Our answers to your questions

What does "acquiring" mean? And what is a "charge back"? How does tokenisation actually work? We put together the most frequently asked questions and answered them for you.

Payment Methods Overview

What does "payment method" mean?

The payment types offered by an online shop are called payment methods. They have a sig-nificant influence on whether shoppers choose to buy from shops. Shoppers generally choose their preferred payment method. The more payment methods an online shop of-fers, the more likely shoppers are to use them. Getting the offer right can help increase sales.

What are the most popular payment methods?

Most customers in eCommerce choose payment methods they trust. Ordering on ac-count, in instalments or by direct debit are therefore the most popular. However, other im-portant payment methods include credit cards, online direct transfers or online payment solutions like PayPal.

What is a payment system?

Payment systems refer to are all processes in which shoppers enter the information needed to make a payment. It is possible to differentiate between mobile and Internet-based pay-ment systems here. When using a mobile payment system, the amounts can be paid using a mobile phone. In-ternet-based payment systems generally support four different payment methods: the pre-paid, postpaid, direct paid and trustee methods. When using the prepaid method, the online customer pays in advance and thereby guaran-tees payment to the retailer. When using the postpaid method, the purchaser's account is only debited after goods or services have been ordered. Payment can then, for example, be made via a credit card ac-count or by electronic direct debit. With the direct paid method, the customer pays immediately when making an online pur-chase and initiates payment directly using the PIN/TAN process. When using the trustee method, on the other hand, the money transfer is performed via a trustee. This ensures that the retailer receives payment and the customer receives the delivery.

Payment Methods: Card-based

What is a credit card?

Credit cards are primarily aimed at the consumer credit business. Each card holder is typically as-signed a spending limit based on their credit rating. Purchases made throughout the month are then charged together in a single transaction, generally at the end of that month.

What is a debit card?

Debit cards can be used wherever Visa or Mastercard are accepted. They are branded with a credit card logo. Unlike credit cards, however, the funds are debited from the linked bank account more or less immediately.

What is a consumer card?

A consumer card is a credit card that belongs to a private individual and is for personal use only.

What are commercial cards, corporate cards or business cards?

A corporate card is a card given to employees of a company. These employees then use the card to pay for travel expenses or similar business-related costs. This allows all charges to be outsourced cleanly via a cost centre, which in turn lightens the bookkeeping workload. Corporate cards or com-mercial cards are subject to higher interchange fees, which are charged to the retailer.

What is 3D Secure for retailers?

3D Secure is a process intended to increase the security of online credit card payments. The credit card companies each have their own process for this, such as Verified by Visa, Mastercard Identity Check, Amex Safe Key, Diners Protect Buy, JCB J-Secure. Shoppers have to enter individual PINs/TANs here, the aim of which is to reduce payment defaults due to card misuse. With implementation of the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) in September 2019, the process was extended to 3DS 2.0, which requires Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).

Payment Methods - Wallet

What is an e-Wallet?

An e-Wallet or cyberwallet works like an electronic purse or wallet for digital payments. e-Wallets are sometimes also known as digital wallets. PayPal, Google Pay and Apple Pay are perhaps the best known examples.

How do customers pay by e-Wallet?

As a general rule, e-Wallet users have two payment options. Firstly, they can charge up their e-Wallet and then use it to pay for products and services until the credit has been used up. These are known as prepaid e-Wallets. With the second option, the user sets up a reference account. If they then use their e-Wallet to pay for a transaction, the money is debited from their account. Accordingly, the so-lution can be used until the defined reference account can no longer cover the amounts to be debit-ed.

What are the benefits of an e-Wallet?

Thanks to e-Wallets, transactions can be processed far more quickly and generally also more simply than with a standard transfer. In addition, retailers often pay lower transaction fees than with a credit card payment.

Payment Methods: Direct Transfer

What are alternative payment methods?

Alternative payment methods are based on future-proof technologies. The one thing they all have in common is that the payment transaction is not performed via a classic payment instrument. Credit cards, direct transfer or e-Wallets are examples of alternative payment methods.

What is a payment triggering service?

Payment triggering services are online processes that trigger a transfer. They enable direct transfer as a payment method.

What is the purpose of alternative payment methods?

