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French card payments market led by Groupe Crédit Agricole as the most dominant issuer

Industry Sector

Finance and Banking


24 January 2013


Mike King

Type of News


In 2012, the French card payments market became more and more significant amongst French consumers. This payment method is increasingly preferred over cash and cheques, in part because it is more convenient, but also because the banks actively push their card products, offering rewards to customers for making card payments.

Issuing banks are also active in launching new products to attract consumers' interest. As such, whilst cash is still the most popular payment method in France, well ahead of financial cards, it was gradually losing share towards 2012.

In 2011 Groupement des Cartes Bancaires continued to be the leading operator of within the French card payments market. The local operator had a dominant value share and share of cards in circulation in France.

In terms of issuers, the most important player was Groupe Crédit Agricole. This issuer was followed by several other banking groups, such as Groupe BNP Paribas and La Banque Postale. All of them are present in the majority of categories in financial cards, and have a strong position in some.

Pre-paid cards and credit cards saw the best performance within the French card payments market in 2012. These two types of cards still have potential for growth, as they have low penetration in comparison with, ATM or debit function cards.

In terms of pre-paid cards, more players continue to invest strongly in product innovation. In terms of credit cards, issuing banks encourage their customers to use credit cards, with more rewards offered tied to credit card usage.

Between 2012 and 2017, several categories within the French card payments market are expected to see their average spend per transaction decrease. Low consumer confidence in the future will continue to limit the amount French consumers spend on purchasing goods and services.

For example, the unfavourable European economic outlook and the still fragile economic situation in the country is expected to continue to lead French consumers to delay more important purchases, and consequently use the revolving credit they can access through their credit cards less.

For more information on the French card payments market, see the latest research: French Card Payments Market

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