Bank?

Old Nov 6th 2020, 11:30 am
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Default Bank?

I wondered if anyone can help with bank advice please. We obviously need to open a French bank account before we get there and there are 3 banks that have shops in our town ie Credit Agricole, BNP and Banque Populaire. Are any of these more recommended please and are they all free banking for a normal joint account? Also I guess that to open the account we can use our UK address and then change when we move? Thanks very much Elvina
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Old Nov 6th 2020, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by elvina63 View Post
I wondered if anyone can help with bank advice please. We obviously need to open a French bank account before we get there and there are 3 banks that have shops in our town ie Credit Agricole, BNP and Banque Populaire. Are any of these more recommended please and are they all free banking for a normal joint account? Also I guess that to open the account we can use our UK address and then change when we move? Thanks very much Elvina
No they are not all free banking.
You need to forget how you bank in the UK.
Be prepared to pay charges for your banking.
Be prepared to pay for your debit cards.
Be prepared to have daily and weekly and monthly limits on how much money your can spend on your debit cards (no limits on cheques).
In the UK, I have bought a car using my debit card.
In France, I couldn't even pay the deposit on a car because I had exceeded my limit ( can't remember if it was weekly or monthly) even though I had sufficient money in my account.
You are not seen as a customer by French banks but someone who is lucky to be allowed to bank with them.
You could also try CA Britline but read the thread about banking in the FAQs aove.
If you want free banking, try online only banks.
HTH
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Old Nov 6th 2020, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by elvina63 View Post
I wondered if anyone can help with bank advice please. We obviously need to open a French bank account before we get there and there are 3 banks that have shops in our town ie Credit Agricole, BNP and Banque Populaire. Are any of these more recommended please and are they all free banking for a normal joint account? Also I guess that toopen the account we can use our UK address and then change when we move? Thanks very much Elvina
Hi, some one who has been there, done that, will come along to say whether this is possible.
On the other hand, why not consider La Caisse d'Epargne or La Banque Postale which your town must surely have? We transferred our accounts from the CA to the Cd'E as the former's staff wasn't at all customer-friendly. I can only speak well of the Cd'E, the Conseiller Financier even took time to do my complicated Déclaration des Revenus on-line this year and last, for free.... The only problem with La Banque Postale is that the counters are closed when La Poste goes on strike...
HTH
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Old Nov 6th 2020, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Bank?

There are at least 4 or 5 banks in my town. I chose Crédit Agricole because they seemed to be most active in sponsoring community events, I noticed their logo at the sports stadium and on all the programmes for concerts and shows, and I liked that so they were my first choice. When I went in they were very civil and helpful. I have been with them for over 10 years, I now also have my insurance with them, and there have been a few issues but all got sorted relatively easily so I don't think I can ask for more than that.
However, CA is a regional franchise operation - CA Normandie is separate from CA Picardie which is different again from CA Rhône Alpes etc - so there may be slight differences in terms and conditions, fee structures etc. And most important of all, the bank manager and the staff in your local branch, makes all the difference.
As has been said, high street banking is never "free" in France.
Apart from Britline which specialises in French accounts for Brits, I am not sure how easy it is these days to open a bank account in France when you are still living in the UK. Banks have a lot more "know your customer" stuff to comply with than they used to.
I also have an online Euro account with TransferWise but their Euro accounts are held with a bank in Belgium so I am not sure that French utilities companies would accept it. But if you are going to be converting sterling to euro regularly, a TransferWise account might be a good idea. And there are no fees for opening the account.

Last edited by EuroTrash; Nov 6th 2020 at 1:26 pm.
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Old Nov 6th 2020, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by elvina63 View Post
Also I guess that to open the account we can use our UK address and then change when we move? Thanks very much Elvina
Yes that is possible but you need to check out the documents that you will need to provide.
If you check out Credit Agricole's Britline website they give you a list of what they require.
It is a long time since I had to do that but you may possibly need:
Proof of identity
Passports
Birth and marriage certificates.
Proof of finances
Payslips or P60s showin tax payments or tax returns.
Current banking statements showing regular income.
Proof of address in France
Rental agreement or Compromis de Vente (agreement to purchase).

I am sure that there were other documents required.
I took more than required to make sure that I covered any unexpected demands for documents.

France is very bureaucratic and they really like their documentation.

