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What is SOFORT and how does it work?

July 22, 2022

This goes to show that SOFORT is becoming more popular every day, but what exactly is SOFORT and how does it work? 

When choosing a payment service provider, there are many different options. One option that is catching more attention is SOFORT banking.

If you’d like to learn all about SOFORT and how it can benefit you, keep reading.

What is SOFORT?

In short, SOFORT is an online banking repayment method that is available for users who want to make online bank repayments. This banking method is not unlike IDEAL which is very popular with Dutch bank account owners.

There are eight countries where SOFORT is available including:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain

To use the SOFORT repayment method, you must have a bank account in one of the countries mentioned above. 

How does it work?

The SOFORT payment method arranges a transaction between the merchant you are purchasing from and your bank.

You can place your banking details into SOFORT ahead of time, so it will automatically bring up your bank account options for you. 

Then, once you make a purchase, your bank will authenticate the payment that you’re making so the money can be taken out of your bank account. 

Typically, it can be anywhere from 2 to 14 business days before the payment gets confirmed. 

What can it be used for?

SOFORT can be used for multiple purposes, but it mostly gets used for online checkouts. 

As mentioned before, users can also use the SOFORT methodto include their prefilled bank information and help make the payment process more convenient. 

You’d be able to use this service with any merchant that enabled it as an option on their checkout page.

Who accepts it?

With the growing popularity of SOFORT, many different places accept it. You’ll find it most often with merchants online. 

These merchants can own services like online retail stores, clothing stores, or any other online form of products. 

Some other services accept SOFORT as a payment method including general services that require recurring monthly payments. All of these services must operate within the 8 countries that we have previously mentioned.

This is because SOFORT is exclusively used in these countries at the moment. 

How is it different from PayPal?

One of the differences between PayPal and SOFORT is that Paypal operates in almost every country around the world. 

Another difference is the fact that PayPal requires many steps to authenticate and process payments. However, SOFORT uses 'recognized online banking' so it has fewer steps for authenticating and processing payments.

Paypal also holds your money in an E-wallet and you can use this E-wallet to pay for goods. However, SOFORT doesn’t do this. Instead, it contacts your bank using pre-filled information to make a payment.

What are the benefits of SOFORT?

The great thing about SOFORT is that it offers you many benefits. 

Low transaction fees

In comparison to many other payment methods, SOFORT offers relatively low transaction fees. This can help you save money when you need to make a repayment.

Also, if you have to make a lot of repayments and you know you’ll be using the same repayment method frequently, you’ll save even more in the long run with SOFORT. 


Unfortunately, there are some payment methods out there that are not very safe. This can put both your personal information and your finances at risk.

However, SOFORT is a safe option for transferring your money when making repayments. It has a secure authentication process that is set up with your bank to ensure that all payments are legitimate.  

Real-time transaction notifications 

The moment that your direct payments have gone through, you’ll receive a notification. This allows you to stay up to date with your payments and track them.

Without receiving information on these transactions, you may not know whether or not they have gone through successfully. 

How can you use SOFORT with bunq?

At bunq, we always want to make payments easy and secure for our users. To get started, you’ll need to get a bunq account in just 5 minutes.

You can use SOFORT to pay bunq.me requests. Another way you can use SOFORT at bunq is to top up bank account payments. You can simply select the option to do this and get started. 

Use bunq today 

Get started with bunq to enjoy our integration with SOFORT, and many other features that Make Life Easy. Sign up for your 30 day free trial. 

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