Alternative payment methods are intended to offer consumers the ultimate in convenience. The pro-cesses of shopping and paying for orders are made as quick and easy as possible here. In addition to this, reference is often made to the short waiting time between purchase and delivery of products – thanks to almost simultaneous payment and dispatch in online retailing. Many providers also high-light the high degree of security and flexibility when settling bills.

Payment Methods: Purchase on account and in instalments

What does "paying in instalments" mean?

Instalment purchases represent an agreement between the consumer and the provider. However, the amount due is not paid immediately as a sum total here. Instead, payment is made in at least two instalments.

What are the benefits of instalment payments?

Instalment purchases allow shoppers to buy items that can then be used immediately, although they have not yet been paid in full. This makes larger purchases possible, even if the financial resources are not yet fully in place. Retailers and online shops can use the instalment purchase option to generate shopping baskets with significantly higher value. One disadvantage of instalment purchases is that some shoppers might overestimate their own fi-nancial circumstances. However, payment defaults can be avoided by using secured instalment pur-chase processes like Unzer instalment.

What does "payment default" mean?

A payment default is when consumers fail to meet their payment obligation. Payment protection can provide retailers with greater security here.

Payment Methods: SEPA Direct Debit

What is the SEPA Direct Debit scheme?

SEPA stands for "Single Euro Payments Area". The SEPA Direct Debit scheme was first introduced in 2009. In February 2014, the final process was then launched. The SEPA standards are used in the SEPA Direct Debit scheme. Here, the IBAN code is used to identi-fy the accounts of both the payer and the payee, while the BIC code is used to designate the pay-ment service provider.

How does payment by direct debit work?

To make a payment by direct debit in an online shopping environment, shoppers first select the "SEPA Direct Debit" or "Direct debit authorisation" payment method. Once this has been done, they enter their account details. The online retailer then uses these account details to set up the direct debit order with its bank for the specified amount. The retailer's bank registers debit of the amount with the customer's bank – which then initiates the corresponding credit.

What is the difference between a direct debit return and a return direct debit?

Financial institutions cannot check whether a direct debit order is correct. This is why they offer a di-rect debit return or return direct debit option. A direct debit return can be issued for various reasons, for example if the payer's account has been closed or has insufficient funds to cover the transaction. With a return direct debit, the payer can object to the transaction and actively demand a refund. There can also be several reasons for this, for example if an order was either not fulfilled or is incomplete. If this is the case, payers can withhold their money.

Online Solutions: Overview

How does an online shop work?

An online shop is a website that retailers use to sell their products on the Internet. To this end, the products or services are presented in a shop system. Shoppers can then use the website to learn more about and ultimately order the products/services on offer. The actual purchase takes place electronically here and the payment method is typically cashless.

What benefits do online shops enjoy over brick and mortar retailers?

Online retailers do not need to rent any retail space. They generally also require less personnel. These two factors together can significantly reduce costs. In addition, shoppers are not tied to shop opening times. They can purchase products around the clock and throughout the world. All they need is Internet access.

What conditions should an online shop meet?

An online shop obviously still needs to comply with many legal and technical regulations. However, above all it should feature a user-friendly design. This starts with clear and straightforward user navigation, but also includes logically structured and attractive presentation of the offerings. It ends with a convenient, confidence-inspiring checkout process. The right payment mix is the key here. Shoppers can then choose their preferred digital payment type themselves.

Online Solutions: Digital Solutions

What does the term "e-payment" mean?

The term "e-payment" or "electronic payment" refers to all options for payment processing via the Internet. E-payment is particularly important for online shops, as it makes it easy for customers to pay for products and services purchased online. The fact that these payment types offer protection from payment defaults, while at the same time generating as little costs as possible, is key for online shops.

What are the most popular e-payment methods?

Alongside purchase on account and SEPA Direct Debit, the most popular e-payment methods also include credit cards, PayPal, Sofortüberweisung instant transfers, Giropay, as well as e-Wallets - for example from Apple or Google. Given the rather confusing array of payment methods, many of which ultimately disappear after a short time if they are unable to establish themselves, customers are spoiled for choice. Many online shoppers therefore still have reservations regarding new payment methods and instead prefer to rely on traditional options, such as the popular purchase on account or SEPA Direct Debit methods.

Why should you accept a mix of payment methods in your eCommerce operations?

