Clement May Blogs

3 European Payment Companies to Watch

As the world seems to be heading cashless and the major banks are facing more and more start-up competition here’s a quick run down of three European payment companies that have been making their mark.



Founded in 2011 and based in London.

What do they do?

GoCardless are one of Europe’s leading direct debit providers.  They simplify the collection of direct debits by providing an online platform for collecting recurring payments and avoiding those tiresome direct debit mandates of old. GoCardless is designed to alleviate the administration burden, reduce transaction failure rates and cut costs with their capped fees.

Who is it for?

GoCardless is designed for any business that collects direct debits from scout clubs to national newspapers. As subscription-based businesses seem to be on the increase – think entertainment streaming, software, veg boxes, wine clubs or season tickets – GoCardless saw the way business was moving and has produced a streamlined, secure and deservedly market-leading service.



Founded in 2005 in Stockholm.

What do they do?

A one-click payment company.  They offer the means for any business to provide an Amazon-like one-click option.  The idea is that you commit to the purchase, the retailer prepares the order and then you complete your payment and delivery details.  This, according to Klarna considerably increases conversion rates.  It’s a bit like PayPal but they aim to be even more customer-focused and streamlined and they’re obviously doing something right as it is one of Europe’s few billion-dollar tech companies, they currently process 30% of Sweden’s online transactions and are launching in the UK and US imminently (Business Insider, May 2015).

Who is it for?

Who isn’t it for? Well anyone who refuses to make online transactions is unlikely to be interested in Klarna.  For everyone else we might have to invent the verb ‘to Klarna’.



Founded 2006, based in Amsterdam with a global network of offices.

What do they do?

“With a seamless solution for mobile, online and in-store transactions, our technology enables merchants to accept almost any type of payment, anywhere in the world.”

So they seem to do pretty much everything, bringing together almost all payment types, currencies and transaction types into one integrated platform.  Their USP appears to be having no borders; national, technological or transactional.  In 2014 Adyen processed $25 billion worth of transactions and clients include Facebook, Spotify and Uber.  The need for simplicity in the increasingly complex world of payment is clear.

Who is it for?

Adyen suits the bigger business working internationally and providing for the complex needs of a diverse customer base.  However pretty niche companies such as the Cambridge Satchel Company utilised the platform to break into international markets who now sells in 100 countries.