TMSIDK About Credit Cards


This past week, I was talking to 2 colleagues. I’m not sure how the conversation started but what I found out was that there are no credit cards in France. What?!?

To be clear, although there are things called credit cards in France, they are different than what we are used to in the United States. This country LIVES on credit.

France uses debit cards. You can’t buy something if you don’t have the money. Simple logic. And because they are fancy, they call it carte bleue (blue card.) If you have a credit card, you have to pay it off at the end of the month. No other choice. You don’t get a credit line. If you don’t pay it off, you’ll be on Banque de France‘s watch list during five years. It will then be difficult for you to use carte bleue or checks. No more shopping at Dior or Chanel!

Also, a ‘credit report’ is not a concept in France. The fact that you need to have debt and pay it off to show you are trustworthy would seem crazy for a lot of people there.

This odd country-centric fact is a good jumping off point to talk to your kids about money. Some ideas to talk about:

– Money management
– Responsibility
– Long term planning
– Investing

Here are a couple of links that can further ideas and talking points.

Talking To Your Kids About Money

Financial Education for Kids