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French Bank Savings Accounts in 2014

Wednesday 05 February 2014

Saving rates on regulated bank savings accounts remain the same in 2014, but there are changes to the qualifying criteria for the Livret d’Epargne Populaire (LEP).

There are a number of government controlled savings accounts in France that offer relief on tax and social security contributions, the most popular of which is the Livret A.

However, there is another similar account, which offers a slightly more generous rate of interest. This account is called the Livret d’Epargne Populaire (LEP).

In these current challenging times neither account offers a substantial return, but the current rate of interest on the LEP is 1.75% net, compared to that on the Livret A of 1.25%.

No cheque book or bank card is provided, but you are entitled to a cash withdrawal card.

The main limitation on the LEP is that the maximum amount (excluding interest) that can be held on the account is €7,700 per person.

It is also subject to a test of resources. Prior to 2014 access to the account was reserved for households liable to no more than a maximum amount in income tax each year, which in 2013 was €769 (2012 income).

The use of an amount paid in income tax has now been ended, with the only qualifying criteria being a maximum net income threshold, as advised on your French tax notice - revenu fiscal de référence.

For 2014 the maximum threshold is €19,104 for a single person, increasing to €29,364 for a couple with no children. It is increased by €5,111 for each additional 'half-part' of a household, eg child.

Your income test for this year is based on your income for 2012, as advised on your French income tax notice received in 2013!

To open an account you will need to produce your income tax return to the bank.

If you remain eligible for an account in 2014, then you are entitled to retain this account until 2017, even though you may not qualify under the new regulations.

Married couples are each entitled to hold an account but there is a maximum of two accounts per household. The account is not available to children.

The account is offered by all of the banks.

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