The Autorité de la concurrence has obtained a substantial reduction in the two main fees associated with payments and withdrawals from the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB Bank Cards Group)
At the end of a negotiated procedure with the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (GIE CB), which includes over 130 banking players1, the Autorité de la concurrence has issued a decision whereby it has made the commitments proposed by the GIE CB mandatory. These aim to substantially reduce most inter-bank fees for "CB" payment card transactions. These fees had not changed in over twenty years.
A very extensive field which will eventually cover all means of payment (except cash)
|Means of payment||% of use (in volume)2||Source of referral to the Authority||Examination by the Authority|
|Cheque||22.3 %||Own initiative||Decision 10-D-28 of 20 September 2010 (sanction)|
|"CB" bank card||35 %||Referal from the Fédération des entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution (FCD)
and the Conseil du Commerce de France (CdCF)
|Decision 11-D-11 of 7 July 2011 (commitments)|
|Other "four point" bank cards3||around 1.1 %||Investigation under way|
|Other non-cash payment means||Debit 21.1%
Inter-bank payment slip 0.8%
Bill of exchange 0.7%
Remote payment 0.1%
|Inter-bank fee||Amount of fees prior to the procedure before the Autorité||Final commitments accepted by the Autorité||% reduction in relation to amounts before the procedure|
|Inter-bank payment fee (CIP)||0.47 % of the transaction on average||0.30 % of the transaction on average||-36 %|
|Inter-bank withdrawal fee(CIR)||€0.72||€0.57||-21 %|
|Card withholding service||€38||
|-51 % (withdrawal)
-44 % (payment)
These commitments have become mandatory and their implementation will begin on 1 October 2011. Bruno Lasserre, President of the Autorité de la concurrence, has welcomed this positive outcome and stated: “The significant reduction of the payment fee will put France in fifth place among European countries with the lowest levels of interchange fees. It should lead to a reduction in the charges applied by banks to all their customers, both retailers as well as individuals, who are cardholders.”
The Autorité de la concurrence has also got the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires to extend the scope of the fees to which the commitments relate and to modify the period of said commitments.
Apart from the level of fees, the Groupement has also reviewed the general conditions of its commitments. The commitments entered into will relate to not only “consumer” cards but also professional cards4. Moreover, in order to take account of the developing market context, the period of the commitments has been reduced from 5 to 4 years.
Under the auspices of a steering committee chaired by the Autorité de la concurrence, these 4 years will be used to lay down a methodology that can be used to revise fees at the end of the proposed commitments (in 2015). This committee will include, in particular, representatives of retailers as well as the banks.
Other procedures underway
Over the upcoming months, the Autorité de la concurrence will turn its attention to the inter-bank fees set by other card payment systems (Mastercard, Visa, etc.) and those applying to other means of payment (in particular debits).
1The members of the management board of GIE Cartes Bancaires are CIC, Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Banque Postale, HSBC France, BPCE, Crédit Agricole, LCL, Crédit du Nord, Crédit Mutuel, la Société des Paiements Pass S2P and Banque Accord.
22009 figures (commercial cards and American Express cards not included)
3Bank cards of other quadripartite systems (Mastercard, Visa, etc.), which don't display the “CB” logo and are therefore used outside of the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires network.
4Cards made available to employees by their employers for their professional expenses.
For more details, please see the press kit: