<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

Things you need to know about banking in France

PUBLISHED: 12:50 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 29 January 2018

Things you need to know about banking in France © Anna Bryukhanova / istockphoto

Things you need to know about banking in France © Anna Bryukhanova / istockphoto

Archant

If you are buying in or moving to France you will need a French bank account but before you open one make sure you read these 11 things you need to know to avoid making a costly mistake

1. You can get a simple bank account from the Post Office

If you just want basic banking services at a low cost then consider opening an account with La Banque Postale – the banking arm of the La Poste postal service. The charges are minimal and it operates primarily through existing post offices so there is likely to be a branch near to where you live in France.

2. Be careful which type of joint account you choose

You can get different types of joint account. An account written M Smith et Mme Smith (Mr and Mrs Smith) requires both account holders to sign everything together, even cheques. Whereas an account written M Smith ou Mme Smith (Mr or Mrs Smith) allows each individual account holder independent use of the account – but be warned it means one or other could clear and close the account so choose your banking partner wisely!

______________________________________________________________________________________

Don't miss

How to open a French bank account

Guide to the French banking system

______________________________________________________________________________________

3. There are certain documents you will need to open an account

To open a French bank account you will need: proof of ID (passport and/or driving licence with a photo); proof of address (utility bill or council tax bill from the last 3 months – mobile phone bills are not always accepted); proof of bank account within the EU (bank statements from the last 2 months); evidence of income (wage slips from the last 3 months, annual pension statement or tax return if self-employed). This is a minimum and individual banks might required further documents.

4. French banks charge for their services

French banks charge for their services, even for a bank card, which many British people might not be used to. Each bank publishes their tariffs but they could vary from region to region so check this before opening an account.

5. Don’t lose your RIB

Once your bank account has been opened, the bank will give you your relevé d’identité bancaire, or ‘RIB’. This document gives you all of your bank details, including your international account number (IBAN), and you will need this to set up direct debits and make payments.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Don't miss

What are the differences between French and British mortgages?

5 things you need to know before you buy a French property

______________________________________________________________________________________

6. You’ll have to pick up your bank cards from the bank

Once you have opened your account your bank cards and chequebooks are not sent to your home address as in the UK but will have to be picked up in branch within a certain timeframe.

7. There is a limit on how much you can spend on a bank card

You will discover there is a limit on how much cash you can withdraw per week or how much you can spend per month, regardless of how much is in your account. As a result, cheques are still widely used in France in addition to bank cards.

8. Cheques are filled out slightly differently

A French cheque is valid for a year and 8 days from the issue date and is filled out differently from a UK cheque. You need to fill in where in France you are and the recipient and amount-in-words lines are the opposite of a UK cheque. Also remember that in France a decimal point is represented by a comma and a full stop marks the thousands, e.g. €5.000,63

9. Only write cheques if you have enough money in your account

Cheques can only be cancelled under very limited circumstances and are treated the same as cash. If one of your cheques bounces you could be blacklisted by the Banque de France and your bank and banned from issuing cheques for up to five years. So only write a cheque if you have enough money in your account!

______________________________________________________________________________________

Don't miss

What impact could a Brexit have on my finances?

Ways to save money on currency exchange

______________________________________________________________________________________

10. Keep an eye on your overdraft

Your overdraft is usually only available for a limited time, typically 30 days, before your account must come back into credit for at least 24 hours. If not, you face hefty bank charges for being overdrawn.

11. Time your withdrawals from your savings account

Interest on savings accounts is calculated differently in France. The calculation is done by the ‘quinzaine’ – the first and last 15 days of the month – so if you don’t wish to lose out on interest payments time your withdrawals on the 1st or 16th of each month.

 

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Complete France visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Complete France staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Complete France account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Living in France

Yesterday, 13:58

British couple Nigel and Claire moved to France to run a glamping business in Tarn-et-Garonne after visiting a property exhibition in the UK two years ago

Read more
Midi-Pyrenees
Thursday, April 19, 2018

From pruning to planting, there are plenty of jobs to be done in your French garden this spring to make sure it is ready for the summer

Read more
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Taking the car to France is a preferred option for many British homeowners, but paying for fuel and road tolls can quickly add up. Here are six ways to cut the costs of driving in France

Read more
Sunday, February 4, 2018

Make a note of these French emergency numbers and what to say when you ring them in case you need help while in France

Read more
Friday, April 6, 2018

Understand the home-sharing website Airbnb, including the latest French rules, and follow our top tips for using it to rent out your property in France

Read more
Running a business
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Taking the leap and renting your French holiday home to guests for the first time can be a confusing experience, but some of Holiday France Direct’s property owners have provided us with the top tips they would give to someone just starting out with their letting

Read more
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

With its unbeatable wine and cheese and laissez-faire attitude, there’s nowhere better to retire than France. But which cities are best for growing old in? Here’s the top 10

Read more
Pays de la Loire
Thursday, January 25, 2018

If you are buying in or moving to France you will need a French bank account but before you open one make sure you read these 11 things you need to know to avoid making a costly mistake

Read more
Friday, March 9, 2018

If you’ve just moved to France then you will need to get to grips with the French welfare system. Here’s our guide to the system including healthcare, benefits, social contributions and the changes Macron intends to make this year

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The French pharmacy is so much more tham a place to pick up your prescriptions. Here are 11 things you might not know about pharmacies in France.

Read more
Healthcare in France
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now