French banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are teaming up with France's state-owned postal bank to launch an electronic payments service, hoping to counter already dominant players such as eBay's PayPal.
The three banks unveiled the project, dubbed "Paylib," on Tuesday, saying their customers would soon be able to use the service to set up a personalized electronic wallet, allowing them to make secure, online payments without having to enter their credit or debit card details on each new website.
"We three banks have worked very closely together but we are open (to more)," said Laurent Goutard, head of SocGen's French retail bank.
Rivals Credit Agricole and Natixis parent BPCE already have their own e-payment brands, respectively named "Kwixo" and "S-Money."
As well as capturing a growing market for consumer purchases online, the new service shows how banks are having to increasingly defend their turf as traditional branch banking is eclipsed by new, increasingly Web-based, distribution channels.
BNP, France's biggest bank, recently launched an online-only brand, "Hello Bank," designed to bring in deposits from countries like Germany and Italy without opening new branches.
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