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Digital Banking More Widespread in France than US

Mobile banking less popular but slowly rising

May 10, 2017 | Financial Services

The majority of France’s internet users will bank online in 2017, according to eMarketer’s first-ever forecast of digital banking in the country. But relatively few will do so using a mobile phone compared with the likes of the US.

This year, almost 80% of the country’s internet users—33.8 million people—will visit an online banking site at least once a month, eMarketer estimates. France has been quick to adopt digital banking and has taken the lead over some other developed markets, including the US, where just 69.3% of internet users will bank digitally in 2017.

By 2021, nearly 70% of France’s adult population and 84.3% of its adult internet users will bank online.

Digital Banking Users and Penetration in France, 2016-2021 (millions and % of internet users)

Most of these digital banking activities are fairly basic, such as checking account balances and transferring funds from one account to another. But consumers in France are also more likely to manage their financial investments online than are banking customers in other developed countries in Western Europe.

Millennials in France have taken the lead when it comes to digital banking adoption. eMarketer estimates 88.5% of internet users ages 18 to 34 will bank digitally this year. But even among seniors 65 and older, nearly 61% will use digital banking in 2017.

By contrast, mobile banking adoption in the country has been more modest. This year, 52.5% of the France’s digital bankers will use mobile phones for that activity, compared with 72.2% of US digital banking users. Further adoption will be consistent but still slow; by 2021, France’s figure is predicted to be 57.7%.

“The banking sector in France is relatively strong, and leading banks in France are more secure financially than some comparable institutions in Western Europe,” said eMarketer principal analyst Karin von Abrams. “In addition, France’s major banks were quick to see the advantages of offering highly secure digital services to their customers. This commitment undoubtedly helped to shift customers to digital platforms.”

—Sheelagh Doyle

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