Payment methods in France

Hello everyone,

Once you're settled in France, you will need to make some basic purchases, like groceries or pay bills. Hence, it is essential to know the payment methods available in your host country.

Which are the most common payment methods in France? Why would you prefer some forms over others?

Does the amount of money or the type of paid services (groceries, bills, rent, etc.) determine the choice of payment methods?

Are there any apps at your disposal which make the payment process easier in France?

Can certain foreign currencies be used to make payments?

Have your habits in terms of payment methods changed since moving to France?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


Once I moved to France I realized that local banks protect their turf BIG time. I could not open the account in Orange phone company's bank because it would not accept payment/deposit from an American or Luxembourg's credit cards. The company's rep used her own (french) card to help me! Credit cards are on an average 150€/year and some online banks give you a credit for purchases, so at the end, it may not cost you anything. I did not like the setup and continue using my American credit cards that are not only free,  but earn air miles. I opened an account with Capital One that does not charge foreign transaction fees and earns 1.25 miles for each $ you spend.
In France I opened the account with Credit Agricole,  which is not as cheap as online banks, but at least it is reliable. It charges me 4.5€/month (unheard of in US), but that was an acceptable option to pay your bills and write checks.
In general, I found that French banks are not customer oriented and not as sophisticated in their technology as US banks. Wiring takes at least 3 days, transactions are not shown online for about a day and getting a hold of someone un the bank is limited to their business hours, which even exclude lunch time. Forget about calling at night or even after 5 pm.
I will most likely have to open a credit card account with a French bank because I cannot even pay for parking with my American card,  and my card was refused several times at the Government related offices. Well, c'est la vie:)

I was surprised to see that cheques are still in very common use in France.  I still use my debit cards the most, but I also find that I use cash a lot more than I did in New Zealand because in provincial France there are still a lot of places that don't have card facilities like some taxis for example.  I do have online banking too and a french banking app.