3. Opening a French Bank Account

  1. Eligibility
  2. Types of Account
  3. Bank Charges
  4. Application to Open Account

3.2. Types of French Bank Account

A bank account in France is called a compte bancaire

A current account is called a compte courant, but it may also be referred to as a compte à vue or compte de dépôt.

If you are depositing any funds, for which there is no immediate use, then you will also need to open a deposit account, which is called a compte sur livret, or Livret B, or compte à terme if it the account is not instant access.

All banks also operate regulated tax free savings accounts called Livret A, which should be your first port of call for your savings, despite low rate of interest offered on all bank accounts in recent years.

Most banks do not make a charge for maintaining a basic current account, although a monthly charge will apply if you take one of the ‘packages’ offered by the banks.

No doubt the bank will try to sell you one of these packages when you first approach them. Take a careful look at what is on offer, as you may not want all of the services, and choosing what you want to use may be cheaper.

Although the banks have now been granted the legal right to offer interest on current accounts (they were previously forbidden by law to do so until the EU stepped in) the practice has yet to be adopted by most banks, and France certainly lags behind the UK in the remuneration of current accounts.

Needless to say, tax and social charges are payable on interest earned so the net sum may not amount to very much. The accounts are only likely to be of interest to those who require a high degree of liquidity on their current account.

A large number of the internet banks also pay interest on current accounts.

Next: Bank Charges

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