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Money in France

Debit Card ‘Cashback’ in France

Thursday 06 September 2018

The government have granted retailers the right to offer debit card cashback to their customers, although whether either shops or shoppers want it remains to be seen.

Supermarket shoppers in the UK will be familiar with being granted the option of cashback at checkout, but it is not a practice that occurs in France.

Some local shops offer the service, but the large chains do not, and until recently there was no legal basis for it to take place.

The only form of cashback that has existed have been marketing programmes by credit card companies that grant rebates or vouchers to on-line shoppers buying products from their affiliated partners.

The idea of debit card cashback is a distinctly British one, having been introduced by Tesco as a way of improving the service they offered to customers.

In 2015 the right of retailers to offer cashback was enshrined in a European payment services directive, which has now been transposed into French law.

A decree is awaited on the detailed arrangements, but once in place it should be possible to purchase goods with a retailer and obtain cash with the purchase.

The level of the cashback has been capped at a maximum of €60, and retailers will be permitted to charge a fee. In addition, it will only be available as part of a purchase transaction.

What is as yet unclear is the level of enthusiasm among retailers to take up the idea, but it does not appear to have met with their unanimous support.

Sylvie Montandon, who is president of the association of retailers, shows no great enthusiasm for it, stating, "À chacun son métier."

‘It's up to the banks to distribute money, not us", she stated. “We would have to manage liquidity as well and that would expose us. We're not secure like banks."

Anyone going into their local boulangerie for a baguette and asking for cashback is certainly likely to be given little change!

With the ability of shoppers to also now use contactless cards for many small purchases, there may also be some doubt as the extent to which it will be taken up by the public.

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