Banking In France | Accounts Explained

Written by on November 7, 2016 in Banks and Banking


When it comes to banking in France, as an expat, things might be a little different from what you’re used to back home. We ask the experts to explain some of the most common terms and facts about French bank accounts.

French Savings Accounts

An instant access savings account is called a “Compte sur Livret”. Banks also offer fixed term deposits, for over one month, which offer better interest rates, called “Comptes à Terme”. For large deposits, a “Certificat de Dépôt Négotiable” can offer slightly improved interest and a shorter term if required. Bank deposit interest is taxable, for income tax and “social taxes”.

However, there are various tax-free bank deposit accounts. For these the interest rates are fixed by the Government and the amount invested is limited. The most common accounts are:

‘Livret A’ – available from all banks: maximum €22,950 per person plus accrued interest.

‘Livret de Développement Durable’  – available from all banks: maximum €12,000 per person plus accrued interest.

The conditions of the accounts are the same and are regulated by the government and they’re only available to residents of France – including expats.

Interest is earned for every 15 day period on the balance of your account. It’s applied once a year – at the beginning of the year following investment. Or on closure of the account.

Access to funds:  Access is instant but you may lose up to 15 days interest if you take out your money during an interest period. Ideally you should withdraw money on either the 2nd or the 16th of each month.

Tax treatment: Interest is totally tax free to French tax residents and should not be included on any tax declaration made in France.

For low-taxpayers, there is an account called the “Livret d’Epargne Populaire” (LEP). Offered by all banks, this account offers an interest rate of approximately 2% for savings limited to €7,700 each. You have to prove, via a tax certificate, that you pay less than a specific amount of income tax in France, in order to qualify.

Share Dealing in France

You can hold a share dealing account at your bank, a stockbroker, or on the internet.

The normal safe custody account is called a “Compte Titres”. A share is an “action” and a Government or Corporate Bond is an “obligation”.

More on Share dealing in France

by Jennie Poate of Beacon Global Wealth who specialises in financial advice for expats in France.

Any statements concerning the above are based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which are subject to change.  Information has been summarised and an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

The financial advisers trading under Beacon Wealth Management are members of Nexus Global (IFA Network). Nexus Global is a division within Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited (BFMI). All approved individual members of Nexus Global are Appointed Representatives of BFMI. BFMI is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and bound by their rules under licence number FSC00805B.

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