Because “it is not, in the current state of the law, considered́ as consumer credit”, split (or “fractional”) payment offers great flexibility to all players. “For customers, it means they can spread out their spending and better control their budget, while gaining access to more products and services, especially in an inflationary crisis context such as today’s.
It boosts retailers’ competitiveness by encouraging them to innovate and create ever smoother, more intuitive customer journeys. Fractional payment offers are now flooding the market, enabling consumers to split up their payments once the product has been purchased. These solutions obviously boost sales by making more onerous purchases possible for consumers .” When split payments are offered, it is estimated that the value of the average basket increases by 20-70%, depending on the sector of activity: “It’s a simple, transparent solution for everyone,” concludes Pineau.
But this momentum is also attracting the attention of regulators. And rightly so, since it exposes consumers to increasing risk of over-indebtedness. Yet, according to our expert, “European regulations on this matter are set to change, with the revision of the consumer credit directive soon to be adopted.”
Technological innovation for smoother, more intuitive payment solutions
The Payment Services Directive 2 (also known as PSD2) has also helped make e-commerce payments more secure, by strengthening consumer authentication, particularly for split payments. It has also opened up access to payment account data held by banks. “Fintechs can use this data to continue innovating with new payment solutions, such as direct debits,” explains Bertrand Pineau. PSD3 and its associated regulation, the first drafts of which have just been published, will push innovation even further by harmonizing the implementation of these provisions across Europe.
Another project is the European Payments Initiative (EPI), which in June 2024 will launch a new payment solution based on instant transfers (and therefore independent of card networks).
It is set to add split payment journeys to its e-commerce and retail offering from 2025. “This solution is undergoing significant development elsewhere in the world (India, Brazil, etc.), and is already well established culturally in Germany and the Benelux countries, where people are historically less likely to use bank cards than in France. The development of instant transfers, combined with open banking, should also facilitate inter-company payments in the B-to-B market, which until now has been the ‘sick man’ of payment facilities,” enthuses Mercatel’s Managing Director.
But one thing’s for sure: opinion isn’t split on the potential of fractional payments.
 Centre de recherche pour l’étude et l’observation des conditions de vie (Crédoc), in the Introduction to Le crédit direct des commerçants aux consommateurs : persistance et dépassement dans le textile à Lens (1920-1970)
 In Richard Hoggart’s Introduction to Le crédit direct des commerçants aux consommateurs: persistance et dépassement dans le textile à Lens (1920-1970), this behavior even helped to define the “cultural boundaries of the working classes” (1970: 43-46).
 Boltanski and Chamboredon, 1963, quoted in the Introduction to Insert a tag Le crédit direct des commerçants aux consommateurs: persistance et dépassement dans le textile à Lens (1920-1970)
 Available in June 2024 for consumers, in 2025 for e-commerce players, and in early 2026 for local retailers.