Credit Agricole, Worldline partner to boost digital payments in France

French retail banking company Crédit Agricole and payment services provider Worldline have formed a joint venture (JV) to enable digital payment services for merchants in France.

The two companies formed the JV, which aims to become a major player in payment services in France, following unconditional authorisation from the European Commission (EC).

The JV will leverage Worldline’s technological performance and capabilities, and Crédit Agricole’s merchant-acquiring activities in the French market.

It will also be responsible for the commercial development of the alliance with merchants while providing active support to the banks within the Crédit Agricole group.

Worldline will own 50% plus one share in the JV, while Crédit Agricole will hold 50% of the capital less than one share and will supervise the JV.

Crédit Agricole deputy general manager, digital and payments in charge of technology Jean-Paul Mazoyer said: “After a period of preparation, the launch of our joint venture marks the real starting point of our partnership with Worldline.

“This partnership with a major player in the payments business reflects Crédit Agricole’s ambition to strengthen its leadership in the payments business, a service at the heart of the banking relationship.

“Our joint venture, which combines Worldline’s technological expertise in the acceptance business with the performance and commercial dynamism of the banks in the Crédit Agricole group, indeed reflects our shared ambition to offer our merchants’ customers the very best payment solutions.

“Under the responsibility of Meriem Echcherfi, Managing Director, our joint venture will rapidly become a key player and leader in the French market.”

The JV will integrate the domestic payment scheme of Cartes Bancaires (CB), France’s national interbank network with more than 46,000 ATMs and one million EFTPOS acceptance points.

In addition to French merchants, Worldline will provide its global merchants with access to the CB scheme, extending its wide range of local payment methods.

In the 2023-2024 phase, Worldline and Crédit Agricole Finance will make a joint investment of €80m to develop products and offerings and implement the joint venture.

This year, the companies will finalise commercial agreements, establish operational structure, prepare regulatory procedures of dedicated offers and announce the new brand.

In early 2025, the JV will become fully operational and start generating sales and gross operating income, said Crédit Agricole.

Worldline CEO Gilles Grapinet said: “With the unconditional approval received from the European Commission at the beginning of March, we are particularly pleased to announce today the finalization of the agreements enabling the implementation of our joint venture, which will be headed by Meriem Echcherfi.

“This is another key step in our strategic partnership with the Crédit Agricole group in France, a market offering extremely important development prospects for Worldline.

“By combining Worldline’s technological expertise and offerings in payments with Crédit Agricole’s performance and distribution power, this unique collaboration promises to meet the ever-changing needs of merchants.

“Together, we have the greatest ambitions for our joint venture, which will offer the best of our two groups to merchants and retailers operating in France in both physical and online commerce.”