Credit Card

Hi we have used Credit Agricole since we retired to France 7 years ago. Recently had a E1500 repair on our Mercedes Veto that I paid in 3 instalments using our CA Premier Debit card. However found that CA reserve funds against the payments for October & November & this meant our card was refused when paying for groceries since we would have exceeded our overdraft limit.
Can anyone recommend a good low APR Credit Card in France-online is fine,

As I understand it, having recently opened a CA bank account, there are no credit cards available from french banks. Although payment might be defered to the end of the month, all cards are in effect debit cards. Hence why they reserved your funds.

Easiest route could be to increase overdraft limit.

sadly, with hindsight, it’s clear that you needed to speak with your bank beforehand…

however, you reporting your experience now, might well help others avoid a similar happening… so thanks for that.

best of luck…

Thank you Graemel & Stella. It is a right old rigmarole to increase overdraft limit, similar to applying for a personal loan that I do not want to do.

There are online credit cards advertised hence my question.

I trust personal experience rather than advertising claims.

I find so many things very different to UK including this!

Thanks again


things are very different over here.
be very careful to read the small print and all conditions… before you sign up to anything… please forgive me even vaguely suggesting you wouldn’t… but I’ve known incredibly bright folk to overlook something which they later have reason to regret…
so it’s a warning to the world in general and not just you… :wink: :+1:

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Some cards issued are credit type but most are debit. If credit type, it will be marked on your card. However the credit type is barely better than the debit and they want the money back immediately (debit) or at the end of the same month (charge card or credit) or just possibly, at the end of the following month (rare, for credit).

How they can call any of these cards a credit card - even the few that settle at the end of a month - is beyond me. G*d forbid that a cardholder faced wuth a sudden bill should be able to decide how many months he will take to pay for something, even understanding fees and interest charges, without having to speak to his bank -even for quite minor stuff. Look on the CA website they have revamped their card range, there is a slight improvement though.

Otherwise, if you are receiving any sort of regular payment into a UK account before transferring, or if you have UK funds you could use as security, you could try your UK bank as they will see a regular funds flow. Lendimg criteria have tightened in the UK too but at least the structures exist for consumer credit there.

Let us know what solution you find?

But there would not be much point moving if everything was the same when you got here :rofl:
For sure credit and indebtedness is so much more tightly controlled in France.

With our CA account we were given a Suppletis account without asking.
It has a amount avialable which is a pre set loan facility.
You can draw down some or all for as long or short you need it. Effectively like an overdraft.
Used it once for a month for convenience, very handy.

They certainly are, the dreaded 30 day rolling ceiling (plafond) for instance. Only caught me out once. But @Roger_Waldram , if you only came here as a retiree, did you not have a credit card in the UK? I still have what I still call an Access card from Lloyds, despite not having an account with them for decades, which gives me a limit of £ 8,500. Totally unasked for years ago. But different times. :roll_eyes:

If it is inactive I’m surprised they haven’t cancelled it wich is common practice these days.

France has a completely different (and somewhat dated) attitude to credit.

Whether you think they are behind the times or visionary depends on your personal point of view.

must confess… we’ve only recently been advised by Lloyds that our debit card will be cancelled if it’s not used for 6 months.
They don’t mind us having it… or the uk lloyds current account it links to… both of which we’ve had since long before we ever moved to France.
and they’ve always known of our move to France, but it seems they’ve tightened their restrictions even more on non-UK residency.
When we moved here, they pointed out that certain benefits wouldn’t apply to us non-uk folk… fair enough… but since then… silence… no problems.

it won’t hurt us to use the debit card every 6 months… there are many uk birthdays to buy for… and that card is always useful for unexpected expenses.

Aaah, maybe the French are right to a “dated attitude” to credit? Which nobody can afford anyway? 0% credit in UK is a standard practice and has no doubt fuelled debt?

The French have kept mortgage and interest pretty steady during the last decade? Could be wrong? Is their economy more stable?

Loads of questions on this but none of us are true economists and those who are saying they are are often wrong

Billy is right, credit cards go inactive after a period of not using

Well I have managed very well for many years without a credit card and took the attitude that if I can’t afford it, then either save up or go without. To be honest I couldn’t sleep at night owing a lot of money probably spent on non essential items and it has to be repaid in full end of the month here. The banks here are also very picky about people applying and you must meet certain criteria financially, unlike the UK where anyone can get a card it seems and thenjust increasing the amount as they wish.

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Agree Shiba, we have done the same, don’t buy anything we can’t afford to pay for. No credit cards so no worries. Go without if we need to as most stuff we have bought in the past isn’t really essential. In today’s “crisis” we just buy cheaper stuff but eat well and can get by easily. Banks in France are right to be picky, it is the lack of this which has led many into severe debt. So many in the UK are still looking for 0% finance for balance transfers and purchases. People using credit, which is nothing more than debt, are deluded.

I can remember when interest base rate was 17% and our mortgage was 23% and nobody intervened then. Are we just expecting the government to help everyone no matter what now? I find it very odd. Is this a further progression of ‘dependency’?

I do not know the answers but individual personal debt has to come down without relying on the ‘state’ (which is only just the tax payers anyway)

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Thank you for your replies. The €1500 repair was a surprise to the Mercedes Garage & myself since the complete Adblue tank had to be replaced not just the sensor. So not a case of ’buying something we could not afford’ but a necessary repair.
As I said I did not realise the instalments for October & November would reduce our available balance now so no point in spreading the cost.
I was looking for a recommendation for a good credit card & must look elsewhere.

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and if you find one, perhaps you could let us know the details… please.

good luck

It isn’t, I buy all my Kindle books from Amazon.UK using it, and, before I stopped driving there, I used it to buy everything I needed in GB.

But the sums are so small and I have not paid interest on it (I pay all I know, even if not on the statement on the 12th of each month) for many years that I am surprised too. It wouldn’t be a tragedy if they did as long as I could still use my Yorkshire (Virgin Money) Bank account to do so.

I will let you know, of course.

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There is certainly a cultural difference to credit/debt in France.

Not sure what you mean by “0% credit” - there’s not much of that beyond credit cards not charging interest until after the next payment date, you used to see it on specific items - generally cars - but I haven’t seen an 0% deal for a while.

Is it a good or bad thing? It’s debatable. If you believe consumerism is king then it is clearly a good thing because it encourages spending and increases GDP.

Plenty of 0% credit deals on credit cards… also balance transfers. Both for 3 months to 36 months. It is shocking as it encourages people to roll over even more debt