Guide to Banking in France

4. Managing Your French Bank Account

  1. Cash Withdrawals
  2. Direct Debits and Standing Orders
  3. Statements
  4. Bank Overdrafts
  5. Closing/Transferring Account
  6. Death of Spouse/Partner
  7. Seizure of Account

4.1. Cash Withdrawals

If you have a bank card (carte bancaire) then you are able to withdraw money free of charge at any cash dispenser with the CB logo.

The ATMs are called distributeurs automatiques de billets (DAB)/guichet automatique.

There are limits on how much you can withdraw in any single occasion, or over 7/30 days, depending on your type of card and the limit set by your bank.

If you exceed your limit on your card, you can withdraw money from your bank, or from any other bank, by cheque.

You do not need your own cheque book to withdraw from your own bank, as they can prepare an omnibus cheque from within the branch that you merely need to sign.

If you have not exceeded your cash limit you can also withdraw cash from another bank by using your cash card at the counter. A charge may be payable and some form of identity will be required.

You will receive a receipt for the withdrawal, which you should retain until you have checked it against your bank statement.

Increasingly, local branches do not hold any cash behind the counter.

The only way to withdraw cash is from the cash dispenser.

If you do not have you card available then you will need to complete a withdrawal slip at the counter.

You will then be supplied with a card to enter into the cash dispenser to receive your cash.

You will not need to enter any code or amount as the card will be programmed to dispense your cash. The card will also be retained by the cash dispenser.

If you withdraw money from a cash dispenser using a French bank card within the Eurozone then no charges are payable.

Outside of the Eurozone withdrawing money from a cash dispenser does incur a currency exchange charge, which may be proportional and/or fixed (eg 2.5% + €3), depending on the terms of your contract.

In isolated rural areas, where cash dispensers may not be readily available, some banks have arrangements with local shops - butchers, bakers, tabacs, etc - that enable you to obtain a cash withdrawal through the shop. The largest of these networks is with Credit Agricole, with the service called 'Point Vert'.

Since 2018 French retailers have also been formally authorised to offer 'cashback' in their shops, which you can read more about at Debit Card ‘Cashback’ in France.

Next: Direct Debits and Standing Orders

Back: Opening an Account

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