The Most Popular Payment Methods in France
In today’s world, it’s incredibly important to have access to fast and easy payment methods that you can use to make daily purchases, whether in-store or online. France has long had a reputation for being a cash-based society, but recently more and more citizens have started using electronic payment methods to carry out everyday transactions such as buying groceries or paying for public transportation.
More and more people are starting to use credit cards and online banking methods such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. These payment options allow users to pay directly from their bank account or credit card, instead of requiring them to physically carry around cash all the time. Here’s an overview of the most popular payment methods in France.
Americans tend to prefer credit cards, while Europeans typically favour bank transfers. But, it’s an e-commerce and mobile payments report shows that French consumers don’t rely on either option alone; they use a mix of both. Only around 39% of online sales were paid for with a credit card, compared to 44% with debit cards and 17% using alternative payment methods (including bank transfers). This could be due to security concerns related to online shopping or because many French merchants don’t accept credit cards—though Visa has been making strides towards implementing tap-and-go mobile payments at point-of-sale terminals throughout Europe. The United States, by contrast, primarily relies on plastic: more than 75% of U.S. e-commerce transactions were made with a credit card.
Main Card Schemes in France
Most cards in France are a Carte Bancaire (CB), the country’s national card system. A CB—which can be either a debit or credit card—is widely accepted in most commerces across the country. Both Visa and Mastercard cards are included in the CB system. When it comes to debit versus credit, it’s the latter that is more popularly used.
There are also deferred debit cards, where all monthly transactions are debited at a single time (as opposed to instantly) - which is becoming increasingly popular. If you're using a card issued by a French bank, one of the things to keep in mind is the fees and daily/monthly limits for ATMs withdrawals; these vary from bank to bank but average out around 20 euros per withdrawal with 30% surcharges after 10 pm on weekdays and weekends.
Carte Bleue is an affiliated service with Visa through CB, which provides financial services in France. The services are provided at the bank level and allow users to conduct transactions on their account without asking for authorization from their banks first; this makes them faster than regular credit cards. Similar to other debit cards, the service does not require deposits before you purchase goods or pay bills with money loaded onto the card by either transferring money over time directly or purchasing it outright. But unlike what's offered by Maestro, Visa Electron, and other brands alike there are no extra charges when spending money anywhere in France.
38.4% of French shoppers used bank transfers to pay for their purchases online last year, making it one of today’s most popular payment methods. It’s hard to imagine a world without bank transfers: they're both local and secure and have been part of our lives since we were young kids learning how to use our parents' plastic cards. They're so ingrained into our daily lives that most people don't even think about them anymore. And while other players are starting to take market share (card payments, mobile payments) there is no doubt that bank transfers will continue to be one of France’s top payment methods for years and years to come.
There is a high industry demand for mobile payments, especially among younger consumers. According to eMarketer data, just over one-third of smartphone users surveyed say they’ve made a payment using their phone at least once—and 23% have done so in a retail store. Paying with a phone rather than cash or plastic saves time by eliminating checkout lines and checkout processes. Mobile payments are growing rapidly as people download new applications and get used to paying with their phones. As more companies begin accepting mobile payments, it will become even easier for shoppers to buy on their phones. Mobile banking providers in France include: Popular national banks such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, and CIC all offer mobile services and apps. Online providers such as bunq, N26, and Revolut offer several language options, including English.
It may not be very popular, but don’t discount cash completely. It’s still widely used by consumers and retailers alike. You might need cash if you want to pay at a local market, for example—or if you simply prefer it over other payment methods. Your customers may prefer paying with cash too; they might like knowing they don’t have to pay fees when they purchase from small businesses or don’t trust putting their credit card information on file with someone else. Bottom line: As long as there are still people who pay with cash regularly, you can use it for your business—even if it means handling more physical money than virtual payments.
Alternative Payment Methods in France
One of the few countries that still take cheques as payments is France. Even though this method of payment has been losing popularity over time, most banks offer complimentary chequebooks when you open an account with them. If you have a large amount to pay but don't want to pay expensive transaction fees through banks, you can use checks as an alternate option.
SEPA Direct Debit
The SEPA Direct Debit is a Europe-centric direct debit system that allows merchants and businesses to collect euro currency payments from bank accounts in 34 SEPA countries on a one-off or recurrent basis. In non-eurozone countries such as the UK, the SEPA direct debit scheme will work alongside the existing national scheme. A SEPA Direct Debit is a transfer initiated by the merchant or business - and logically is only able to operate with the consent of the consumer (B2C) or business owner/representative (B2B). These consents are known as mandates.
SEPA Direct Debits can be divided into two categories:
- Core - This generally refers to transactions within Euro Zone Countries; but also contains some transactions outside of this zone.
- B2B - This typically refers to transactions outside of Euro Zone Countries.
SEPA Credit Transfer
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, defines a credit transfer as an irrevocable payment, initiated by a bank and performed electronically between two or more accounts held at different banks. Credit transfers are instant and irrevocable. This type of transaction typically occurs between institutions such as banks or brokerage houses and has very low fees. The European equivalent is referred to as SEPA Credit Transfer (or SEPA-Überweisung), which is a way to send money from one account holder to another within either Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France/Monaco/Italy/Luxembourg/Spain/Switzerland & Slovenia. It also requires that all individuals have access to an online banking system via their computer.
