With more than 1,200,000 meal voucher cards in circulation, France has unmistakeably entered the digital era. To gain further insight into these new-generation vouchers and better respond to your customers’ new uses, here is an update on the various cards in circulation, and how to recognize them.
The different paperless meal vouchers in France
France’s Meal Vouchers market is almost exclusively shared by 4 historic players:
- Sodexo Pass France with the “Pass Restaurant”,
- Groupe Up with the “Chèques Déjeuner”,
- Natixis Intertitre with “Apetiz”,
- Edenred with “Tickets-Restaurant®”.
Together, they account for 95% of the market.
Their differences and how to recognize them
First-generation paperless meal voucher cards
The first-generation cards, which appeared back in 2014, utilize the Visa and MasterCard networks.
> Two commissions levied: an issuer commission and a banking commission.
The reverse side of the card shows only the Visa or MasterCard logo:
Second-generation paperless meal voucher cards
Two years later, the historic issuers released the second-generation cards which utilize a privately owned network called “Conecs”.
> Only one commission levied: that of the issuer. The system does not incur any additional banking commission.
The reverse side of the card shows only the Conecs logo:
Hybrid paperless meal voucher cards
At the end of 2018, some issuers decided to upgrade their cards to so-called “hybrid” cards, i.e. mainly using the Conecs networks, but capable of using the Visa, Mastercard or CB networks if necessary.
Other issuers are now pursuing the same objective: replacing all cards in circulation with hybrid cards by the end of 2019.
Two logos are shown on the cards: the Conecs logo on the front side, and the Visa/MasterCard logo on the reverse side:
Second-generation cards and hybrid cards automatically propose a supplement by bank card for online payments whose amount exceeds the maximum authorized amount.
What to do in order to accept these cards in your restaurant
For first-generation meal voucher cards:
- You must complete an application with the Commission Nationale des Titres-Restaurant (CNTR) which oversees all meal voucher issuers.
- Once your application has been approved by the CNTR, you will receive the approval required to duly receive the repayment of these meal vouchers.
To accept second-generation meal vouchers (with the CONECS logo), you will have to update your payment terminal. Once the approval and affiliation process has been completed with the CNTR, as an affiliate restaurant you will receive your CONECS “domiciliation card” by regular mail. You must then contact the technical service team who will proceed with the update.