ING is the only significant on-line bank that is not the off-shoot of a traditional bank.
Hot on the heels of ING is Boursorama Banque, a subsidiary of the High Street bank Société Générale, with 757,000 customers. The bank showed huge growth in 2015, adding 149,000 new customers, and with nearly twice as many current account holders as ING.
Although Fortuneo sits in third place in the table, with 310,000 customers, gaining 55,000 in 2015, this was in the main due to integrating into the figures customers resident in Belgium. The bank is a subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa.
Another major player is Hello Bank, which grew by a whopping 136% last year, to now have 237,000 customers. Here again, however, the growth in numbers deceive, for they include accounts transferred from their other internet bank, Cortal Consors, which was closed last year. The bank is a subsidiary of another High Street chain, BNP Paribas.
The number of current account holders with the Hello Bank looks more impressive, except that in order to obtain access to one of their savings accounts it is necessary to be a current account holder.
Finally, there is BforBank, the subsidiary of Crédit Agricole, with 135,000 customers. The on-line bank gained 20,000 new customers in 2015. The bank has recently scrapped charges for holding a current account and a bank card and they also now offer mortgage loans.
In order to attract new customers most of the on-line banks listed offer a bank card free of any annual fee, together with a bonus sum of cash (€80 to €120) to open a new current account.
All of these banks also offer preferential rates of interest on their savings accounts, but only to new customers for a limited period of up to six months.
However, most also insist on a minimum income deposit of around €1,200 a month, or minimum savings held in a savings account with them.
Monobanq are the one exception to this rule, with no current minimum income or savings requirement, although there is a small monthly charge for a account and bank card with them.
|French On-Line Banks|
|Bank||Owner||Customers||Current Accounts||Growth 2015|
|ING Direct||ING Group||1,025,000||330,000||10%|
|Boursorarma Banque||Société Générale||757,000||600,000||24%|
|Fortuneo||Crédit Mutuel Arkéa||310,000||N/A||18%|
|Hello bank||BNP Paribas||237,000||237,000||136%|