Three weeks in France

About three weeks ago I moved from Hamburg-Altona to Toulouse Saint-George. Even though Germany and France are similar in many points, there are a lot of differences between these neighbors. While I’m living here, in the south of France, I’ll try to share my experience.One of the first differences, I want to focus on today, is the way of paying for goods. May it be the train ticket, any electronic device or the coffee at the bakery, in France, other than in Germany, you can pay everywhere using a credit card. This is so convenient, that on my first weekend back in Germany, I forgot to bring cash. I can not tell if the cost to process the payments is less in France than in Germany, but I have never seen a “credit cards accepted for purchases higher 20€” sign in France. Even for higher prices, credit cards are often not accepted in Germany (e.g. at IKEA or MediaMarkt – the German equivalent to Bestbuy).
Besides the acceptance of credit cards, it’s common to use a complete ancient technology to pay for goods: Cheques. I rarely had contact with cheques in my 33 years in Germany. If I remember well, it was two times, once I got a payment from a U.S. bank in 2000 and another time was in the late 80s when me and my brothers won a price which was payed with a cheque. In the first 3 weeks in France I have not only seen people paying with cheques in the supermarket, but also got one myself without having any idea how to cash it in. The other time I was asked to pay a eBay auction with a cheque. Besides the simplicity of PayPal, we have SEPA which allows free EU-wide money transfer. Both was first not accepted by the seller, as it was not secure enough- I wonder how sending a cheque in a paper envelope is more secure.
The modern France is with the acceptance of credit cards, so far it is behind by using paper where you just write a number on to pay for goods. I wonder how the difference between Germany and France changes once ApplePay reaches Both countries. I’m still hoping for a wider acceptance of credit cards in Germany and I don’t believe it will change the usage of cheques in France.

3 Replies to “Three weeks in France”

  1. Holger,

    I think that main difference about using the credit card is due to the fact that all French credit cards are with chip card.

  2. Note that Roland Moreno (French man) patented the memory card concept in 1974.
    In Germany or US, when you pay with your credit card, you have to sign.
    No signature needed with French credit card with chip card.

  3. I think that signing a cheque or signing a credit card bill is almost same level of security 😉

    In conclusion I believe that this difference might be due to the cost of using the patent. This cost was perhaps less expensive in France because it is a French patent. Since 1998 this patent is in the public domain.

    Have a good trip !!!

Leave a Reply