Credit cards around the world: France

Our ongoing series heads to France for a look at credit card use and credit card statistics in the home of great wines and cheeses and the Eiffel Tower.

Credit report

Credit card circulation
There were 10.4 million credit cards and 76.1 million debit cards in France in 2011. With an 18.7 percent growth from 2010, there were 106.2 million prepaid  cards in France in 2011. (Euromonitor International).

Staying strong during the credit crunch
From the BBC: "If I had to use one word to describe France's financial system, the word I would choose would be "cautious." French banks are immensely careful about whom they lend money to ... This meant when the credit crunch bit, the French banks were hit a lot less hard than those in many other countries."

Cards and crime

A serious problem in France
According to a report by Anti-Phishing Working Group, France was among the top 10 countries hosting phishing sites for 5 of the first 6 months of 2011.

Chip-and-PIN pioneers
France was the first nation to implement a chip card technology to prevent fraud. France saw a sharp decline in fraud by 1995, but then followed the UK card industry's lead and began to use EMV chip-and-PIN cards in 2002. Since fraud levels were already so low, fraud losses and fraud rates have actually increased slightly. However, the rise of online transactions -- where you don't need a card to perpetrate a theft -- means that despite chip-and-PIN's success, fraud is still a major problem.

Local voices

Official tourism site

Financial news sites
- Le Monde - Business section
- Le Figaro - Business section
- La Republica

French personal financial blogs
- How an American created a French credit history
- L’économie pour tous

Country info

President: Nicolas Sarkozy

Location: Western Europe, bordering Spain, Germany and others (map)

Population: 64 million (July 2008)

Area: 248,428 sq. mi. or 643,427 sq. km. (slightly less than the size of Texas)

GDP: US$2 trillon (2007 estimate)

Key exports: iron, machinery & transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, steel, beverages

Famous French men and women: Scientist Louis Pasteur, soccer star Zinedine Zidane, designer Christian Dior, painter Claude Monet, writer Victor Hugo


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Updated: 03-25-2019