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France Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: June 2023


A comprehensive overview of France's cards, payments and consumer banking market, with clearsighted commentary backed by relevant data.
Card payments in France have grown dynamically, with digital wallets, on the back of instant-payments infrastructure, becoming increasingly popular for online purchases.
French authorities are promoting the adoption of contactless, mobile payments and instant transfers in place of cash and cheques for both consumers and businesses.
BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, BPCE and Crédit Mutuel dominate the retail banking landscape in France.
Besides being the leading issuers and acquirers, these banking groups are also key stakeholders in the national card association and compete with fintechs through mobile-payment services and online-banking subsidiaries. It makes for a competitive mobile payments landscape in France.

Multifunction cards in the French market.

Multifunction cards continue to be a feature of the cards market in France, with different combinations of debit, deferred debit and credit functionality available on a single card.
Cash use has been popular for many years, but that has changed dramatically recently, with the debit card becoming the preferred payment method for small-ticket items, especially through contactless. Card-loyalty cashback programs have also been gaining considerable traction in France.

Global players in the French cards market

Over three-quarters of cards issued in France are branded with the domestic Cartes Bancaires network, of which a majority are co-badged with Visa or Mastercard. Although cards carry Visa or Mastercard branding, most transactions are processed through the domestic scheme. Networks mainly compete for market share by offering merchants incentives to encourage their network's preselection.

How are other players faring?

Homegrown French options such as Paylib, Lyf Pay and Lydia compete with Apple, Samsung and Google. Most bank-issued cards are issued on the domestic Cartes Bancaires network and co-badged with Visa or Mastercard. Deferred debit cards are more common than revolving credit cards and attract higher transaction volumes. Local BNPL start-up Elyn is the first in this space to offer a try-before-you-buy option. Paris-based Worldline has recently been involved in a lot of mergers throughout Europe.

Lessons from this report

The report explores France's payments system covering infrastructure payment preferences, consumer payment trends and the development of online payment systems. The report gives an expert analysis of the payment and card markets operating in France with detailed intelligence on cards in circulation, key issuers' market share, transaction numbers and billed volumes. You can also learn details of regulatory policy and developments in supervisory roles in the payment card market for France. The report enables clients to understand and evaluate key market trends and growth opportunities in France's cards and payments industry.

France Payments Research | Report Contents

Key facts
Payments environment
Cards market
Fintech and mobile payments
Credit card profitability
Merchant acquiring
Regulatory environment

France Country Report Data Tables
(All 2017-2026F unless otherwise stated)

Appendix I: Payments environment
1: Demographic and economic indicators.
2: Ownership of key consumer devices.
3: Internet usage by population.
4: Access points: 2017-23F.
5: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2017-23F.

Appendix II: Cards market

6: Total card payment metrics.
7: Contactless cards metrics.
8: Credit card numbers.
9: Total credit card metrics.
10: Credit cards profitability indicators.
11: Debit card numbers.
12: Debit card metrics.

Appendix III: Mobile payments

13: Mobile proximity payment metrics.

Appendix IV: Profit pool

14: France market profit pool including credit card numbers, billed volumes, outstandings, interest incomes, net interest revenues, merchant revenues, card fee revenues, other non-interest incomes, total revenues, net credit losses, operating expenses, total expenses, pre-tax profits, merchant service charges, rollover rates, APR, net credit losses to outstandings, operating costs to revenues, ROA (pre-tax profits to outstandings).

(All below 2017-2024F unless otherwise stated)

Appendix V: The networks

15: Networks' credit card market shares.
16: Credit card interchange fees by network.
17: Networks' debit card market shares.
18: Networks' debit card numbers.
19: Debit card interchange fees by network.

Appendix VI: Key retail banks and issuers

20: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2019-24F.
21: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2019-24F.
22: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2019-24F.

Appendix VII: Acquiring and processing

23: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: 2023E.
24: Credit card merchant service charges: 2017-26F.
25: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2023E.
26: Debit card merchant service charges: 2017-26F.
27: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
28: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
29: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: 2023E.
30: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: 2023E.

France Country Report | Selected Extracts

Payments Environment
The government and central bank are promoting the adoption of contactless, mobile payments and instant transfers in place of cash and cheques for both consumers and businesses.

Cards Market
France's payment cards market is developed: at the end of 2022, per 100 adults, there were 185 cards – of which the majority were debit cards, accounting for almost two-thirds of total transactions. This market is unusual in that the standard credit/debit delineation is absent. Cards often contain multiple functions and are referred to simply as 'bank cards'.

Ranked third in Europe, France is surpassed in e-commerce only by Germany and Britain. The market had an estimated value of almost $157 billion in 2022, having increased almost seventy per cent in value since 2017.

Fintech and mobile
A new wave of challenger banks has entered this market. These include homegrown operations as well as European institutions taking advantage of the EU's passporting rules. According to a recent report from Paylib, half of consumers intend to use contactless mobile payment in stores during 2022, while 42 per cent said they were interested in transferring funds via mobile.

Credit Card Profitability
In the absence of a fully developed revolving-credit-cards market, profitability in the sector has been somewhat restricted. However, local issuers have successfully adjusted their business models to accommodate French consumers' attitudes towards credit.

Over three-quarters of cards issued here are branded with the domestic Cartes Bancaires network, of which a majority are co-badged with Visa or Mastercard. Domestic transactions on co-badged cards have traditionally been processed through CB, with the Visa or Mastercard network used for international transactions

Large retailers, including Auchan and Carrefour, compete with banks in the retail banking market through their consumer finance subsidiaries: Banque Accord and Banque Carrefour, respectively. Both banks have a significant presence in the revolving credit and pay-later card markets.

Merchant Acquiring
In contrast to many European markets, where long-entrenched domestic acquirers are being squeezed out by specialist competitors, acquiring in France is carried out by the issuing banks. French acquirers have largely focused on their domestic market. Although the market is competitive, several banks have formed alliances with rivals to share processing costs.

Regulatory Environment
Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR): is responsible for financial supervision in France. The ACPR is attached to the central bank (Banque de France) and was formed in 2010 to foster a more robust and integrated regulatory environment.


Argus Advisory Research reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. Analysts and researchers use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and local experts. See more europe/ http://local.28269 or explore the full range of worldwide/ http://local.28269 available for markets worldwide.

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