(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. will join France’s Cartes Bancaires CB, giving the payment network more heft to compete with US rivals Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc.

The Wall Street giant was the first US bank to be approved as a principal member of Cartes Bancaires and is aiming to offer the option to French merchants by the end of the year, according to a statement Monday. 

The move should allow it to provide “competitive transactions costs” for those French clients, the company said. That’s because while more than 95% of cards branded with Cartes Bancaires also have the ability to be routed over Visa and Mastercard’s networks, it’s typically cheaper for merchants to run those transactions over Cartes Bancaires. 

“Joining the Cartes Bancaires network was mainly a demand from our merchant clients, as the use of the network can be cheaper than other card networks,” Ludovic Houri, JPMorgan’s co-head of payments and commerce solutions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview. “We wanted a seat at the table, like a European bank, and we want to support the Cartes Bancaires network.”

Created in 1984, the Cartes Bancaires network processes 15 billion transactions every year by card or mobile phone, or more than 65% of regular consumption in France. The network’s principal members include BNP Paribas SA, Credit Agricole SA, Societe Generale SA and HSBC Holdings Plc. 

France isn’t alone in having a domestic payments network. Countries including Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Norway also operate networks of their own, according to the European Card Payment Association. 

“We’re now looking, in each European country, which similar payment networks make the most sense for us to join,” Houri said.

Banks have been clamoring to gain a greater foothold in the business of payments across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where total revenues are expected to reach $500 billion by 2027, according to McKinsey. Credit cards and domestic transactions provide about half of that revenue in the region, McKinsey found.

Credit Agricole, who’s partnered with Worldline SA, said in its latest strategic update that it aimed to grow overall revenue from payments 20% by 2025. BNP Paribas, which reached last year a target initially set for 2025, intends to pursue growth in the segment.  

JPMorgan employs about 900 people in France and the bank has expanded its presence in the country in the years since the UK voted to leave the European Union. The firm has located its European trading hub in Paris and it’s also expanded its commercial banking business across France.

(Updates with additional information about firm’s presence in France in last paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the location of the ampersand in the name of the bank in the first paragraph.)

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