Britline - Anyone used?

Hi All,

Moving to France (finally) in four weeks and thought it would be helpful to open a French bank account now, if possible. It looks like it is with Britline, and what’s more, they’re a spinoff from Credit Agricole with English speakers.

Does anyone have any experience of them?

Many thanks,

Rod

Good luck with the move Rod. What fun!

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Yes, been with them 20 years. They speak English (some employees are british) but it’s still a French bank, and when you give them your money, they don’t always like to give it back. You’ll get used to it, probably as good or bad as any other French bank. Loads of stuff on here about CA Britline and other French banks. Good luck!

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We were with them about 20 years ago. And moved. Hopefully they have improved!

We are with Britline, our advisor being English makes communication simple. They are a traditional type bank. Paired with Revolut for more dynamic banking gives the best of both worlds.

They are fine for banking but we have had problems with using their insurance.
They sell it to you in English and then it is all in French, which you may find confusing if you are new here.
I don’t know where you are going to live, but my advice would be to go into your local town and see if there is a Mutuelle Insurance, which will be much more local and helpful than the big boys.
they will be backed by a larger outfit, but still retain a more local character.

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Thanks everyone. Really appreciate your help. I’m thinking it’ll at least do for now so I can transfer money to pay rent and livery costs, and, hopefully, get a local credit card, and I can then look at alternatives when we’re settled, possibly with whoever will give us a mortgage. :crossed_fingers:t2::blush:

Thanks again.

Rod

Like any other bank they have pros and cons, but they are at least used to some UK idiosyncrasies and bank transfers.

To me, as they are CA, the only advantage would be that they speak English. My only association with CA was painful, broken promises, stolen money. Not specifically Britline, I know, but I expect a similar culture.

If you want a recommendation, La Poste, they are everywhere in France and, even in tiny villages like mine, there is an agence that opens 6 half days per week.

Also, it is national, not regional like all the other banks. We once paid a cheque into a CA bank 100 kms away and it took 10 days to reach our account.

Best of luck with the move, whichever you choose. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, that is one of the disadvantages I forgot to mention regarding Britline.
As they are established in Normandy and everything is regional, you can use their credit/debit card to withdraw money from ATMs, but you cannot pay into your local branch unless you are in Normandy or Brittany.
Mad I know, but there it is.
Financially France is still almost in the middle ages.

I pay in to my local branch of CA with no problem, and we are a long way from Normandy! It used to be slow as they physically posted stuff back to Normandy, but now deposits are credited within a day.

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We haven’t needed to pay in for some time and we have a Banque Postale account for the gite, but no need to pay into that this year.

Welcome to La Belle!! Bon courage!
I wouldn’t touch Cred Agricole. Apart from anything else, they demand a substantial deposit just to open your account; their charges are amongst the highest; and when you complete your application online all communications (although looking like they are from Cred Ag) are in fact from a currency transfer outfit, who do not offer good rates, and (IMOP) shouldn’t be allowed to harness your personal info.
As already suggested - contact La Banque Postale (part of La Poste). They have the lowest rates - banking charges are high in France - and are everywhere, not just in Normandy. You can set up an account online, no minimum deposit. Very good for loans too (there is actually no such thing in France as a ‘mortgage’, as you would understand it in the UK. It’s a Building Society concept. Here the banks are not interested in the ‘security’ that your property may or may not offer - they just want to know that you can service what you borrow. They are under pressure from the Government to restrict lending money, so it’s not easy).
Have fun!

@Bosendorfer Do you happen to know if you can set up a La Poste account online from the UK? I think you can with Britline.

Because of covid I think you will find that most organisations in France prefer online admin, Stevie. But the basic provisions for a bank account haven’t changed - you need a French address; and you need to be able to submit supporting evidence by e-mail attachment (such as electicitybill etc).

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I was thinking more about the possibility of opening an account from the UK, which I know you can do with HSBC and believe is possible with Britline (albeit on pain of a large deposit!).

Everything is done online these days, Stevie - but you will still have to provide any bank (including Britline) with the necessary ID stuff. Otherwise you could be laundering away your secret millions, innit!

@Bosendorfer Don’t worry, I just wondered if you happened to know the answer to my question :slight_smile:

I looked into the online La Bank Postals application and the requirements were

TO OPEN AN ONLINE ACCOUNT (1) , YOU MUST:

  • Be a natural person, of full age and capable
  • Be tax resident in France
  • Be provided with the following supporting documents: identity, domicile, income
  • Already have a bank account and a checkbook in a French establishment
  • Not have American nationality (2)

Damn, Stevie, failed at the first hurdle, that rules out the cat. :roll_eyes: :laughing:

But to be serious Colin, is all that really true, you have to open another French account first, and no Americans? :astonished: Despite using American spelling. :roll_eyes:

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