Guide to Banking in France

1. Introduction

Whether you are planning to buy a second home in France or you are relocating to France on a permanent basis, it is unlikely you will be able to manage the process without opening a French bank account.

Historically, French banks have had a poor reputation amongst the French.

In the past they have been heavily fined because of complicity in their inter-bank arrangements, and consumer groups in France are constantly waging a war against the lack of transparency, unfair contracts and the level of service charges.

These criticisms are often justified, but a pattern of increasing bank charges is happening throughout the world, so it is perhaps no surprise that French banks are no exception to this trend.

However, if you know how to use the system most services can be obtained at minimal cost.

There is also a high level of consumer protection in France whose banks are amongst the strongest financial institutions in the world.

Moreover, some major legislative changes have been made in recent years, opening up the right to more information, reducing some charges and introducing greater competition.

In addition, if you are looking to take out a loan on your French property then it may be best you establish your credentials with a French bank by opening an account at an early date.

If you become a resident in France you can also gain access to certain regulated bank saving schemes that grant exemption from tax and social security contributions on interest earned.

Next: Which French Bank?

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