Theoretically it is possible to live in France without an account in any of the French banks that will offer a service to resident or non resident foreigners. Indeed, we know a couple who have had a second home in France for 10 years and they have managed without one, by paying all their bills in cash – they don’t have a mortgage though. However, we would recommend that if you live or have a second home in France a French bank account is not only convenient it’s pretty much a necessity, especially if you have a French mortgage.
French Bank payment limits
Banks in France may limit the amount of money you can withdraw from your account either by cash/cheque/bill payment or all three on a monthly basis and they may not make you aware of the limit that they have set. You could find that you try to pay for something in a shop only to be told that your card has been declined. If you know that you have money in the bank and this happens – call your bank and make sure that you haven’t gone over the pre-set limit and ask them to increase it with immediate effect. Avoid any unpleasant surprises by checking with the bank in the first place, ask them about limits on your account and make sure they are sufficient for your purposes.
Useful words and phrases in banking:
|ATM machine, cash dispenser||Distributeur automatique|
|Currency Exchange||Bureau de change|
|Bank statement||Relevé de compte|
|Write a cheque||Faire un chèque|
|Cheque book||Carnet de chèques|
|Bank card||Carte bancaire|
|Coin||Pièce de monnaie|