Although consumption experienced a period of trough, in March and April, the health crisis unsurprisingly changed our relationship to our bank cards, to the detriment of cash. According to Banque de France data shared by The Parisian, the bank card has become “THE star of the year”, with “Two thirds of French respondents say they have paid for their last transaction by card”.
Maximum contactless payment statement
The explanation takes several elements into account. The first, and perhaps the most significant of the acceleration in 2020, relates to the increase in the contactless payment cap since May 11. From 30 to 50 euros, this made it possible to extend the use of the card to a greater share of expenditure while respecting barrier gestures, and supermarkets have benefited the most. According to data from the CB Observatory, updated last October, the growth of bank cards at these merchants was around 41.1% compared to the second half of 2019.
For the recent announcement of the Banque de France study, the share of contactless payments by bank card was 39%, or more than half of bank card uses. With our European or international neighbors, the ceilings are often even higher (several hundred euros as in Canada), but France is still wary (rightly) of the insecurity of the method victim of fraudulent operations (in particular in the transports). In fact, contactless payment does not require any authentication from the user to proceed with a transaction.
Increase in online payments and barrier gestures
The health crisis has now contributed more widely to the increase in the use of our cards. On the one hand, the boom in online sales marked the economy in 2020, and companies like Amazon, but also wave-surfing fintechs were perfect witnesses of this. For these transactions, cash therefore lost its representation, excluded from the entire digital economy. On the other, barrier gestures. Paying cash at the cash desk, despite the protections in place, could be compared to non-compliance with health precautions.
“Cash withdrawals from ATMs (ATMs) have fallen by around 20% in volume and 10% in value since the start of the crisis”, indicated Thierry de la Bretèche, deputy director of fiduciary activities at the Banque de France at Parisian. “This change in behavior should be maintained at least in part over time”, he added, qualifying in particular its improbable disappearance in the medium term, while approximately “500,000 people without a bank account have no other method of payment and we must not forget the need, accentuated by the crisis, to hoard, to keep cash at home as a precaution”.
Burst of online banks
To keep up with this dynamic, online banks are bridging the gap between the advance of neo-banks and the tradition of traditional banks. We have seen many dematerialized institutions this year, like Boursorama Banque, completely revise their offer to highlight their bank cards.
They have become sexier, more accessible, often more upscale as well, and have accelerated the trend to change their names to names specific to bank offers rather than that of their issuer. For example, Boursorama Banque has definitely left aside its Visa Classic and Visa Premier offers, for Ultim and Ultim Metal cards (Visa always).
Now, traditional establishments are divided between the idea of developing new, more secure bank cards, as at BNP Paribas and Société Générale with dynamic cryptogram technologies or fingerprint readers, and that of trusting new payment protocols. mobile.
Indeed, the one which still represents only a tiny part of the payments makes it possible to pay via smartphone with a virtual card generated by the bank. At establishments like Revolut and N26, it has become a real argument. So that Societe Generale launched its own functionality in early July.