Banque de France Bulletin no. 243: Article 5 Access to cash remains first-rate in France

Structurally, access to cash in metropolitan France is very satisfactory. There has been a modest reduction in the number of bank managed automated teller machines (ATMs) since 2018 but this streamlining of cash facilities has not compromised accessibility. This reduction is concentrated in the best equipped municipalities and is also offset by the significant development of certain banking network cash dispensers placed in partner retail outlets. A range of initiatives proposed by cash industry players to facilitate or improve cash distribution services are planned or are underway. The French public authorities also support these initiatives insofar as they are likely to maintain a good level of access to cash across the country.

Studies on access to cash in France have been carried out in close cooperation with cash industry players since 2018.


1 The Banque de France ensures cash accessibility

The “accessibility” working group

At the end of 2018, the Cash Industry Steering Committee, chaired by the Banque de France, set up a working group on cash accessibility. By virtue of its monetary strategy mission, the Banque de France guarantees free choice of means of payment and consequently ensures universal access to cash. The working group also falls within the more general framework of initiatives underway to define a National Cash Management Policy (see Box 1).

In accordance with its mandate, the working group on cash accessibility maps and analyses cash distribution services in France. Every year in July since 2018, the Banque de France has published an update report on public access to cash in metropolitan France based on the working group’s research. The report is prepared in close cooperation with the various cash industry partners (particularly the French Treasury, credit institutions, cashin-transit and cash-handling companies). The seven banking groups that participate in the working group (BNP Paribas, BPCE, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, HSBC, La Banque Postale and Société Générale) account for 99% of France’s ATM fleet.

On 4 October 2022, an integrated governance model (merger between the Cash Industry Steering Committee and the National Cashless Payments Committee) was adopted to create the National Payments Committee (NPC), bestowed with a consolidated view of all payment means, from cash to digital payments. This arrangement, which already exists at the European level and in other Eurosystem countries, means it will be possible to oversee the organisation of payment means in a comprehensive and even more rational manner. As an extension of the NPC, the working group on cash accessibility’s activities will continue within a new framework, the “cash continuity” working group, which will report to the NPC.

What do we mean by accessibility?

Cash “accessibility” is defined as the ease with which the public (individuals and businesses) can obtain banknotes. For the purposes of its remit, the working group regards “accessibility” as the facility of geographical access to cash, in time and distance, as opposed to other possible definitions of the term (accessibility for persons with disabilities or for the elderly or dependent, for example). …

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Banque de France Bulletin no. 243: Access to cash remains first-rate in France
  • Published on 01/23/2023
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Means of payment and currency in circulation

Updated on: 01/25/2023 16:30