If customers see that their favourite payment method is not available, this often leads to abandoned shopping baskets. This in turn has a negative impact on sales. It is therefore all the more important for online shop owners to find the right mix of payment methods and satisfy as many potential shoppers as possible. Offering the right payment methods is essential for the success of an online shop. Many payment methods, such as purchase on account, in instalments or by SEPA Direct Debit, are very popular among customers. However, they can also represent a high risk of defaults for online shop owners. To be able to offer these payment types despite the associated issues and keep risks to a minimum, shop owners can rely on the support of payment service providers. Offering customers between 4 and 6 payment methods is currently considered standard. After all, a credit check can confirm in advance whether a customer has the necessary credit standing to be offered purchase on account or in instalments. With Unzer payments, this risk assessment is already included.

Online Solutions: Checkout

What is the checkout process?

Checkout describes the virtual till used for making payments in eCommerce. It is comparable with the till found at all brick and mortar retailers. During the checkout process, the shopper is guided from the shopping basket, through selection of the payment method and entry of the delivery address, all the way to the final purchase confirmation.

How can I optimise the checkout process?

A perfectly matched checkout process makes it easier for customers to complete purchases and helps reduce the number of abandoned shopping baskets. Key factors in reducing the number of abandoned shopping baskets include offering a wide range of payment methods, transparent costs and confidence-inspiring elements. As a general rule, the checkout process should be kept as short as possible. Customers should also know at all times which phase of the checkout process they are currently completing.

When I try to check out, I just see a white screen or an error in the shop. Why is this?

This problem is often caused by the payment system not being available to deliver a response. Possible causes of this include the following:

  • The shop is located in a local environment or URL that cannot be resolved.
  • The shop has a password prompt, typically via htaccess. The payment system cannot get past this for a response.
  • The connection data and the sandbox mode need to match, i.e. test system connection data => sandbox mode = YES, live system connection data => sandbox mode = NO

Online Solutions: Features

My Unzer insights & control account is blocked. How can I unblock it?

If you can no longer log in, your account can either be unblocked by Customer Support or via a different account with corresponding admin rights.

What is a fiduciary or escrow account?

A fiduciary account is an account where funds are held in trust while two or more parties complete a transaction. The holder of the account is not the owner of the funds deposited there. The fiduciary or custodian manages and is liable for the funds paid in.

What are white label solutions on the Internet?

White label solutions are products or services which have been developed or created by a provider for integration on a different website. The layout and structure are both matched to the target website here.

In-store Solutions: Overview

What does POS mean?

POS stands for "point of sale". This can refer to various locations. Prior to the introduction of eCommerce, it generally referred to the shelves containing products or the checkout area in retail shops. However, POS now has a more far-reaching significance. In the field of payments, it no longer refers exclusively to checkout areas - but rather to the terminal used to pay for products or services. POS terminals are used throughout the world as a uncomplicated way of processing cashless payments.

What is POS marketing?

POS marketing involves planning a POS strategy for the respective target group as a way of generating more sales. Visual factors, such as the design of a POS, also play an important part here.

What is EPOS?

Online shops also have a point of sale. However, these are referred to as EPOS – electronic points of sale. Here, the POS is a fully electronic system that processes the purchase – also in a shop – via barcode using a computer system. At the same time, stock levels are automatically corrected. To use the EPOS, the shopper must first complete an authentication process for the respective card at the POS offered. Following successful authentication, the payment is processed completely automatically. Many shop owners use payment service providers for this step as a way of keeping the workload per transaction as low as possible.

What benefits does an EPOS offer?

An EPOS is what makes cashless payments possible for Internet purchases with credit or debit cards. In addition, the transactions are generally completely secure, meaning that there are virtually no risks for the recipient or debtor. The transaction time is also shorter than with a classic bank transfer. Alongside security for customers, retailers also enjoy a genuine benefit, as a payment guarantee is provided when using the EPOS method. Customers generally do not have to pay any charges for EPOS payments within Germany. Only when performing overseas transactions are customers sometimes required to pay charges, depending on the respective financial institution.

Payment Methods: In-store solutions

How does payment with Apple Pay work at the POS?

When paying with Apple Pay, shoppers simply hold their smartphone next to the POS while simultaneously confirming their identity, for example by placing their finger on the Touch ID. It is not necessary to enter a PIN here. Users can also pay for items in apps or online shops with Apple Pay.

How can Google Pay be used to pay at the POS?

As a general rule, any NFC-capable smartphone with the Google Pay app installed can be used to make a payment at brick and mortar retailers. All that shoppers need to do is hold their smartphone up to the retailer's terminal. In Germany, this is now considered the preferred payment method among the majority of cardholders – regardless of whether Google Pay or Apple Pay.

