Card payments: six French banks sanctioned for excessive fees

Posted on Dec 19 2020 at 14:33

More than 2.8 million euros: this is the cumulative amount of fines that were imposed by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) on six French banks.

BNP Paribas (1.494 million euros fine), La Banque Postale (1.168 million), Banque Populaire du Grand Ouest (74,446 euros), Afone (58,200 euros), the Crédit Agricole Normandie regional bank (48,276 euros) and the Federal Credit Union of Crédit Mutuel Maine Anjou Basse-Normandie (35,600 euros) were sanctioned for the invoicing of excessive costs during payments by bank cards, according to “Le Parisien”.

“Lack of price transparency”

During checks carried out in 2018, the DGCCRF noted 3 types of infringements. First, the “lack of price transparency” with regard to the merchant customers of these banks. The contracts signed with these VSEs and SMEs only indicated “a global commission which, for want of being detailed, does not allow competition with other banking players,” notes the fraud control expert.

Furthermore, with regard to consumer customers, “banks do not respect their obligation to provide visually identifiable debit and / or credit payment cards”, that is to say with an easily readable inscription.

Finally, the DGCCFR notes that the so-called “dual” payment cards, that is to say, offering the choice between an immediate debit or revolving credit payment when settling, “are subject to interchange fees. excessive ”(the interchange fee is paid by the merchant’s bank to that of the consumer during a bank card transaction).

A fundamental commission, because it is one of the main sources of remuneration for banks, especially in the era of free bank cards and the rise of neobanks.

BNP Paribas disputes

“Since 2015, the maximum ceiling of this interchange fee has been regulated at European level in order to avoid any abuse on the part of banks”, writes “Le Parisien”, specifying that the maximum commission has been set at 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards.

But, according to the newspaper, during the checks of 2018, “the authority noticed that all the banks checked charge 0.3% commission on too many of these dual cards, regardless of the type of settlement chosen by the consumer ”.

Main bank sanctioned with a 1.494 million euros fine, BNP Paribas contests the decision of the DGCCRF, still according to “Le Parisien”, and lodged an appeal before the administrative court of Paris.

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