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French debit or credit card

French debit or credit card

Old Jan 12th 2022, 10:20 am
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Default French debit or credit card

Me again!
my French bank account is now open with Credit Agricole.
I now need to get a card to use for everyday purchase and atm cash withdrawals etc.
I paid for petrol at an automated pump with my UK debit card once and found that a very large amount was debited initially until the purchase had been authorised- wasn’t too keen on that - does this happen to French debit cards too?
Basically my question is this - what would you experts recommend? Debit card or credit card? In Uk I have both credit and debit cards but there is no fee.
thanks
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 10:58 am
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Yes, some situations in France like automatic petrol pumps and motorway tolls can be more difficult with UK cards.
My understanding that CA have 2 types of card - charged immediately (debit card) or deferred charge which I think isnt a credit card as we understand in the UK.
The current fee table for CA is HERE
This explains (amongst other charges) the fee for their cards.
You should have been given this leaflet when you opened your account.
There are weekly and monthly limits on how much you can spend - although you can temporarily increase this if required.
There is alsoan annual charge.
Welcome to French banking.
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 1:11 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Originally Posted by bazzer70 View Post
Me again!
my French bank account is now open with Credit Agricole.
I now need to get a card to use for everyday purchase and atm cash withdrawals etc.
I paid for petrol at an automated pump with my UK debit card once and found that a very large amount was debited initially until the purchase had been authorised- wasn’t too keen on that - does this happen to French debit cards too?
Basically my question is this - what would you experts recommend? Debit card or credit card? In Uk I have both credit and debit cards but there is no fee.
thanks
Pre-authorisation of a set amount by fuel pumps is quite normal as it ensures enough funds are available to pay for the purchase. It also applies to hotel bookings.
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Yes I understand about preauthorisation but is that maybe a good reason to opt for a credit card as opposed to a debit card?
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

I don't have pre-authorisation on my CA debit card but I have had problems trying to use a UK card.
The choice of cards offered by CA are either a "debit" card where the money is debited from your account on a daily basis or a "carte de paiement à débit différé" where the money is debited from your account once a month.
This is not like a UK credit card where you can choose how much to pay.
Both cards work in an identical way for purchases or cash withdrawals.
In France, it is illegal to make a transaction without the funds to pay.
If you write a cheque which bounces then you can be sanctioned by the Banque de France and banned from holding a French bank account.
If you pay a cheque into your account, it is credited immediately without the need for "clearing".
The same applies to payments with French bank cards.
I am not saying that this never happens but the consequences are severe.

See HERE


Last edited by cyrian; Jan 12th 2022 at 1:49 pm.
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Thanks cyrian and baroudeur
I think a debit card where the debit is instant would be best - assuming that if there weren’t sufficient funds then the transaction wouldn’t go ahead - therefore avoiding possibly not having enough in the account - less chance of inadvertently falling foul
thanks again
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Normally your bank will issue you with a card and the default is for it to be a debit card although you can ask for it to be deferred Note however that this does not make it a credit card per se so if you are in a position where you need to use a real credit card eg car hire then the debit card issued by your bank will not be accepted
If you want a proper credit card in France then I use this It has been totally reliable and really is charges free
https://www.cartezero.fr/
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Old Jan 12th 2022, 9:02 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

When I opened my current account with CA some years ago I was given a Mickey Mouse debit card. It was Maestro or something like that rather than Visa or Mastercard, and couldn't be used for international purchases, and even had limited use in France. I had to pay for it on top of the charges for the account itself. When CA introduced their EKO internet account for 2€ per month it came complete with a proper Mastercard debit card. I closed the existing cheque account in favour of the EKO account, and the debit card is in almost daily use, especially since Covid struck.
As for credit cards, I retained a UK one when I came to France, but rarely use it because of the problem of transferring payments to it. The Carte Zero sounds interesting.
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 6:35 am
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Thanks LVC and fringlish
my CA agent obviously thinks I am very rich because when I suggested the EKO route he Pooh poohed it saying it wouldn’t suit me because it was only for people with very small balances and usage! He suggested then the Classic MasterCard for €46 a year. I’ll probably go with his advice and revert to EKO once I am familiar with it all
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

