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Payment by credit card

Verified 11 May 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

A credit card allows you to pay your purchases (by payment with or without contact) at a merchant who authorizes it. It is national or international. It can also be used to make purchases at a distance (via the Internet, by telephone, by mail).

The amount of purchases paid by card is capped. This maximum amount is fixed between the bank and its client.

In most cases, the limits are set over a 7-day or 30-day period for withdrawals and payments.

The cardholder can ask his bank to temporarily increase the payment limit.

Request an exceptional increase in the payment ceiling of your credit card

A merchant may refuse payment by credit card or accept only certain cards.


if a merchant announces (through a sticker or placard) that they accept a card, they cannot refuse it.

The merchant may ask the customer to show identification. They may also require a minimum purchase amount to accept payment by credit card.

These requirements must be displayed by the merchant in their store.

To pay, the customer must:

  • or dial its PIN,
  • sign the receipt or invoice, or
  • or do both operations.

Signing is required for purchases above €1,500..

The payment order this may be subject to prior authorization from the bank that issued the card.

Contactless payment allows you to make a purchase by approaching your credit card within 4 centimeters of a special case (often called terminal).

The payment order is therefore given without a secret code, without a signature and without the presentation of an identity document.

For security reasons, the maximum amount of a contactless payment is limited.

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Card issued after September 2017

The maximum amount of a contactless payment is limited to €50 per operation.

Card issued before October 2017

The maximum amount of a contactless payment is limited to €20 per operation.

Your bank sets a ceiling on the cumulative amount of "contactless" purchases authorized (per day, per week or per month). The maximum number of consecutive transactions allowed is also limited.

When a ceiling is exceeded, the cardholder must use another means of payment.

Purchase by phone or Internet

For telephone, internet orders, the cardholder must provide the following information:

  • 16-digit card number
  • Card Due Date
  • Security number (last 3 digits on the back of your card or 4 digits on the front)

Depending on the credit card you choose, it may be possible to pay on foreign sites in foreign currency.

Customer must be vigilant. The page where the payment is made must have an address starting with https://.. Such an address ensures that the connection is secure.

In case of payment on a fraudulent site, it is possible to oppose..

Banks can also issue cards intended solely for payments over the Internet. They use data other than the regular credit card.


To secure the payment, a confirmation of the payment by SMS type Secure Mode (or by another means of verification) is often necessary.

Mail order

In case of mail order purchase, the buyer gives the payment order, returning an order form with his signature. It must also indicate the 16-digit card number and its due date.

The card can be used to pay abroad. To do this, you must have an international card.

In the following countries, bank charges for payments by credit card are the same as those paid in France:

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus (except in the north of the island, on territory under Turkish military occupation)
  • Spain
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy (except in the enclave of Campione in Switzerland)
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands (except in islands corresponding to the former Netherlands Antilles)
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Cross-border payments are at the same cost as domestic payments.

In all other countries, an exchange transaction is carried out and a commission is applied. The exchange rate and commission must be indicated on your statement of account. The exchange rate taken into account shall be that of the day of exchange of information between banks.


the card ceilings may be different abroad. It is preferable to check with your bank before leaving.

Payment transactions by credit card can be contested by ad hoc opposition or general opposition..

If a merchant unlawfully refuses a card payment, it is possible to report it to the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF).

Who shall I contact