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France Country Report

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  • Published Date: April 2021

A detailed comprehensive survey of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in France, with expert commentary backed by extensive historic and forecast data.
With mobile banking gaining traction, the focus is on customisation for different needs, value-added services from new players and innovation when it comes to the types of cards on offer. The fintech/mobile ecosystem is now ripe, with many potential partnership opportunities. As elsewhere in Europe, contactless is threatening cash and digital banks are putting pressure on traditional card offerings. The French cards market is unusual in that the standard delineation between credit and debit cards does not exist.

What you can learn from this report:

Why French consumers are particularly open to BNPL.
How neobanks are gaining ground in France.
Why cashback offerings are on the rise.
The role of deferred debit in France.
How marketplace commerce is faring.

The report includes charts on the value of consumer payments CAGR (2015-20), card purchase transactions per adult, credit card revenue streams, credit card issuers market share by cards 2020 and credit card merchant acquiring market share 2020.

FRANCE CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORT | KEY FACTS

  • France's retail banking and payments landscape is dominated by five large banking groups: BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, BPCE and Crédit Mutuel.
  • Besides being the leading issuers and acquirers, they are also key stakeholders in the national card association and compete with fintechs through mobile payment services and online banking subsidiaries.
  • The new breed of neobanks vary considerably in their range of services and ownership models and are growing customer numbers rapidly.
  • Contactless transactions have risen sevenfold since 2016. The average adult made over 250 card purchases in 2020, of which 37 percent were contactless and 19 percent online.
  • There is a competitive mobile payments landscape. Homegrown 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.
  • The market for revolving credit cards has declined significantly in the last decade due to new legal restrictions on revolving credit, resulting in a substantial shift towards other forms of consumer credit.
  • Restrictions have weakened the position of consumer finance specialists such as Cetelem, which traditionally played a leading role in France's credit cards scene.

France Payments research | Report Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
French cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The card networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Appendices: Payment Card Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods

Appendix III: French cards market

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Credit card data numbers
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics

Appendix IV: Mobile payments

  • Mobile proximity payment metrics
  • Mobile P2P payments

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • French profit pool

Appendix VI: The card networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix IX: Online acquirers

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

France Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
GDP growth of 1.5% was recorded in 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic led to a contraction of 8.3% in 2020. To alleviate the effects, the French government announced a $118 billion stimulus package.

Payments Environment
The French 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 is Western Europe's second-largest cards market by billed volume, behind Britain and ahead of Germany. Total purchase volume on credit and debit cards was an estimated $709 billion in 2020. This equates to 254 purchase transactions, worth a total of $13,210 per adult in the country.

Mobile Payments
Following a relatively slow start in mobile payments prior to 2018, the number of banks both traditional and online offering the service has been increasing, which is having a positive impact on the uptake.

Profit Pool
The market is distinguished from many others in the region by the popularity of instalment loans extended through private label credit cards. Considerable income from insurance, another specific feature of the French market, has also driven profitability for credit card issuers.

Card Networks
Almost 85% of cards issued in France are issued on the domestic Cartes Bancaires (CB) network, with the majority of these co-badged with either Visa or Mastercard. Currently, CB has over 72 million cards in circulation with 11.8 billion purchase transactions made in 2020.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
The big five banking groups – BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, BPCE, Societe Generale and Credit Mutuel – dominate the issuing market in France. They issue cards through their retail banking arms as well as through consumer finance subsidiaries.

Acquiring and Processing
In contrast to many European markets, where the traditional domestic acquirers are being squeezed out by specialist acquirers, acquiring in France is carried out by the issuing banks.

Online Acquiring
(France is Europe's third-largest e-commerce market behind Germany and Britain. Amazon is the largest online retailer, but France is home to a number of successful pure-play e-commerce merchants, including Cdiscount, and Veepee.

Regulatory and Markets Information
The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) came into force in January 2018, with full implementation staggered over the following years. Its aim is to regulate new digital payments players which were outside the scope of PSD, create a more secure payments environment and move towards a more integrated single market.

France Payments Report | Entities Referenced

Accenture
ACPR
Adyen
Air France
Alipay
Alma
Amazon
American Express
AnaCap Financial Partners
Apple
Apple Pay
Arkea
Auchan
Aumax pour moi
Axa Banque
Banque Accord
Banque Carrefour
Banque de France
Banque Edel
Banque Palatine
Banque Populaire
Banque Populaire et Caisse d'Epargne
Beobank
BforBank
BHV Marais
Blank
BNP Paribas
Boulanger
Boursorama Banque
BP
BPCE
Bunq
CACEIS
CACF
CACP
Caisse d'Epargne
CAPS
Carrefour
Carte Bleue
Cartes Bancaires
Casino Group
CB
Cdiscount
CE
Cedicam
Cetelem
Checkout.com
Citi
Citigroup
Cofidis
Cofinoga
Compte Nickel
Conferma Pay
Crédit Agricole
Credit du Nord
Crédit Foncier
Crédit Mutuel
Crédit Mutuel Arkéa
Crédit Mutuel-CIC
Dalenys
Diners Club
Discover
E.Leclerc
eBay
ECB
Eko
e-rsb
Etsy
Europay
Europay France
European Banking Authority
Fevad
Fidor
Financière des Paiements Electroniques
Fivory
Fnac
Fortuneo
Fortuneo Fosfo
FPE
France Fintech
FranFinance
Franprix
French Competition Authority
Galeries Lafayette
Global Collect
Globe Trotter
Google Pay
Green-Got
Groupama Banque
Groupe CIC
Groupe Crédit Agricole
Groupement des Cartes Bancaires
Helios
Hello Bank!
HiPay
HSBC
ING Direct
Ingenico
INSEE
Instanea
JCB
Kapten
Kard
Klarna
KLM
L'Equipe
La Banque Postale
La Poste
La Redoute
Laser Cofinoga
LCL
Les Grappes
Linxo
Lydia
Lyf Pay
Ma French Bank
Market Pay
Mastercard
Mollie
Monabanq
Monetico International
Monext
MoneyVox
Mooncard
N26
National Cashless Payments Committee
National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies
Natixis
Nickel
Nuapay
Observatory for the Security of Payment Means
Ogone
Olympic Games
Oney Bank
Onlyone
Orange Bank
OSMP
Panorabanques
Partecis
Paybox
PayCert
Paylib
Payline
PayPal
PayPlug
Pixpay
Point
Printemps
Prismea
Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority
Pumpkin
Raisin Bank
Revolut
Rue du Commerce
S2P
Samsung Pay
SAS Carte Bleue
Scalapay
Sephora
Shine
SICB
SNCF
Société Générale
Sofinco
STET
Stripe
Targobank
Tencent
TrueLayer
UNESCO
UnionPay
Veepee
Vente-Privée
Verifone
Visa
Wa!
WeChat Pay
WeStart
Wirecard
World Bank
Worldline
Xaalys

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