France - Country Commercial Guide
Methods of Payment

Discusses the most common methods of payment, such as open account, letter of credit, cash in advance, documentary collections, factoring, etc. Includes credit-rating and collection agencies in this country. Includes primary credit or charge cards used in this country.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

For U.S. exporters, financing export sales is the same as financing domestic sales. Prompt payment for the goods/ or services delivered is always a concern.
France’s modern banking system offers a full range of payment methods including:
Commercial letters of credit such as: sight and time drafts, bank transfers, certified checks, and electronic payments including electronic payment orders, pre-formatted inter-bank payment orders, electronic commercial trade bills, and electronically processed promissory notes for use in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Cross-border payment services are becoming faster, cheaper and safer in Europe. As of January 28, 2008, businesses are able to make faster euro credit transfers. Since November 1, 2010, payments with direct debit are available, and businesses are able to set up cross-border direct debits in euros between two SEPA countries.   On February 14, 2012 the European Parliament set February 1, 2014 as the deadline for banks to ensure that their payment schemes comply with the SEPA Regulation.  The EU commission did not change the formal deadline for migration, but extended the SEPA changeover by six months. This provides German banks more time to transfer to the SEPA payment system and ensure minimal disruption for consumers and businesses.  The deadline will be October 31, 2016 for banks established in non-Eurozone Member States.

Alternatively, the Commerce Department’s Market Research Library is available under Country and Industry Market Reports:  Market Intelligence