The Spanish payments landscape

In this article we’ll touch upon Spain’s key industries, the Spanish payments landscape and new areas of commerce in which Spain is leading the way.

With its natural beauty, rich history and wealth of art and culture, it’s no surprise that Spain is the second most visited country in the world. The Spanish tourism sector is hugely important to its economy, and accounts for 11% of the GDP.

Tourism doesn’t paint the whole picture though. Spain’s automobile industry accounts for 13% of the export economy, and nearly 9% of the GDP. This industry is behind only Germany in terms of auto manufacturing in Europe. Think PSA, the company behind Peugeot and Citroën, whose Vigo plant is their biggest worldwide.

Let’s not forget about retail either, which is boosted by major players such as Zara and Mango. The former's parent company, Inditex, is one of the world's top 5 apparel companies

The payments landscape

Spain is a mature market, credit cards and cash dominate the payments landscape.

Cash remains the primary payment method. There are 1074 ATMs per million inhabitants compared with the EU average of 878. Though cash is king, 87% of the population have a mobile phone, and Spain continues to be one of the fastest growing mobile commerce markets in Europe. Apple Pay and Google Pay both launched in the last 18 months, so an increase in adoption is expected. 

Contactless payments have been available in the region since 2013 and adoption is on the rise. In 2016, approximately 70 percent of the users that had a contactless credit card used it to make a payment.

As for card usage, Banco de España quotes that there are in excess of 50 million credit cards in Spain. This is an increase of 11.1% from 2016 to 2017, and a figure that looks set to grow into 2018.

Consumer preference still lies with the more traditional forms of payment, particularly when it comes to retail. Yet, the option to pay in instalments is becoming more prevalent. If you are exploring this area of payments with your business and want to integrate instalments in your commerce store, we can help.

Adyen has its own acquiring license, meaning that we can process Visa and Mastercard payments in Spain, Portugal and cross-border. Local partnerships are also possible.

The collaborative economy

Spain are Europe’s biggest users of products and services related to the sharing or collaborative economy. This ING study illustrates that Spain has roughly three times the participation rate seen in Northern European states such as Germany.

Related: How PSD2 impacts the payment landscape: Marketplaces 

The auto industry also overlaps with Spain's adoption of the sharing economy. Car-sharing platforms such as Cabify and Blablacar are two particularly strong examples, with numbers in the millions. Similarly, with the huge tourism industry, peer-to-peer accommodation services such as Airbnb have found a strong market in the region. As an example, Barcelona is Airbnb’s third largest market in Europe, behind only Paris and London. This early adoption of new business models makes Spain an interesting country to watch for trends and themes in the tech industry.

Our new office at WeWork Madrid

Adyen has been in Spain for five years now. Time flies.

You can now find us at WeWork Castellana 43, Madrid; in the heart of the Spanish tech ecosystem. From here we will continue to collaborate with like-minded companies, with our finger on the pulse of what’s great in Spanish commerce.