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France Trails Rest of Europe for Payment Card Penetration PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 May 2016
France has the lowest card penetration in Western Europe, with less than one payment card per person in circulation, according to financial services research and insight firm Verdict Financial.  

The company’s latest report reveals a cards market which, despite its size, has been almost devoid of growth for the last five years. However, the emergence of new channels and new technologies is expected to breathe life into the French payments sector in the longer term.

Samuel Murrant, Senior Analyst covering Consumer Payments at Verdict Financial, says that new technologies have a lot of potential in the market – particularly Near Field Communication (NFC) and mobile commerce – but realizing such potential will be a slow process.

Murrant explains: “Inertia is a powerful force in payments. For all of the new technologies entering the market, it will take a long time for their benefits to become apparent to consumers.

“For example, in Verdict Financial’s most recent consumer survey of mobile wallets, 44% of French consumers stated that they had no interest in obtaining one, illustrating consumers’ general resistance to changing their paying habits.”

Banks and other card issuers are making some moves to promote contactless card technology, but even this more familiar new payment tool is failing to gain traction among French consumers, who remain unconvinced of its benefits or are concerned about its security.

Mobile payments are also highly underdeveloped, with more negative consumer attitudes than all other segments of the card payments market, and a general lack of product launches from the issuers.

Murrant adds: “In general, the French payments industry could be doing a lot more to convince consumers of the merits of new electronic payment options, which for now are going largely unrealized.”
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