Cash payments for goods and services in France have been limited to a maximum of €1,000, but the rule does not apply to everyone.
As part of the controls introduced in recent years to tackle money laundering and tax evasion, like many other countries in Europe France has restrictions on the use of cash payments for the settlement of debts.
Until now that limit has been set at €3,000, requiring that any debt over this sum be settled by cheque, card payment or bank transfer.
With effect from 1st September this limit has been lowered to €1,000.
It is a rule that applies both for debts between consumers and businesses and for business to business transactions.
However, it does not apply for transactions between private individuals, which remain unhampered by limits.
Neither does it apply to non-residents, who can settle in cash up to €15,000, provided it is not a business to business transaction, in which case the €1,000 limit applies. Where settlement in excess of €1,000 in cash is made, a non-resident is required to provide proof of identity.
As part of a tightening regulations across Europe, it is anticipated this limit will be reduced to €10,000 by 2017.
A lower limit of €300 in cash is in operation for the payment of taxes and other bills to public bodies.
There are also restrictions on bringing cash to France, or taking out cash from France.
If you take out or bring into the country more than €10,000 in cash you are required to make a declaration to the French customs office (Douane). The limit applies per household and to both residents and non-residents in equal measure.
Across Europe banks have important reporting requirements to tackle money laundering, including an obligation to inform the authorities of suspicious movements in bank accounts.
In France, from 2016 any deposit or withdrawal of cash from an account in excess of €10,000 in a month will automatically be reported to Tracfin, a unit of the French government charged with combating money laundering.
European regulations also require all banks and financial institutions to undertake due diligence tests on all clients where the cash payments in one or more transactions that appear to be linked exceeds €15,000. This is anticipated to be lowered to €10,000 in 2017.