What is a credit card?

Credit cards are primarily aimed at the consumer credit business. Each card holder is typically as-signed a spending limit based on their credit rating. Purchases made throughout the month are then charged together in a single transaction, generally at the end of that month.

Marketplace Solutions

What is an online marketplace?

An online marketplace is a technical platform, via which selected third-party providers and end customers trade products or services. Familiar examples include Ebay and Amazon.

What is an online retailer?

Operators of online shops and online marketplaces are referred to as online retailers or Internet retailers. Some retailers act as multi-channel retailers, which means that they also maintain a brick and mortar shop alongside their online shop.

How can online retailers become successful?

Enjoying success as an online retailer not only involves meeting both legal and technical framework conditions. The user-friendliness of the online shop or online marketplace is also an important factor in this regard. Easy payment processing and offering many optional payment methods can have a positive impact on this. Online retailers can also use professional risk management as a key strategy in preventing potential cases of fraud.

White Label Solution: Overview

What is a white label solution?

"White Label" means that products or services of a producer are marketed under various names. However, the actual producer is not visible here. White labelling is popular in a wide range of sectors, although primarily in the manufacturing sector and on the Internet.

What does white label mean in the manufacturing sector?

The manufacturer of a product for example sells it to discount shops. These shops then offer it under their own brand umbrella. Yet despite this, the manufacturer also regularly sells the product under its own brand name. The benefits? Different target groups are addressed with the same product and vendors can outsource production.

What are white label solutions you can find online?

White label solutions are products or services that have been built or developed by a provider in order to be embedded in other websites under the according name of the product or brand on that page. Layout and structure are adapted to the incorporating website.

Integrated POS Solutions: Overview

What is the Checkout Security Regulation (KassenSichV)?

The Checkout Security Regulation (KassenSichV) is a regulation issued by the German Ministry of Finance. It requires all compatible tills to be equipped with a technical security device (TSE). The legislation will be in force in Germany from September 30, 2020.

What does the acronym "TSE" mean?

TSE comes from the German term "Technische Sicherheitseinrichtung" or "technical security device". This device is used to save all transactions at the POS to an internal memory, for which it generates a code. This code must then be printed on the corresponding sales receipt. The Checkout Security Regulation (KassenSichV) stipulates that all compatible tills must be TSE-compliant as of September 30, 2020.

What does "GoBD" mean?

"GoBD" is a German abbreviation, meaning "principles for properly maintaining, keeping and storing books, records and documents in electronic form and for data access”. It was published by the German Federal Ministry of Finance on November 14, 2014.

Risk Management: Overview

What is a credit check?

Checking the credit rating of a contractual partner prior to contract conclusion is referred to as a credit check. The respective person's payment behaviour and likelihood of payment default are analysed in detail here. The ability and willingness of a debtor to meet future obligations in full and on time are therefore checked.

How are shoppers classified when performing a credit check?

Following the credit check, a credit rating is issued as a score. An online retailer can use this credit rating as the basis for determining whether or not to enter into the transaction – or which payment method should be offered to the respective shopper. The sale can then still be completed, even with a poor credit rating, if the retailer only offers the shopper secure payment types, such as prepayment or cash-on-delivery.

What is scoring?

Scoring provides a numerical value that offers an objective as possible prediction of a shopper's credit rating. First of all, experience and values from their credit standing are collected and assessed. Companies can use this statistical analysis to reach a credit decision and to specify interest rates. The are two objectives here: to avoid risks and to minimise payment defaults.

Fraud Prevention: Overview

What does "fraud prevention" mean?

Online retailers use fraud prevention to protect themselves from fraud and data abuse in real time during the ordering process. An online shop operator or eBusiness owner can rely on various credit and plausibility checks here. These are performed before the actual payment is made. Adopting this approach allows incorrect address data, e-mail address, stolen account or credit card details and negative credit ratings to be checked via blacklists and credit agencies. In addition to this, the fraud prevention modules offer protection through blocking of IP addresses and duplicate bookings, as well as use of session and limit checks.

What is a chargeback?

The Internet is more susceptible to credit card abuse than brick and mortar retailers. The card-issuing banks are obviously keen to protect their cardholders. This is why they allow them to refute a payment. This process is referred to chargeback. Here, the amount originally debited is credited back to the credit card account. As a general rule, cardholders have up to 180 days to refute a payment and trigger a chargeback.

