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Credit and debit cards account for the majority of online transactions. A very popular payment option in Spain is 4B, a payment method owned by various Spanish banks. The credit and debit cards of Euro6000 are also frequently used in Spain.

Domestic and Preferred Card Schemes

Cards are popular, as 91% prefer paying with Visa or Mastercard. Card use is high in Spain, the majority of cards carrying the Visa brand. About 85% of population has at least one credit or debit card. Access to a local acquirer will enhance acceptance rates. [1]

Alternative Payment Methods

6% PayPal 3% American Express [2]

Digital Invoicing

To give Spanish online buyers more confidence, online sellers should offer secure payments with tools like Google Wallet or Paypal.[3]

Customer Experience

Generally, Spaniards like shopping online, but unfortunately some of them fail to complete their online purchases. Not only because the buyer finds the price too high, but also due to confidence and trust issues. Some shoppers may feel uncomfortable not being able to physically see the product. Others may be put off by the necessity to enter personal details whilst making online payments. To increase your chances of making a sale, you need to overcome any potential trust issues. For instance, by providing shoppers with a great deal of product information, photos and customer reviews. You should also work with an experienced and trusted payment service provider.[4]

Payments Regulation

A fundamental point to bear in mind when undertaking any initiative in the area of electronic transactions: the applicable legislation varies depending on the potential recipient of the related offer. Consequently, there is greater leeway for the parties to agree if the transaction takes place between companies (business to business, B2B) than if the commercial dealings are between a company and a private consumer as the final recipient (business to consumer, B2C), since, among others, consumer protection legislation will apply in the latter case.[5]

Local entities


Mobile payments

35% of shoppers made a purchase using a mobile device (compared to 23% in 2014). Even though Spain has one of the highest penetration rates for smartphones, many Spaniards may still not be very used to m-commerce. Only 6% of smartphone owners use their phone to buy online.[6]


Improvements in logistics could help push e-commerce sales in Spain. Many Spanish online shopping carts are abandoned, and consumers say it's because of overly expensive delivery costs or long delivery times. Same-day logistics companies in urban centers are helping to fill this void and are being used by companies including FNAC, Pull & Bear (owned by Inditex), and Zubi, a Spanish design company. [7]


Spain's Port of Huelva announced (Feb. 2015) it is considering the development of infrastructure improvements at the Port. The Port also announced a larger set of infrastructure proposals, labelled the "Intermodal Platform," totalling investments of around €22 million ($24.6). The Intermodal Platform will include improvements to the rail network at the Port, completion of a container terminal and passenger terminal, and a restructuring of the Port's south pier. The package of infrastructure investments "aims to eliminate bottlenecks in the Canary Islands and the Strait of Gibraltar," said the Port of Huelva, which may also bring increased demand for bunkering services at the port. [8]

Import Duties

There are three different customs regulations in Spain. The EU common customs apply to the mainland and Balearic Isles. The Canary Islands, previously a customs-free area, is undergoing a transition period to meet EU customs regulations. There is a customs-free trade area in the two northern Africa enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which are under Spanish sovereignty.Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla are not considered as part of the EU due to different Customs policies. Only documents are accepted to Ceuta and Melilla. Duties and taxes shipments destinated to Canary Islands must be billed to consignee. Paperwork delivered to cnee/cnee's broker will constitute POD. [9]

Import duty and taxes are due when importing goods into Spain from outside of the EU whether by a private individual or a commercial entity. The import duty and taxes payable are calculated on the CIF value, i.e. the sum of the value of the imported goods and the cost of shipping and insurance. The duty rates applied to imports into Spain typically range between 0% (for example books) and 17% (for example Wellington Boots). Some products, such as Laptops, Mobile Phones, Digital cameras and Video Game consoles, are duty free. Certain goods may be subject to additional duties depending on the country of manufacture, for example Bicycles made in China carry an additional (anti dumping) duty of 48.5%. The standard VAT rate for importing items into Spain is 21%, with certain products, attracting VAT at the a reduced VAT rate of 10% or a super reduced rate of 4%. VAT is calculated on the value of the goods, plus the international shipping costs and insurance, plus any import duty due. For imports into Spain, there are minimum thresholds below which duty and VAT are waived. Duty is not charged if: the FOB value, i.e. the value of the goods excluding shipping and insurance cost, does not exceed €150 VAT is not charged if: the FOB value, i.e. the value of the goods excluding shipping and insurance cost, does not exceed €22. Excise duty is payable on for example tobacco and alcohol. Additional customs fees can be charged to cover the expense of performing any required examinations, verification and or testing of the imported goods. [10]


The country's economic woes and high unemployment rate have been making headlines since the economic downturn hit in 2008. However, green shoots are visible: The country—which has the fourth largest economy in the eurozone—recorded full-year growth in 2014 for the first time in six years, and recent statistics show the growth is continuing. As for e-commerce retailers, the country has connected shoppers and strong infrastructure, and annual online sales growth of 16 percent is expected over the next five years. Amazon, El Corte Inglés, and FNAC Spain are the largest online retailers in Spain. Amazon has 7 percent share of e-commerce, dominating the electronics and books and CDs categories. It has also strengthened its standing in fashion in the wake of its purchase of Spanish company BuyVIP, a members-only club that sells high-end fashion brands at discounted prices. Amazon also operates a 32,000-square-meter distribution center in San Fernando de Henares, in Madrid's eastern suburbs, and has deals with more than 1,200 businesses to allow for customer pickup. Madrid-based department store chain El Corte Inglés has expanded in e-commerce with an app, in-store collection, and free delivery on bigger orders. During the 2014 Christmas buying season, the company's online sales increased 60 percent over the previous year, thanks in large part to a click-and-collect service that allowed shoppers to pick up items in store. About 44 percent of Spanish Internet users between 16 and 55 buy online frequently, and they focus on fashion, electronics, books, and music. [11]


