American Looking for Advice on French Banks

My wife and I are Americans and we recently bought a home in the Charente-Maritime. Does anyone have recommendations for a French bank that would be easy for Americans to deal with, particularly online? Also, is it really as difficult as some have said to open an account? We have heard horror stories about how difficult the process can be, especially for folks who are accustomed to the rather painless process in the U.S. Any help would would be great appreciated. We love this site-- very helpful and informative.

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From personal experience only, I would recommend Credit Agricole very strongly. My local branch is accessible and very helpful in all my modest financial dealings from arrival in France to putting down roots. Check them out?

Thanks. Others have said the same to us.

My American wife has an account with La Banque Postale (available through any Post Office) with no trouble at all. Full range of banking services available including online banking.
Good luck, and welcome to western France.

Thanks. I was wondering about the postal bank system. As you probably know, we don’t have anything like that in the States.

We opened an account with Credit Agricole simply because it was the bank nearest to where we had bought.

We’ve been with them ever since, as they have proved to be extremely helpful. Their on-line banking works very well too…and I use it a lot nowadays. However, when you do need to speak with someone face-to-face, it is useful if you don’t have to travel miles and miles to do so…:relaxed::wink:

Perhaps you can personally checkout the Banks which are reasonably close … and what services they can offer you.

We’re also with Credit Agricole and haven’t had any real problems with them since we opened our account in 2003.

@pauljacks, there are branches of CA in Beauvais sur Matha (your nearest sort of town) and Matha where you will also find Credit Mutuel.

Have you considered Revolut?

It is a completely different approach to banking and allows very easy transfers between different currencies without commission.

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Yep I’d second Revolut and add HSBC - both a bit more ‘global’. I haven’t been into a bank branch (apart from to use ATM’s) for well over 30 years - no need.

How’s your French? If it’s still in the development stage then might be worth taking a look at Credit Agricole Britline. It’s based in Normandy, but doesn’t really matter where your physical bank is located. And anyway you can change banks once you’ve settled and become fluent.

:wink: I like face-to-face…but I use the on-line as well.

I love chatting with all and sundry… and the first instance of CA being so helpful… was when I was stuck on how/where to fill-in the income/loss from a rental property… on the Income Declaration.

I thought I would ask at my Bank. Explaining my problem, in halting French, I felt a great relief when the gentleman ushered me into his office and slowly took me through the whole paperwork. Through his kindness, he made a friend for life. Although he has since retired…I still see him around and we smile and chat… :relaxed:

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I would also go with HSBC. International banking, mobile apps in English for French Accounts and easy to transfer funds internationally.

Thanks everyone for all of the advice. We definitely have to think this through, but now I feel much more informed regarding possibilities. Great site.

Hello, a bit late but I used banque postal and they are useless. Started out good but just had to close it down. Credit Agricol is the best in my experience.

Hi Martin,
I must say that I am surprised by your comments and would like to know in what areas you found La Banque Postale wanting.

This was in tarbes. Useless, one example I asked to see somebody about my account, they gave me a number to call. But the lady I had to speak with was free and sitting in her office. I called and she answered and said come in. She was supposed to email me after but never bothered.

This happened and I had similar issues.

I noticed that most posts on this subject are 2018 and earlier. Has anyone got any 2020 ideas on the best bank to use? I am just at the point of moving and would like to open an account asap.

Despite adverse comments by others I would still recommend La Banque Postale which works just fine for my American wife and I.
You will of course have to go to the Post Office to open the account in person and have the relevant identity documents and proofs of address.

Merci Robert,

I decided on Britline as a start because I do not need a residence in France, which I do not have yet, but can get a French bank a/c before I emigrate. I will report back to this thread when it is finalised. The application was totally online, they accept scanned documents of identity and then do a 30 minute telephone interview, everything in English. Very 2020!