Carte Bleue Visa is a brand often associated with CB. In fact, all Carte Bleue cards are part of CB but not all CB cards are Carte Bleue (they could also be Mastercard). CB offers the ATM and EFTPOS networking infrastructure, while Carte Bleue is the debit card or mode of payment.
CB GIE was created in 1984 by the six founding banks of Carte Bleue, plus Crédit Agricole and Crédit Mutuel. Since 1992, all CB cards are smart cards; France was the first country to bring into the mainstream the use of smart cards with PIN verification in lieu of magnetic stripe cards and signature verification.
In an example of a genericized trademark, it is commonplace in France to refer to any payment card as a carte bleue, whether or not this is in fact the case.
In 1984, the Groupement des cartes bancaires was established. The CB logo, already widely recognized as it adorned the majority of bank cards (Carte Bleue being the most popular network in 1984), was then reused under license. The logo underwent a slight modification, incorporating a blue to green gradient. This gradient symbolized the interbank connection between the two most popular bank card networks at the time of the merger: Carte Bleue and Carte Verte (offered by Crédit Agricole).
In 2015, the logo underwent a modernization with a lighter gradient.
In 2024, the logo has been retouched again. The gradient now features the colors of the French flag, while the letters have been slightly adjusted for better visibility from a distance.
- (in French) Official site of CB