French site LesEchos (via is reporting that Apple Pay will be launching in France by the end of the year, but with a gradual rollout starting with a handful of major banks. It is expected to take 3-5 months between initial launch and the service being widely available in the country, with a pilot launch possibly in place by September.

Negotiations with banks are said to be proceeding slowly, with Apple’s cut of the transaction fee the main stumbling block. On a typical transaction, the banks would receive only 9 cents, and the standard Apple Pay deal applied in the U.S. would see Apple receiving 5 cents of this.

There is, however, hope that the issue can be resolved …

French banks are pointing to a precedent set in China, where Apple is believed to have agreed to halve its share of the standard 0.15% it charges U.S. banks. Fees were also an issue in negotiations leading up to the UK launch last summer, though terms were not disclosed.