26 April, 2012 – 10:51
The French banking industry has been called upon to make a bigger investment in electronic payment methods, under proposals to halve the number of cheques processed in the next five years.
The proposals, contained in a Comité Consultatif du Secteur Financier (CCSF, part of the Banque de France) report into methods of payment, suggests twenty ways that banks in France could unburden themselves of the high costs of processing paper cheques, which account for 18% of non-cash payments in the country. This compares to an EU average of under seven per cent.The CCSF says the 3.1 billion cheques used each year by consumers cost retailers and banks a collective €2.4bn to handle and process.The CCSF argues that the heavy costs of cash and cheque processing has dissuaded banks from investing in electronic payment systems, creating opportunities for non-bank competitors like PayPal to steal market share. The report urges the banking industry to work together on developing alternative Web-based and mobile payment channels.