To each his own card, BNP

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This BNP advertising poster shows the inside of a wallet with 4 different Carte Bleue bankcards: an international Carte Bleue, a national Carte Bleue, a (youth) Carte Jeans and a “Service B” Carte Bronze personalised with the BNP name.

Here the bank is promoting its varied range of bankcards. Launched in France in 1967, the Carte Bleue bankcard took slightly more than 10 years to become a common payment method. Shunned by merchants initially due to its cost, the competition with cheques and cash, and perceived as a luxury product, the CB bankcard began to breakthrough from the 1980s. Its growth was closely related to the rollout in 1981 of automatic teller machines (ATM), which let customers consult their account balances and the history of the last 10 transactions or even to receive bank messages.

These were attractive services that automatic teller machines (ATM), simple cash machines, had not previously offered. ATMs guarantee ease and security of use: the card’s validity is verified at each transaction. The bank installed its first machines in Aix-en- Provence, Marseille and Paris. It also completed its system by launching the “Service B” Bronze Card in 1983, a bankcard the let customers perform multiple operations on BNP’s ATMs.

Furthermore, the modernisation of the French telephone network accelerated spectacularly the calls to payment authorisation centres, which made the CB bankcard system more efficient.

Go further : Patricia Kapferer et Tristan Gaston-Breton, Carte bleue – la petite carte qui change la vie, Le cherche-midi, 2004

BNP Paribas Historical Archives
BNP Paribas Historical Archives
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