6 Top Payment Methods in France 2023: Info for Merchants

French shoppers have distinct payment preferences. Explore the most popular ways to pay in France as you prepare to enter this lucrative ecommerce market.

France offers exciting opportunities for ecommerce entrepreneurs in industries from travel to cosmetics to luxury clothing and beyond. Online shopping has a French market share of an estimated $100 billion, so there's plenty of room for new businesses to break into this valuable sector. 

In this expert guide, we explore the six most popular payment methods in France so you can prepare to offer these options when you expand.


6 Top Payment Methods in France

If you decide to grow your business by establishing a physical or online presence in France, you’ll want to get familiar with these six common payment methods.

1. Credit and Debit Cards

France follows the global trend of cards as the most common payment method. French residents use debit and credit cards to make about 57% of their online purchases according to a report by Statista.

Cartes Bancaires (CB) is the most common type of credit card in France. CB partners with Mastercard and Visa to issue co-branded credit and debit cards that can be used for both traditional and ecommerce transactions.These purchases represent nearly $500 billion in annual sales, so it's a must to accept CB as a French business. In fact, about 95% of French credit cards come from this brand.

Debit cards tend to be more popular than their credit counterparts here. France also has deferred debit cards, which means the bank makes one monthly withdrawal to cover all your transactions for that period. This differs from the instant debits common with U.S. cards, so you may need to analyze the effect on your company's cash flow.

2. Digital Wallet Payments

French consumers have adopted digital wallets as the second most popular online payment method. You'll find both familiar international companies like Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal as well as France-specific options such as Lyf, Lydia and PayLib. PayLib is among the most common digital wallets in France since it connects with Cartes Bancaires.

3. Mobile Payments

About 38% of French ecommerce transactions involve payment with a digital device. Consumers who want to pay with their phones and watches in France can choose from global brands like Amazon Pay, digital wallet brands like Lyf, bank-specific apps, and mobile-only payment solutions like Revolut and Monese.

4. Buy Now, Pay Later

Transactions using Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) have increased in France over the past few years. In a 2021 Oney survey, 32% of French people said they prefer the option of flexible installment payments when making purchases online. Popular providers offering BNPL payments in France include international companies like Klarna and local options such as Alma and Floa.

5. Bank Transfers

French consumers commonly use electronic bank transfers for significant purchases and monthly payment obligations. They're often used for global transactions as well. Customers need the SWIFT or BIC code that identifies the company's bank as well as the International Bank Account Number (IBAN), so bank transfers aren't as popular for ecommerce buys. 

6. Checks

France is one of the few countries where many people still use paper checks (spelled here as "cheques"). Most banks provide free checkbooks to their customers. They can use traditional checks for large payments without the fees charged for electronic bank transfers.

The Best Way to Accept Global Payments 

Pay.com is the partner you need to take your business worldwide. You'll be ready to accept a wide variety of payment methods, whether you decide to expand to France or select a different nation for your next endeavor.

Some of the biggest benefits of using Pay.com's full-service payment infrastructure include:

  • The ability to accept a wide range of payment methods, including international options
  • High-level security that complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS)  including multi-factor authentication and other advanced ways to shield private customer data
  • Robust development options including APIs that integrate with your existing online presence
  • A transparent, flat-fee payment structure so you won't be surprised by steep charges

Click here to create your Pay.com account now.

The Bottom Line 

Accepting these six payment methods will provide a positive start for your new operations in France. Although you'll notice some national and local options when you start taking payments from French customers, you'll also run into many global digital wallets and cards that you probably already accept.

Pay.com is a comprehensive payment service provider with flexible solutions designed to grow with your business. Whether you're entering the ecommerce realm for the first time or you're making the switch from another provider, you'll be impressed with our ability to support the most popular payment methods from all over the world.

Click here to get started now!


How can my business accept payments from France?

Pay.com provides the ability to accept payments from customers in France. Your French buyers can choose from many different payment methods including international and local credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets and mobile apps. It takes just a few minutes to set up your account, and you'll just click to select the options you want your buyers to see at checkout.

Click here to sign up now!

What payment methods are used in France?

Some of the most common payment methods in France are debit and credit cards, particularly those issued by Cartes Bancaires. French consumers also use digital wallets, electronic bank transfers, buy now pay later installment arrangements, and mobile payments to buy products and services online. Checks and cash are common for physical in-person payments.

Is France mostly cashless?

France isn't quite a cashless nation yet. In fact, the Bank of France reported that consumers made about 59% of purchases in 2019 with cash. It was by far the most popular method of physical payment. However, as ecommerce expands and contactless payments become more common even for in-person transactions, cash will probably begin to fall behind in France.

What's the safest way to accept payments from France?

Pay.com is the safest way for businesses to accept payments from their French customers. We back every transaction with Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, meeting the highest industry standards for data safety. You can rest assured that we'll prevent data breaches and other issues that can jeopardize the success of your business and the trust of your clients.

Meet the author
Andrea Miller
Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. Specializing in business and finance, she has written for some of the major websites in the financial sector. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her family and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.
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