Banking - Is a Revolut/Wise account enough?

A quick resume of our situation: we’re buying a second home in the Morvan, due to sign the acte in Feb. We will continue to live & work in the UK, while maintaining the house in France.

The “Buying a house in France” guides all suggest that we need a conventional French back account. I’ve been back through 2 years of SF ‘banking and financial’ posts to get some background on the area, and there’s a lot of talk favouring Revolut & to a lesser degree Wise. There have also been some recommendations for Britline/CA, although also some fairly negative experiences. Finally we have an HSBC account in the UK, and it might be ‘less difficult’ to have another account through them. The nearest town is Autun 25km away - has a number of major banques.

So, what I’d like to ask is whether a ‘virtual’ bank like Revolut is fully and completely adequate for all banking needs in France now, or is a conventional bank (+ chequebooks etc) still essential for some things? We’ll have to pay stuff like tax fonciere, tax d’habitacion, electricity bills, firewood etc.

Thanks for your advice in advance.

I would be tempted to get a Britline account and for transfers a Revolut or Wise account.

(I actually use Revolut for day to day banking but keep meagre savings with Britline)

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I would agree with @Mat_Davies - Wise or Revolut are excellent for transfers but you do really need a “proper” account for more normal intra-france transactions and Britline is quite possible the easiest for anyone who is still not resident in France

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I agree with both.
If you are opeming an account with Wise or Revolut maybe use someones referal account as you’ll both get a bonus of some type.


I wrote a whole essay then reread your comment that it was strictly a second home and hit the delete as it was pretty irrelevant :see_no_evil:. Strictly speaking yes, you should be able to do it. EDF and Orange will now take an international IBAN, although you may have to press the point, and Groupama are fine with one for my insurances (other companies may or may not obviously, I can only speak of my experiences). Whether you want to is another matter, but it should finally be possible. As others have said, for comfort you may want to go down the Britline route. I suspect that as of Brexit that might be one of your only options as brits are no longer covered by the EU cross border financial Services stuff which made it (relatively) easy to open accounts in other member states, I’ve a feeling a CDS is needed to make it straightforward for brits now, but you perhaps could be the Guinea pig in your local branches and let us know how it goes lol


Thanks everyone - it looks like a’real’ bank’ it is then. I’ll probably use Revolut as the current currency exchange service (Lumon pay) we are using for the house purchase is a bit arms-length for convenience. I don’t have the French and, more importantly the willpower, to haggle in French with businesses reluctant to allow us to use a slightly unconventional payment system.


A quick update - HSBC have banking in France for UK residents, but you must apply in person to a local branch IN FRANCE. :roll_eyes:

I would say that at the first opportunity you get to be in France after your purchase then make an appt with a local bank and set up an account here….

For me in Brittany it was CMB….

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Just don’t make the mistake that I did by opening an account with La Poste

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A number of people have pointed out that a CdS is usually required for a bank account - there are only a few banks offering accounts for non-residents.

I had a bad experience with SocGen forty years ago (I never got over it :roll_eyes:). The folk in my branch were a bunch designer clad, lazy time wasters who thought the Bank was doing you a favour taking your money.

Twenty years ago when I again needed a French bank account I was happy to sign up with HSBC, who had just acquired CCF. I’d banked with them in Dubai and the UK and found them excellent. It took a few years for the CCF culture, which was initially quite SocGen like, to be replaced by HSBC client focused one but I now find them excellent. I can even manage my UK account and my French account from the same app. The downside is that HSBC has divested its French operations so things may well change.

I also have Wise and Revolut accounts but just use them for money transfer, I’m not ready to leap into keeping cash in the Cloud yet.


I haven’t tried that…is it difficult…???

I got here in a whirlwind….made contact with my nearest bank as soon as I got here….got a rendezvous and 3 weeks later had a French bank account….my language skills were basic…still are…

Over the course of 5 years plus she regularised my car insurance my house insurance and I’m grateful for her answers to my numerous questions I had at the time

And that is where Britline works well - my contact is English so it simplifies things a great deal.

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When my house was a holiday home I held an account with Societe Generale - found them pretty unhelpful and generally unco-operative and certainly not customer centric, but stomached it for years as actually used the bank very little. When I moved permanently, immediately kicked Societe Generale into touch and joined Britline. Like day and night. I could barely believe they are both operating in the same country with the same regulations!!! No idea what other banks are like in France, but my Soc Generale experience was like going back to the dark ages :scream:

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Opening the account was easy - despite us still living in the UK at the time. The problems started when we moved over permanently. The staff are unhelpful, and their processes are so slow - they’re 30 years behind what I was used to in the UK. Simple stuff like setting up standing orders, transferring money between accounts, changing daily withdrawal limits, etc… is all very manual and takes literally days rather than minutes.

I really should ditch them, I’m just not sure who to go with yet.

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Britline :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I’ve found that the local bank are really helpful or at least mine was….

I was resistant at first to her suggesting insurance cover for my car as I had U.K. cover but once I made the suggested change then my car insurance payment dropped and also my buildings and contents insurance….

I’m still with the same local French bank and have no problem….(several changes to my manager and several who I haven’t yet met face to face so maybe I will experience a problem when I have to do that but I’m not expecting it…)

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Britline is part of Credit Agricole, right? We have a CA here in town, so I guess I could look into switching to them if they’re any good. My French is usually good enough to not need an English-speaking service (my partner is French after all :grin:), and I live 100% of the time in France so don’t need to worry about UK <> FRA transfers, etc…

Guess they can’t be worse than La Poste!

Just out of interest, do you have an account with a regional bank or a national one like LCL, BNP, CA, etc…?

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I’m with CMB….(credit mutuelle Bretagne)

My previous U.K. bank was really hostile to my being here and threatened closure so I was rather relieved to open a French bank account here and glad that I made it one of my first priorities

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Same experience here, Helen6. CA has a branch next door to the hotel where I was staying and things couldn’t have been easier. The hotel owner put in a good word for me. I suppose the process can be more difficult in larger centres, where everyone doesn’t know everyone else. I use Wise only for transfers.

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