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French credit card market controlled by Groupement des Cartes Bancaires and MasterCard

Industry Sector

Finance and Banking


21 January 2013


Alex De Angelis

Type of News


The French credit card market is relatively small, it is very rare to see one being used for day-to-day purchases. Pretty much everyone has a carte bancaire, but those are debit cards. In fact, last year it was estimated that there were just 34 million French credit cards in circulation.

According to the CIA World Factbook there were an estimated 62.8 million people living in mainland France in July 2011 so we're looking at roughly half a card per head.

In 2012 the transaction value of credit cards increased by 13% in current value terms, to reach €15.7 billion and in the same year the number of cards in circulation increased by 8%.

In 2012 the number of transactions increased at a slower pace compared with the value generated by these transactions; thus meaning that the average spend per transaction increased in 2012 (by more than 2%). French consumers increased their spending, and did not hesitate to pay with the revolving credit available on their cards.

In terms of operators, the French credit card market is highly concentrated. Groupement des Cartes Bancaires and MasterCard International accounted for shares of 50% and 39% respectively in terms of cards in circulation in 2011.

They also held shares of 64% and 22% respectively in terms of transaction numbers, and finally 51% and 23% in terms of transaction value.

Regarding issuers, the leading player continued to be Société des Paiements PASS (S2P) and Groupe Crédit Agricole. Their shares were 36% and 13% respectively in terms of cards in circulation, and 12% and 11% in terms of transaction value in 2011.

In transaction value terms, the French credit card market is expected to increase by a constant value compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% between 2012 and 2017.

For more information on the French credit card market, see the latest research: French Credit Card Market

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