I've been with CA for about 15 years and I had never heard of EKO! I just googled it and couldn't see how it differed significantly from what I have.
I have the Mastercard. It works. You don't get the pre-authorisation thing at autopay fuel stations. It has all the security stuff that apparently you gotta have these days but it's not too intrusive as long as your mobile has a signal for the texts and you don't lose your one-time securipass code or whatever they call it. I'm happy with it.
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Old Jan 13th 2022, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Originally Posted by bazzer70 View Post
Thanks LVC and fringlish
my CA agent obviously thinks I am very rich because when I suggested the EKO route he Pooh poohed it saying it wouldn’t suit me because it was only for people with very small balances and usage! He suggested then the Classic MasterCard for €46 a year. I’ll probably go with his advice and revert to EKO once I am familiar with it all
Of course he suggested the more expensive one. Banks lie. That's what banks do. Presumably that is 46€ on top of the normal bank charge for having the account in the first place. EKO is only 2€ a month all included. It is not only for people with very small balances and usage. He is bullsh*tting. My UK pension is paid directly into the account. I keep my balance low by making transfers (virements) into my LEP savings account, and transferring back if I start to run short. It's so easy to log on to check the balance. Overdrafts are not allowed with EKO, but you can direct the bank to notify you if the balance falls below a specified level. I use my EKO debit card several times a week, sometimes several times a day*. (* Carrefour shopping, Carrefour petrol, Aldi shopping, and a couple of beers in the evening). Anything over the 5€ minimum. In fact if my bar bill is less than that because I have only had one beer, I sadly have to have another beer! I even paid my last water bill with the card in my local bar/tabac - just look at the wording on any bills payable to Tresor Public, and check to see if you local tabac is authorised to take these payments.
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Old Jan 15th 2022, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
I've been with CA for about 15 years and I had never heard of EKO! I just googled it and couldn't see how it differed significantly from what I have.
I have the Mastercard. It works. You don't get the pre-authorisation thing at autopay fuel stations. It has all the security stuff that apparently you gotta have these days but it's not too intrusive as long as your mobile has a signal for the texts and you don't lose your one-time securipass code or whatever they call it. I'm happy with it.
Cards used in fuel pumps will hold a pre-auth, usually a set limit of currency or litres, to protect from fraud or lack of funds because the cost of the purchase is unknown until it is completed.

Explanation here pre-authorisation
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Old Jan 15th 2022, 4:32 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Fringlish-If you really want to use your debit card to pay for your beer then I am quite happy to volunteer to help you with that "Une Biere blance svp"
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Old Jan 15th 2022, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Originally Posted by baroudeur View Post
Cards used in fuel pumps will hold a pre-auth, usually a set limit of currency or litres, to protect from fraud or lack of funds because the cost of the purchase is unknown until it is completed.

Explanation here pre-authorisation
I suppose the difference is that on (most? all?) French bank cards, it's a seamless process and by the time the fuel is charged to your account it has all been sorted and the amount debited is the amount of your purchase.
Whereas on (most? all?) non French cards, you tend to be stuck for several days with the preauthorised amount blocked on your account. It sometimes takes four or five days for the actual amount of the the purchase to be debited and the blocked amount to be unblocked.

Once I very stupidly went to get fuel in a vehicle I wasn't familiar with, I put my card in and lifted the pump then realised the filler cap was the other side and it wouldn't reach. The pumps were busy and I couldn't switch sides so I had to cancel the transaction and start again. The result was that I had 2x 130€= 260€ blocked on my account for a week, for a purchase of about 50€, which was a great nuisance.

Last edited by EuroTrash; Jan 15th 2022 at 5:02 pm.
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Old Jan 16th 2022, 1:51 pm
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Default Re: French debit or credit card

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
I suppose the difference is that on (most? all?) French bank cards, it's a seamless process and by the time the fuel is charged to your account it has all been sorted and the amount debited is the amount of your purchase.
Whereas on (most? all?) non French cards, you tend to be stuck for several days with the preauthorised amount blocked on your account. It sometimes takes four or five days for the actual amount of the the purchase to be debited and the blocked amount to be unblocked.

Once I very stupidly went to get fuel in a vehicle I wasn't familiar with, I put my card in and lifted the pump then realised the filler cap was the other side and it wouldn't reach. The pumps were busy and I couldn't switch sides so I had to cancel the transaction and start again. The result was that I had 2x 130€= 260€ blocked on my account for a week, for a purchase of about 50€, which was a great nuisance.
The act was cleaned up some years ago and pre-auths are usually cleared within an hour or so, certainly in the UK. However, recently, some UK supermarkets have been in the firing line over £99 pre-auths replacing the previous £1.

Tesco pre-auth
pre-auths
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