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

4.4. Bank Overdrafts in France

An overdraft in France is called a découvert.

As a general rule, French banks take a tough line on unauthorised overdrafts.

Unless you receive the prior authorisation you will not be allowed to go into debit.

Accordingly, if you issue a cheque without sufficient funds in your account you face the risk that it will not be paid.

However, it is not as cut and dry as it often seems. If you have a good relationship with your bank it may be paid, provided they are confident that funds will be deposited to regularise the account.

If you want a regular overdraft facility each month, pending the receipt of funds into the account, then you need to ask for a facilité de caisse.

The best time to ask for one is not when you find yourself in difficulty, but when things are going well!

If you choose one of the 'packages' when you open your account, then would be a good time to negotiate an overdraft facility.

If you require a more specific ongoing overdraft then you will need to obtain a découvert autorisé.

Banks in France set their own overdraft charges, but there are some controls on how far they can go.

An unauthorised overdraft is called a dépassement de découvert or découvert non autorisé.

If you exceed your authorised overdraft then there is a ceiling on the charges that can be imposed:

€8 for one transaction;
€80 per month.

Next: Closing/Transferring Account

Back: Bank Statements

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