The typical online shopper Is 25-49 years old (35-49 year olds in particular), lives in urban areas and works full-time, is university educated, comes from a medium to high professional social class. It’s also worth mentioning that the Spanish love freebies: it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s free, they will love it.[12]

Social Media

45% of Spanish people have shared information on social networks: it’s more than the global average of 36%. Spaniards like using social networks, also during the shopping process, e.g. to check out opinions and reviews about products and brands. Online shoppers also utilise social media to find out about brands: Facebook (41%), Twitter (38%) or Instagram (21%). 65% say that they consider making another purchase from companies that have serviced them via social media. However, 65% don’t approve of companies that use social networks to substitute for catalogues or to advertise offers.[13]

Major shopping categories

Home furnishings are a popular choice for overseas purchasing, followed by clothing and footwear.[14]

Major retail holidays

One of the the biggest online shopping days in Spain is Cyber Monday. iPad Sunday is a new phenomenon that describes the peak shopping time occurring on Sunday, usually between 6pm-7pm.[15]

Legal / Regulatory

E-commerce-related activities are now being regulated more specifically by Spanish legislation. Therefore, in transactions involving e-commerce, regard should be had to legislation on distance sales, advertising, standard contract terms, electronic signatures, data protection, intellectual and industrial property, and ecommerce and information society services. Apart from these specific laws, it is also necessary to look to the general legislation on civil and commercial contracts. In any event, the Spanish legislature is currently making resolute headway in regulating transactions of this nature. Examples of its aim to legislate on matters relating to new information technologies include the e-commerce and Information Society Services Law, and, more recently, Electronic Signature Law 59/2003.

In the tax sphere, e-commerce raises tax issues that can be addressed with difficulty from a purely Spanish perspective. Perhaps for that reason, unlike other occasions, the Spanish tax authorities have not seen fit to adopt unilateral measures, preferring to wait until a consensus is reached on the measures to be adopted regionally and even worldwide. As will be explained below, the process of reaching a consensus on the VAT treatment of "online e-commerce" is fairly advanced, as is shown by the recent approval of the EU Directive on e-commerce and its consequent transposition into Spanish law from July 1, 2003 onwards.

As for the direct taxation issues (the existence of permanent establishments, the legal characterization of income, the transfer pricing problem and the application of the "place-of-effective-management" rule) it is foreseeable that consensus will take the form of a coordinated, more uniform interpretation of the various criteria determining the tax treatment of e-commerce, rather than a legislative change.As will be explained later, an example of this greater coordination is the amendment made to the commentaries on the OECD Model Convention.[16]

FX Policies

Spanish Customs values shipments at C.I.F. (cost, insurance and freight) prices. For U.S. products, the tariff rate averages five percent. A registered customs agent must clear all shipments through customs. Usually, total costs to clear customs are between 20 to 30 percent of the shipment's C.I.F. value. This estimate includes tariffs, a 21 percent Value Added Tax (VAT), plus customs agent and handling fees. Total costs are lower for goods assessed at lower VAT levels (i.e. foodstuffs).[17]


With 60% of the population shopping online, Spain is the largest eCommerce market in southern Europe, leaving behind Italy and Turkey.[18]



Mobile appetite

The mobile opportunity in Spain is again tempered by security concerns. Smartphone and tablet ownership is going strong, with 53% and 17% in possession of those devices respectively. 12% currently spend online using their smartphone, and 6% their tablet, with 36% intending on doing so in the next year. 41% say that they aren’t compelled to spend using these devices, with many citing security concerns and the threat of viruses and malware as the cause. [19]

Demand by consumers in areas such as tourism-related products, e-learning, music and software purchases is significant. Services and products that reach consumers through mobile devices will grow, as Spain is considered to have one of the largest smartphone penetration rates in Europe. E-commerce software solutions for SME´s are also interesting, specific applications include advertising and marketing tools. [20]


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  2. Expert Market "Online Payment Methods Around the World."
  3. webInterpret "Expand Into Spain"
  4. webInterpret "Expand Into Spain"
  5. Spain Business "Introduction Legal Framework"
  6. webInterpret "Expand Into Spain"
  7. AT Kearney. "ECommerce Index."
  8. Ship and Bunker. "Bunkering Infrastructure."
  9. FedEx "Country Snapshots - Spain."
  10. Duty Calculator. "Import Duty Taxes When Importing into Spain."
  11. AT Kearney. "ECommerce Index."
  12. webInterpret "Expand Into Spain"
  13. webInterpret "Expand Into Spain"
  14. The Paypers "Crossborder eCommerce Spain"
  15. webInterpret "Expand Into Spain"
  16. Spain Business "Introduction Legal Framework"
  17. Spain Business "Introduction Legal Framework"
  18. webInterpret "Expand Into Spain"
  19. Worldpay. [ "Global Shopper."]
  20. "Leading Sectors"