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Cashless payments in France - Statistics & Facts

Cashless payments refer to all financial transactions conducted through a digital transfer, rather than using physical money. The development of electronic banking worldwide has contributed to popularizing cashless payments, with the volume of transactions increasing from year to year. This trend is also noticeable in France, where cashless payments have become more and more popular, and have established themselves as a major player in the payment industry. In 2019, bank cards were the most preferred method of payment in France, before cash.

While checks remain common in France, more than in other European countries, use has started to decline over the past few years. Indeed, French people are using less and less checks to pay, for the benefit of other means of payment such as direct debit and bank transfers. Both direct debits and bank transfers represent accessible ways of payments used in France more than before. While direct debit is a convenient means of payment for daily consumption products, such as electricity or phone bills, bank transfer proves to be a safe instrument when it comes to large amounts of money. The term bank transfer includes all types of money transfers, such as credit transfer and wire transfer, as there generally is no clear distinction made in France. While the average value of payments by bank transfer has decreased since 2011, it remains the cashless means of payment with the most important average value in France.

As most preferred means of payment, bank card payments have experienced a real boom in France. Bank cards are commonly used throughout France and offer various services approved by the population, including contactless payment. While the majority of French people still prefer to pay with bank cards by entering a code, the number of contactless payments has kept growing over the years, and reached over two billion in 2018.

Following the expansion of electronic banking, cryptocurrencies have slowly developed in France. Far from the enthusiasm generated in the United States, virtual currencies are known and understood mostly by young people under 35 years old. The majority of the French population actually doesn't know cryptocurrencies very well and remains reluctant to use them, preferring other emergent cashless methods such as online and mobile payments. Online and mobile payments offer a wide range of services, making it easy to purchase online. While bank cards remain the preferred payment instrument for online purchases, payment applications, such as Paypal, are becoming more and more popular among the French population.


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