What do the expressions "card present" and "card not present" mean”?

A card-not-present transaction is a card payment for which cardholders do not physically present their card at the time of placing the order. This is, for example, the case when ordering items from a catalogue by post, fax, telephone or the Internet.

Liquidity Management: Overview

What happens when selling receivables?

The sale of receivables is also known as factoring. Here, a company sells its receivables directly after drafting the invoices in exchange for immediate payment of the outstanding amount. The receivable is transferred to a new creditor – based on a corresponding purchase contract. The sale of receivables is completed when ownership of the respective receivables has been transferred. The seller of the receivable is then liable for the validity of the receivable, not for its collectability. The default risk is therefore generally also transferred to the new creditor with the sale.

What are NPL receivables?

Receivables are often sold as so-called non-performing loan (NPL) packages. These are unsecured receivables, which are sometimes also referred to as "defaulting receivables". Receivables with long payment periods are also classed as non-performing loans. When sold, the total value of the receivable minus a deduction is assigned to the new creditor. This increases the liquidity of the former creditor. It also improves their balance sheet, as they then no longer have to wait for the debtor to pay the outstanding balance in future. This purchase of receivables is primarily performed by collection agencies.

What is factoring?

With factoring, a company sells its receivables to a factoring company immediately after drawing up the invoice(s). This allows the selling company to avoid the risk of a payment default and also dispense with the process for monitoring outstanding receivables. In addition, factoring gives the company immediate liquidity. This can then be used for any number of things, such as making the most of supplier discounts or performing investments of its own.

Collection Services: Overview

What does the term "collections" mean?

The term "collections" describes the business-related recovery of outstanding receivables . It can be used whenever a debtor fails to make a payment that is due to the respective creditor. In this case, the creditor engages a collection agency, which is commissioned with recovering the respective amount.

What process is followed for collections?

If a customer fails to pay an outstanding invoice despite having received multiple reminders, the company seeking to recover the amount can pass on the receivable to a collection agency. This agency then collects the receivable in the name of the company. Alternatively, the receivable can be assigned in full to the collection agency.

How do online shops handle collections?

In the event of a payment default, owners of online shops also rely on service providers that specialise in risk and receivables management to collect outstanding amounts from their respective debtors. However, shop owners often also use other services of companies before things get this far, such as credit checks , to protect themselves from payment defaults.

Virtual Accounts: Overview

What is a virtual account?

Virtual accounts are often also referred to as IBANs. However, the principle is the same here: in future, various virtual subaccounts will be created for a central, physical account. Each of these has a dedicated, unique IBAN. For example, multiple subsidiaries of a company can then each have a separate virtual account. All of these virtual accounts are linked to the real bank account of the parent company. This simplifies the account structure, helps secure transparency and saves administration costs.

What are virtual IBANs?

Virtual IBANs are virtual account numbers. They are often also referred to as "virtual accounts" and are always linked to a genuine, central bank account. There is no limit in terms of the number of IBANs that can be assigned per physical account. They comprise a three-digit fixed component, as well as a seven-digit component that can be freely selected. This can be specified individually by the respective company, for example in order to clearly identify a sender.

What are the benefits of virtual accounts?

You can set up as many virtual accounts as you wish and thereby match your account structure perfectly to your corporate structure - for example for various subsidiaries, departments or even individual employees. You then have ONE professional contact for all account movements, whether cash inflows or outflows – the UNZER Settlement Team. Our online portal provides you with an easy-to-understand overview of all your accounts.

Online Integration: Overview

What is a shop system?

A shop system is the software basis with which an online shop can be created. It is the prerequisite, forms the framework and is expandable thanks to its modular design. A shop system typically includes the following basic components: a shop database with product information, an administration database, presentation systems, a payment gateway, a web tracking system and often further tools.

What are the most commonly used shop systems?

Among others, the shop systems most commonly used in the market include Magento, Shopware, Oxid eSales, JTL or plentymarkets. Our payment modules can be integrated into all of these systems with just a few mouse-clicks.

What is Shopware?

Shopware is the modular online shop system offered by the company of the same name. It was first launched in 2004 as open source software. Online retailers can use Shopware to design their shop both flexibly and freely. Just like Magento, the online shop system is co-designed by a large community.