HTH



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Old Nov 6th 2020, 1:41 pm
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by elvina63 View Post
Also I guess that to open the account we can use our UK address and then change when we move?
As far as I am aware only Britline will allow you to open an account using a UK address, but I could be wrong. They ask for all the things you would expect concerning proof of identity, your finances and proof of your UK address. They will also ask you to tell them what sort of foothold you have or propose to have in France such as a holiday home or plans to move here. If you satisfy all of them you can open an account.
Many on here prefer a high street bank with a manager and staff they can talk to in person, where Britline is strictly an internet and phone bank. For us we preferred to open an account in English before we arrived in France and use it while we lived on our boat in the canals while house hunting. We've been very happy with the service we've received and what we've paid for that service. In addition, Britline have teamed up with one of the many internet money transfer companies so moving money from UK into our French account is simple and free, they make their money on the exchange rate, which is comparable with all the companies I compared it to.
Good luck with it all.
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Old Nov 6th 2020, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by Alianco View Post
As far as I am aware only Britline will allow you to open an account using a UK address, but I could be wrong. They ask for all the things you would expect concerning proof of identity, your finances and proof of your UK address. They will also ask you to tell them what sort of foothold you have or propose to have in France such as a holiday home or plans to move here. If you satisfy all of them you can open an account.
Many on here prefer a high street bank with a manager and staff they can talk to in person, where Britline is strictly an internet and phone bank. For us we preferred to open an account in English before we arrived in France and use it while we lived on our boat in the canals while house hunting. We've been very happy with the service we've received and what we've paid for that service. In addition, Britline have teamed up with one of the many internet money transfer companies so moving money from UK into our French account is simple and free, they make their money on the exchange rate, which is comparable with all the companies I compared it to.
Good luck with it all.
As I said, it was several years ago but we opened our account with the local branch of CA.
We did not own a property in France at that time and they used our UK address until we changed it to our French address.
The process was conducted in French and that could be more difficult if your French is not up to it.
My OH is fluent in French.
I did have something to clarify with CA recently and noticed that my non-Britline CA were offering an english-speaking telephone service which I used to my satisfaction.
I find that speaking French in certain circumstances using specific vocabulary can be testing but over the telephone can be additionally difficult.
My French isn't bad but I do prefer to speak with French people face-to-face.

HTH
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Old Nov 8th 2020, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: Bank?

As somebody has already said the banks here are not the same as in the UK. For instance, they use a lot of cheque's here without a card, just with id. If you bounce a cheque you can be in trouble and possibly be asked not to bank with them anymore. You do get charged for banking as well.

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Old Nov 9th 2020, 5:50 am
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by Renwodnek View Post
As somebody has already said the banks here are not the same as in the UK. For instance, they use a lot of cheque's here without a card, just with id. If you bounce a cheque you can be in trouble and possibly be asked not to bank with them anymore. You do get charged for banking as well.
If you bounce a cheque in France, the Bank of France can ban you (including French citizens) from holding any French bank accounts.
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Old Nov 9th 2020, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
If you bounce a cheque in France, the Bank of France can ban you (including French citizens) from holding any French bank accounts.
This is true, as I said you need to forget how banks work in the UK, my opinion is apart from having to pay for the use of the bank even though they have the use of your money it is a good system. You still have a face to go and talk to, you can take a cheque from somebody and not worry about it being stopped on you and have faith that they will keep your money safe. I have even had my bank 'manager' phone me up and want to see me to see what she can do for me and advise about funds in my account. I am will Credit Mutuel and have nothing but praise for them. One year we even got a Christmas bonus of 42€.
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Old Nov 9th 2020, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Bank?

Originally Posted by Renwodnek View Post
you can take a cheque from somebody and not worry about it being stopped on you .
This made me think of another difference that sometimes confuses Brits: the concept of clearing a cheque does not exist in France because it is assumed that if a person writes a cheque they have sufficient funds in their accounts, otherwise they are committing a serious offence. So as soon as you pay the cheque in to your account, the money is available to you. However, IF the cheque bounces the money would be taken back from your account, and this could happen up to several weeks (even months?) later.
I have seen Brits on forums get very irate because their bank will not give them a clear answer to their question of long does it takes cheques to clear. They want the bank to say "Five days" or "Ten days" or something but of course the bank cannot say that because the system is different. If the person at the bank does not know how the UK system works they will not have a clue what the person is asking and they will simply not know how to answer; if they do happen to understand the concept of clearing, they will try to explain that the French system is different. As posters have said, you have to forget about how banking works in the UK and get used to the French rules.
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