The concept of open banking refers to a set of regulations that enables banks to share customer account data with third-party providers. Open banking allows for third parties (such as financial technology companies) access to a client’s bank account, thus enabling them to provide tools or services. Unlike direct debits, open banking payments require no merchant intervention. This means that when someone makes a purchase, instead of going through the usual purchase authorization process for the merchant - customers will be redirected to their bank’s website where they need only to authenticate the payment before returning to the retailer’s site.
Though traditional e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay have been slow to penetrate French e-commerce, their payment method is popular among online shoppers. Many French buyers may be buying from international sites (e.g. American sellers on eBay or Chinese sellers on Alibaba). This may be especially true for larger purchases where there’s a high value or significant savings potential. Plus, French customers may also be buying from these same marketplaces when they can’t find local products that meet their needs. As a result, Amazon Pay is one of France's most popular payment methods for e-commerce businesses and large marketplaces alike.
Digital Wallets and Neobanks
What Are They and How Do They Work?
E-commerce has forever changed how we make payments. Digital wallets have made it even easier to pay online and they have opened up a new world of opportunities for international payments. Now, it's possible to send money to friends and family without even leaving your home—something that would have been unheard of just a decade ago. While digital wallets are convenient, they can still be confusing for those who haven't used them before. So what exactly is a digital wallet? Read on to find out more about these convenient payment methods!
The History of Digital Wallets
The first ever digital wallet was introduced by PayPal in 1999. It was simply called PayPal but now it’s known as PayPal Wallet. Back then, most people were not familiar with electronic payments or e-commerce so many weren’t sure if they could trust using their credit cards online. But because PayPal had such a good reputation, people began trusting e-commerce transactions. Soon after PayPal launched its digital wallet, Google launched its e-wallet called Google Checkout. This helped boost public confidence in e-commerce and soon other companies started developing their digital wallets. Today there are dozens of different e-wallets available including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Chase Pay, Venmo, and Amazon Pay among others.
How Do They Work?
There are two types of digital wallets: Hosted wallets and stand-alone wallets. With hosted wallets, you don’t store your money in your e-wallet. Instead, you connect directly to an account at an e-payment provider like MasterCard or Visa. When you make a purchase using one of these e-wallets, you're making a purchase from that provider instead of directly from a merchant. Some examples of hosted e-wallets include Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. Stand-alone e-wallets are also known as dumb wallets because they don’t hold any funds themselves; rather they store information about your account balances so you can quickly check how much money is left over when making purchases. An example of a stand-alone e-wallet is Venmo.
Some of the most popular digital wallets in France include
Today, Paypal is one of France’s most important e-payment systems. This platform allows you to make purchases on internet websites, as well as transfer money to a bank account or someone else directly through email. Most people choose to use Paypal because it is fast and safe and does not require them to have a bank account.
One of the great European fintech companies, N26 is a mobile-only bank. It offers customers a full banking experience – but without branch offices or ATM cash machines. I have an account with them and use their service for my finances. If you’re on the go, it might be a better solution than your traditional bank account.
Revolut, a digital-only bank, offers two distinct payment products: a prepaid debit card and an online spending management tool. Combined, these products make e-commerce a reality for businesses that don’t accept cards at checkout. For example, you can use your Revolut account as a virtual credit card to process Apple Pay or Samsung Pay transactions through your phone’s web browser. It’s easy to create recurring charges using their app as well—just set up your most common purchases (like utility bills), and they will automatically take funds out of your account each month when they come due.
This is a French application that allows you to load your credit or debit card with euros and pay through your smartphone. This is a great solution for last-minute purchases. The charge can be cancelled within an hour if you realize you’ve been charged twice, which has happened to me more than once.
With Apple Pay, you can purchase items from websites and apps and use them to buy products in brick-and-mortar stores. You just need to hold your iPhone 6 (or later) near an NFC reader for a few seconds. In some cases, you can use your fingerprint to authorize a purchase. The card that comes with Apple Pay is issued by MasterCard or Visa, depending on your bank—if you already have one of these cards, there’s no need to get a new one.
This is Google’s mobile payments app, and it’s accepted anywhere that has a contactless reader. Google Pay can also be used to make payments online by logging into any site or app that accepts them as a form of payment. In 2018, Google Pay became available throughout Europe. Since then it has been a popular payment method in France.
PayPal also has a considerable number of French users, with 41% of them using it as an online payment option.
Although cash remains one of the top ways to pay, 57% of all payments are card-based; this includes debit, credit, and prepaid.
As it does for many other countries, cash is king in France. Nearly 60% of all transactions in this country are made with physical money.
There's also a limit to what amount of physical currency you can use when making purchases.
As a French resident, you are entitled to receive a free or reasonably priced account with basic features from any commercial banking institution. If they refuse this request, you may refer the matter to the Banque de France which will designate another institution that has no other option but to comply and open your account.