Guide to Banking in France

6. Using Cheques in France

  1. Completing a Cheque
  2. Payment by Cheque
  3. Cashing a Cheque/Bounced Cheques
  4. Lost Cheques

6.1. Completing a French Bank Cheque

Despite the growth in the use of banks cards, France still retains an affinity for the cheque book. Indeed, over half the cheques issued in Europe come from France! Only in the last few years have card transactions exceeded payment by cheque. You will still find cheques in common use, particularly in the countryside and amongst the elderly.

A French cheque book is called a Chéquier or a Carnet de chèques, and a cheque is called a chèque.

French cheque books are not designed in the same manner as those in the UK, so you may need a lesson from the bank in how to complete one!

Alternatively, most shop-keepers or restaurants will be willing to complete it for you, but make sure the words and figures correspond, and that there are no blank spaces before or after the written amount.

Most shops also have automatic cheque completion tills, so you only need to verify and then sign the cheque.

Whereas in the UK the cheque starts by stating the name of the payee and then the amount payable, in France it is done the other way around.

So you state the amount in words 'Payez contre ce chèque' in the first line and the name of the payee 'A' in the second line.

You will also be required to state the place where the cheque is written 'Fait à' followed by the date 'Le'. You then sign at the bottom right hand corner of the cheque.

All cheque books have a perforated portion, on which you can retain details of each cheque you have made out, and a running total of your balance.

Unless you otherwise specifically so request, all cheques are pre-crossed by the bank.

Next: Payment by Cheque

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