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Financière des Paiements Electroniques - FPE

Logo of Financière des Paiements Electroniques - FPE
09/05/2014 Banking Innovation


The Nickel Account is the first French bank-less account. People open it within 5 mn in French newsagents shops.

Innovation presentation

Customers can simply walk into their local newsagents and buy a ‘Nickel box,’ which provides everything they need, including a MasterCard and a user guide. There are no conditions on income or assets required. The only criteria needed to activate a Nickel Account are that the customer must be over 18 years old and reside in France.

After purchasing the box, customers go up to an interactive terminal and scan their personal ID card. Data is extracted and displayed on the screen to create a new customer file. The customer completes any requested information (such as telephone, e-mail, address) and electronically signs the general conditions of sale. The customer file is all ready to go and 100% paperless. After this first easy step, the customer goes back to the counter and the newsagent checks the customer’s ID, activates the payment card and links it to the customer file. This automatically generates a printed ticket on the electronic payment terminal, giving the customer their account ID and their internet login and password.

Uniqueness of the project

• First IBAN delivered in five minutes

• First real-time core banking system

• First bankless banking account.

Because an initial electronic authentication of customers’ ID cards is carried out prior to the account being opened, the Nickel Account combats money laundering. Newsagent workers are in charge of a second, physical verification of the ID before activating the account and would lose their license immediately in the event of a single case of fraud. Cash deposits are also limited to €250 per deposit and €750 per month or 30-day rolling period. For electronic transfers, the compliance and behavioural warning systems used for Nickel accounts are identical to those used by banks. Any suspicious or abnormal account transactions are reported to France’s Financial Intelligence Unit – Tracfin – by the FPE Compliance Division.

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