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I just wondered if it was worth opening a french bank account, my account allows free banking ,credit cards ect in france etc, but obviously you need a french card to use at the self serve pumps, plus a few other places. Has anyone got a french acc and has it made life easier, as that is my main concern,

cheers (?)

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Oh my god so sorry didn't mean to do that I was trying to get you the links....I hope some of this may help you...



Posted: 6 January 2007 6:49 PM

Subject: Can anyone advise please





We would like to open a French bank account .

Can anyone tell if they have already done this ? If so what did you have to do . Can you open from here in England ?

Can you open on the web . Can anyone advise which is a good bank to open an account with I see there are so many like England not sure which one . I think it's the Credit Agricole that is for famers again have no idea .

can anyone advise please ........











Posted: 6 January 2007 8:40 PM

Subject: RE: Can anyone advise please




ion: Essex, 2005 Pilote Reference G680 AFAIK you must be resident in France to get one.




Never argue with policemen or lunatics.



Keith T


Posted: 6 January 2007 8:49 PM

Subject: RE: Can anyone advise please




ion: Cornwall Hi Michele

An interesting question. I'm sure there will be a number of Forum contributors who will have first hand knowledge of this one.

For our purposes (living in UK, visiting France & other Euroland countries) we have an account in Euros, run and fed from the UK. It provides debit card/s, for use in shops and ATMs in €, in Euroland, free of 'commission' costs or dubious rates of exchange. It can be topped up in £stg , converted at 'commercial' rates, not tourist - which means you get more Euros for your money.....all helps.

However, remember whether your account is in France or UK, or if in any foreign currency, in fact, you will be subject to rate fluctations - up and down, so it's all a bit of a gamble....!

If you would like more info on the Euro account, please PM me.





Posted: 6 January 2007 8:57 PM

Subject: RE: Can anyone advise please




Regular Visitor


Location: Charente/France When we opened our Credit Agricole account here we were NOT resident nor did we have a property. As we came on holiday 3 times a year we asked if we could open an account and there was no problem, just needed Passports, Birth certificates and Marriage certificate. Our Daughter and our Friends are not resident in France but have Credit Agricole accounts. Credit Agricole used to be for Farmers but now its for anyone. If you do a search on the web for Credit Agricole you will find that they have an English department that will give you more details.


Barclays also have branches in France and this again you will find on the web.


There is also the Caisse d'Epergne which is like a building society and there is La Poste which is the French Post Office who will provide you with a debit card and any transfers from GiroBank in the UK (Alliance & Leicester now I think) are made at a very cheap rate. 6 Years ago it was £5 to do a transfer. There is also Societe Generale but I don't know much about them although there is a branch in our local town.


Most of the Banks have English speaking staff but you normally have to make an appointment to see them. I don't think that you can sign up with any of these Banks online but I may be wrong.


The other thing that you have to remember in France is that if you are Husband and Wife and you have a joint account you are treated as one person. So although the card may be in the husbands' name he doesn't need to be present if the Wife is using the card. This works fine here but when we have used the card in UK and Spain its my Husband who has to use the pin or sign.





Posted: 7 January 2007 9:22 AM

Subject: RE: Can anyone advise please




Frequent Contributor


tion: Essex, 2005 Pilote Reference G680 Randonneur - 2007-01-06 8:57 PM


When we opened our Credit Agricole account here we were NOT resident nor did we have a property.



I'm happy to be corrected. I was really going by posts that I've read in the past on other forums where this has been discussed and that seemed to be the concencus. It would certainly be useful to have a Carte Bleue to get fuel out of hours.


Never argue with policemen or lunatics.



Steve O'Reilly


Posted: 7 January 2007 5:18 PM

Subject: RE: Can anyone advise please





Location: Torfaen I ,too, have a French bank account with Credit Agricole. They run a service called Britline which provides information in English. Their telephone number is also answered in English. The website is "www.ca-normandie.fr". We were sent forms which we returned via our British bank for references. The process took a couple of weeks.


Our only cost in running the account is an annual payment for two debit cards (49.20 Euros) and the commission for transferring sterling. Until recently the currency transfer commission was paid exclusively to our British bank, but now Credit Agricole has also imposed a charge of 3.05 Euros per transfer.


I was interested to read that a previous poster obtains a commercial currency exchange rate as opposed to the tourist rate. My British bank won't oblige except on transfers in excess of (I think) £10k. They charge £10 per transfer up to £2k and more (I think pro rata) for larger sums.


We opened the account to provide a means of obtaining fuel at automated pumps outside opening hours and to get Euros in Spain during lengthy winter stays. The convenience outweighed the cost. For the past two years we have been living in France in the motorhome or caravan for up to five months every year so it has now become essential.


Friends in Cap d'Agde simply went to a local bank and opened an account. The French are so much more willing and capable of speaking English (American?) now that not speaking French is less of a problem.







Posted: 7 January 2007 7:19 PM

Subject: RE: Can anyone advise please





Thanks for everyones help on the subject.


It looks like it will be Credit Agricole for us .


cheers had a good read of the Britline website .




Who took the jam out of your Doughnut..?




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thanks michele for the info, I use HSBC who will do everything from here, free I believe, i understand it will be like an extension of our exsisting facilities, and transfers can be done on the internet as they own two banks in france, it looks like a good idea.

cheers : Don

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Guest Le Thou

Hi Trooper,

Having a French bank account largely depends on what you want to use it for, and having a credit card with the account is different to have a credit card in the UK. In France you have to pay for the use of the card on an annual basis and all transactions are subject to a charge plus interest.


We use Credit Agricole and have found them to be excellent but wouldn,t want a credit card simply because we have no need for one.

In France they don,t use cheque gaurantee cards simply because you can pay by cheque at supermarkets, petrol stations etc, the basis that they work on is that if you issue a cheque as payment and it bouces your account will be suspended and blacklisted for a cosiderable length of time.


Don't get me wrong, some people do use credit cards but there is really no need.

Hope this helps.


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Thanks Le Thou

I take your point , but I believe from what my bank says, that with my premier account it acts like any normal account world wide but obviously subject to local laws, If I go ahead I will let you know the results.


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hi, we are in france a lot & like lots of people ran into the problem of obtaining fuel out of normal hours.

we use credit agricole. have a look at www.britline.com

fairly easy to adminiser on line. english speakers on the end of the phone.

has worked well for us.





le thou ,are you this way in france?



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi I have just completed the necessary to open a french bank account.

My HSBC bank rang me from international banking and filled in the forms over the phone, these were sent to me , I then took these to my local branch with marriage cert, passports and utilities bill gave samples of signature all done, should get cheque book and debit card in around two weeks. There is a charge for card. I can then treat it like any Internet banking, transferring money free etc. As someone said it is illegal to have a check bounce so its important to top up before travelling.


Just an aside, I do go on MHF site on the name blondie this is NOT to hide my identity, just a necessity


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Hi Trooper


I'd just like to add a couple of points.


Credit Ag. are good, but if you get an account with a branch in one area don't assume that you can use branches in other areas as part of the same bank. Ours was with Credit Ag Sud and we could not, for example, pay in money to a Credit Ag in Calais without incurring additional charges. It would be a bit like having an account with Barclays and paying in through Nat West.


The other point is that we had lots of problems using our CA card in automated fuel stations. The machine just wouldn't accept it. We switched to Societe General and had the same problem, so maybe it's us.


French banks are generally a bit more flexible than the Brit versions and can offer interesting deals on car insurance, sometimes for foreign registered vehicles for short periods.


Bottom line. They are still banks so when you shake hands count your fingers afterwards.


Good luck


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