Credit Cards You Can Get and Use in France

Here’s an in-depth look at credit cards in France, including details about popular brands and examples:

  1. Credit Card Brands: In France, the major credit card brands accepted widely are:
    • Visa: Visa cards are widely accepted both domestically and internationally. They offer various types of credit cards, including standard, gold, and premium cards with additional benefits and services.
    • Mastercard: Mastercard is another popular credit card brand in France. They offer a range of credit cards, including standard, platinum, and World Elite cards, which provide additional perks like travel insurance and concierge services.
    • American Express (Amex): While less commonly accepted than Visa and Mastercard, American Express is known for its premium credit cards that offer exclusive benefits and rewards, such as access to airport lounges and concierge services.
  2. Local Card Networks: France also has its own local card network called “Carte Bleue.” Initially, Carte Bleue was the national debit card system, but it has evolved to include credit cards as well. Many Carte Bleue cards are co-branded with international networks like Visa or Mastercard, providing acceptance both within France and internationally.
  3. Card Features: Credit cards in France often utilize chip-and-PIN (EMV) technology for enhanced security. Cardholders must enter a PIN for most transactions, which adds an extra layer of protection against fraud. Many credit cards also support contactless payments, allowing for quick and convenient transactions by simply tapping the card on a compatible payment terminal.
  4. Rewards and Benefits: Credit cards in France may offer various rewards programs and benefits to cardholders. Examples include earning points for purchases, cashback on specific categories, discounts on travel bookings, access to airport lounges, and exclusive offers at partner merchants. Popular issuers like BNP Paribas, Société Générale, and Crédit Agricole have their own rewards programs tailored to their card offerings.
  5. Fees and Charges: Credit cards in France may have associated fees, such as annual fees, foreign transaction fees, or cash advance fees. The specific fees and charges can vary depending on the card issuer and the type of credit card. It’s essential for cardholders to review the terms and conditions of their chosen card to understand the applicable fees.
  6. Credit Card Issuers: In France, several major banks and financial institutions issue credit cards. These include BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole, Caisse d’Épargne, and many others. Each issuer offers a range of credit cards with different features, rewards programs, and benefits.


Here are some of the prominent banks that offer credit cards to customers in France:

  1. BNP Paribas: BNP Paribas is one of the largest banks in France and offers a variety of credit cards with different features, including cashback, rewards programs, and travel benefits.
  2. Société Générale: Société Générale is another major French bank that provides a range of credit cards, including standard cards, premium cards with enhanced benefits, and co-branded cards in partnership with various organizations.
  3. Crédit Agricole: Crédit Agricole is a leading French retail banking group that offers a wide selection of credit cards tailored to different customer needs, such as rewards cards, co-branded cards, and cards with exclusive travel benefits.
  4. Banque Populaire: Banque Populaire is a network of cooperative banks in France that provides credit cards to its customers, including cards with cashback options, loyalty programs, and personalized card designs.
  5. Caisse d’Épargne: Caisse d’Épargne is a network of savings banks in France that offers various credit card options, ranging from standard cards to premium cards, often with additional services like insurance coverage and concierge assistance.
  6. Crédit Mutuel: Crédit Mutuel is a mutual bank in France that issues credit cards to its customers, including cards with cashback, rewards programs, and contactless payment capabilities.
  7. LCL (Le Crédit Lyonnais): LCL is a French retail bank that provides credit cards to its customers, offering a range of options, including cards with rewards, travel benefits, and contactless payment features.


American bank credit cards can typically be used in France. Most merchants, hotels, restaurants, and other establishments in France accept major international credit card brands like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. American bank credit cards that fall under these brands can be used for various transactions in France, including in-store purchases, online shopping, and travel-related expenses.

It’s important to notify your American bank about your travel plans, including your intention to use your credit card in France. This helps them ensure the security of your account and reduce the chances of any unexpected card holds or declines due to suspicious activity.

I recommend you carry your passport as identification when traveling abroad, including in France. While credit cards are widely accepted as a form of payment, it’s a good practice to have your passport with you as a valid form of identification.

While some establishments may not require identification for credit card transactions, there may be instances where you are asked to provide proof of identity, especially for larger purchases, hotel check-ins, or when using your credit card at certain merchants. In such cases, your passport serves as an official and universally recognized identification document.