The use of credit cards in France is substantially less than in the U.S. The average credit cardholder in the U.S. has 3.7 cards as of 2018, and 7 percent of Americans hold seven or more. This compares to France, where individuals have a less than one credit card one average and a much more conservative attitude towards debt. It can be difficult to get a French credit card as the application process is so stringent.
If you are not registered for online banking, you can get an application form for a French credit card from your bank. Go to the information desk in your bank and request a card application form. Complete the form and hand back to the banker for processing.
Understand your options.
French credit cards are issued by your bank. The three most popular brands are Eurocard, Visa or MasterCard. The major difference between credit cards in France and the U.S. is you can generally only use your credit card up to the amount you have available in your bank account, unless you have made specific arrangements with your bank. This has a substantial effect on keeping credit card debt low. Be sure that a French credit card is the right choice for you before you begin.
Initiating Your Application
Apply online to get a French credit card if you have set up online banking. Not all French banks offer this service, but if they do it’s the fastest way to get a credit card. Major domestic and international banks are the best source. For example, HSBC France offers various credit card options online. You need to have a French bank account in order to get a French credit card.
Go to your chosen bank's website to get your French credit card. Click “Personal” and then “Credit Cards;” the terms used may vary. Many French banks do not present an English-language option. Read about the types of credit cards available, the terms, conditions, charges and benefits. Select the French credit card you want to apply for then click “Apply Now.”
Completing Your Login
Complete the login process then click on "Apply for a Credit Card” or similar term. Complete the application form, then click “Continue.” Review your application and confirm you accept the banking terms and conditions. Click “Submit.” Your application will be verified. Some French banks will give you instant approval, but generally you will receive notification via mail.
- French-Property.com: French Bank Cards
- HSBC France: Credit Cards
- Creditcards.com: Credit Card Ownership
- Financial Conduct Authority: Credit Card Market Study
- AnnualCreditReport.com. "All about credit reports." Accessed Aug. 27, 2020.
- Discover. "FREE Credit Scorecard with your FICO Score." Accessed Aug. 27, 2020.
- myFICO. "Free Credit Scores Estimator: Get Your Estimated FICO Scores Range." Accessed Aug. 27, 2020.
- U.S. Congress. "H.R.627 - Credit CARD Act of 2009." Accessed Aug. 27, 2020.
- If you are not registered for online banking, you can get an application form for a French credit card from your bank. Go to the information desk in your bank and request a card application form. Complete the form and hand back to the banker for processing.
Stephen Benham has been writing since 1999. His current articles appear on various websites. Benham has worked as an insurance research writer for Axco Services, producing reports in many countries. He has been an underwriting member at Lloyd's of London and a director of three companies. Benham has a diploma in business studies from South Essex College, U.K.