successful payment.

It makes no sense to use the e-mandate system for services that do not create additional revenues for the provider. Providers who offer self-produced content and do not have to pay any userdependent licenses for marketed images and videos, benefit from cheaper transaction costs. They also save the effort of creating and using of an e-mandate in their checkout process. An example of this is a dating platform. In this case, a few additional members will not cause additional costs. If it comes to a debt default here, there will be no further financial loss for the supplier except the chargeback fee.

When considering whether or not you should implement such alternative payment solutions, it is always recommended that adult merchants find the optimum balance between conversion rate and payment security by testing their traffic.

When the SEPA payment process is implemented in the shop system, in theory the emandating can be easily switched on and off within a module. The business success of the added new SEPA payment depends not on the right decision, but when imbalances arise, the merchant may counteract quickly and easily.

According ro experts, the e-mandate has some further advantages.

The e-mandate must be given only once — as soon as the end user has completed a subscription, the first given mandate can be used for all subsequent payments. Herewith, the payment amount can vary as well. So, it’s easy to manage SEPA — to be able to offer a low-cost trial subscription for three days to European visitors. If they like it and it has been converted into a longer fixed-term contract of subsequent payments, adult merchants can collect larger amounts every month without disturbing the customer with the issue of a new e-mandate.

E-mandates also improve success rates in cases of failed payment collection by appropriate reminders and collection processes, Leinert said.

In closing, we believe that the new SEPA Direct Debit offers a real opportunity for significant growth in for U.S. adult merchants with European traffic.

Reasonable costs for the implementation of a new additional online payment process in relation to its benefits like the greater range, reliability of payment and the additional ability to monetize traffic that has never been monetized before, adult operators cannot afford to deal without SEPA.

SEPA Direct Debit is the ideal addition to payment by credit card and online bank transfer and the predestined payment method for each adult provider, who has end users from Europe.

If you want to sell adult in Europe, consider offering the SEPA Direct Debit as an alternative payment method.

Jens Leinert is an executive at