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France card payments market increased by 3.2% CAGR during 2009 to 2013
France's Cards and Payments Industry: Emerging Opportunities, Trends, Size, Drivers, Strategies, Products and Competitive Landscape - a new market research report on 2014-08-21 00:26:01
France is the world´s most visited country and the third-largest in terms of income generated from tourism, according to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with around 80 million foreign tourists visit France on an annual basis. The economy underwent a slowdown in 2008–2009, with a prolonged impact on the overall financial services industry.

The economy showed signs of recovery and emerged from the slowdown to record GDP growth of 0.15% in 2013. Forecast-period economic growth is expected to result in more investments in the cards and payments industry.

In terms of number of cards in circulation, the card payments channel as a whole grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.20% during the review period (2009–2013), primarily driven by the prepaid and debit card categories. The credit and charge card categories registered a decline during the review period. The slow growth was primarily the result of the financial and European debt crises.

During the review period, prepaid cards registered the highest growth, at a CAGR of 6.84% and debit cards posted a CAGR of 5.95%. The industry is expected to post a forecast-period (2014–2018) CAGR of 3.83%, driven primarily by the debit cards category which is expected to post a CAGR of 5.13%. The prepaid cards category is projected to post a forecast-period CAGR of 3.99%, while credit cards are expected to register a CAGR of -1.21%. The charge cards category declined at a review-period CAGR of -5.85% and is expected to register a forecast-period CAGR of 2.71%.

In terms of number of cards in circulation, the highest market share in 2013 was occupied by the prepaid card category which accounted for 46.0% and is expected to grow at a forecast-period CAGR of 3.99% to reach 147.7 million cards in 2018. In terms of cards in circulation, the prepaid cards category grew from 91.2 million cards in 2009 to 118.8 million cards in 2013. The debit card category exhibited the second-highest share in 2013 and is expected to post a forecast-period CAGR of 5.13%. During the review period, the number of debit cards in circulation grew from 70.8 million in 2009 to 89.2 million in 2013, at a CAGR of 5.95%.

In partnership with Banque Accord, BNP Paribas, and Crédit Agricole, Natural Security (user-authentication technology provider) launched a pilot project in October 2012, combining a smart payment card, biometrics and mid-range contactless communication in France. The pilot was completed in March 2013 with the participation of more than 900 consumers. The output was positive and over 90% of users were in favor of adopting the payment method.

Supermarket chains such as Leroy Merlin and the Auchan Group have launched test biometric payment systems. Customers can make payments through the system by scanning their fingerprints instead of a card. An exchange of data takes place between the card account and the fingerprint reader as soon as the customer places their hand on the scanner, resulting in high levels of customer privacy and security.

To encourage philanthropy, many French banks offer cards specifically focused on such activities. Banks target customers involved in charitable activities to provide specialized cards for charitable programs. La Banque Postale offers a card whereby the cardholder can make donations associated with Unicef. An annual contribution of EUR2 is donated along with the card´s annual fee.

Multi-functionality cards are attracting customers by providing access to several accounts via one card. The most popular combination of functionalities is debit and credit facilities. This concept was first offered in Australia and then adopted by other countries. Crédit Agricole is offering MasterCard Dual Action, a credit card which can be used as a debit card by selecting the ´Cash´ option at payment terminals.

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