The French tabac adds another service – cash machines

In France the tabac offers a lot more than cigarettes
In France the tabac offers a lot more than cigarettes. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP
France's tabac shops have long been a place for more than just buying cigarettes. In addition to being a spot for locals to socialise over coffee, pay fines, buy stamps or have a bet - it's now a place to withdraw cash. 

The shortage of places to access cash is an increasing problem in rural and small-town France as banks close down branches.

Now in an attempt to fight ‘banking desertification’, the government has given the go-ahead for tobacconists – tabacs – to install ATMs, with a pilot project of 20 shops beginning from November.

French tabacs have been diversifying their activity for a while now. From paying bills or fines, to getting postcards or buying a train ticket, tobacco shops offer a wide range of services in order to stay in business as the numbers of smokers steadily decreases in France

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Allowing cash withdrawals is also a way for tobacco owners to “get clients to come into their shop,” said Patrick Falewée, President of a tobacconists federation in the Nord area. 

READ ALSO Why the tabac is essential to life in France, even if you don’t smoke

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  1. Going to a Tabac in many cases may feel safer than a Bank ATM on the street, where one risks encountering the groups of thieves that are all too common. I never access a street ATM in Paris without a friend along to stand lookout. Done properly, the ability to access an ATM in a Tabac could be quite positive.

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