French Bank Accounts

Does anyone know of a french bank that offers its bank cards as part of it’s service, free, like UK banks?

I’m low-waged, and will never reach SMIC due to a mild disability, so I cant meet the 1500 euro per month requirement that french banks insist on, to have going through my account,in order to waive the yearly fee and I’m finding that my Credit Agricole Maestro french card, not only costs me 33 euros a year, but is in fact useless for most transactions, except cash withdrawals (i.e. paypal, most petrol stations and various online services wont accept it at all)

I have no overdraft and no credit cards so I’m not even borrowing from them!

I think the service here is even worse value than in the UK and I didn’t think it was value there either! To all bankers out there, please give us a decent service and stop cheating people. You’re ruining our world.


I am with La Banque Postale and was recommended by la CAF office as La CAF has to deposit my "welfare" income monthly. I left my husband n took our son to a shelter for battered women and had no cash (not even a penny on me) when I went there and told them that I knew nothing about French banking system and was sent by CAF to open an account there so CAF can deposit the money monthly. The 5 € minimum initial deposit was even waived. I don't have any monthly fee to use the card nor to write checks but a ceiling of 500 € maximum spending in consecutive 7 days. Initially, I have 40 € overdraft protection and I have 30 days to repay that 40 € I used (since 3 weeks ago it went up to 300 € as I never over drafted the account the past 6 months)

You can also check your account online for free!

My experiences with different banks didn't give me positive feelings about them as "free 24/7 customer service" doesn't exist in France and contrary to the practice in the USA, several banks (including Credit Agricole) will charge a fee to be able to check the account online! Some Service! :(

I hope you will have the same good experience with La Banque Postale as mine, Jo because one of my in-laws who is French doesn't have the same good "service" with La Banque Postale (I don't know which kind of account she has)

Mrs Blick..though I admit my old profile pic made me look like Jasper Carrot....I seem to have uploaded a new picture of my family intead of me!

5 euro/month is still outrageous though isnt it? thats 60 per year just to have a bank account. That means if you have 1000 a month going in and out of it, they can use your 12,000 euros per year to pretend they have ten times that amount and invest in shady arms dealing the world they get your 60 per year to help them do it!

I used the co-op in the UK because of their fairtrade principles and eco investment but here I'm 20 years behind still looking for a free current account. I'm "disgusted with a sister in tunbridge wells!"

Hello Mr Blick,

Thoroughy agree with you about the Banks ruining our lives! I found this site about online banking services and they all offer free cards. Some even give you money when you open the account which is a but fishy in y book! I've never heard about anyone having trouble with them but maybe someone else has??

5€ a month, that's more than I pay per year :-O

Have you looked at Credit Agricole Normandie's Britline. They charge significantly lower bank charges than most banks (5€/month). (I had an account with our local Credit Agricole Charente-Périgord opened to cash a cheque, They charged 15€ per month and very soon the account was overdrawn ... Needless to say we didn't transfer our banking to them). Britline is great because even though they have to operate within the french banking system they understand the mentality of british expectations of a banking service.

I’m already with Credit Agricole…not sure why have a bank in malta…how would that be useful here in France?

Think I shall try la banque Postale…and will also investigate the online versions…thanks guys

La Banque Postale is more reasonable but you still have to pay for cards, except their hole in the wall one for geting money out. most of the online accounts are better value and have a free card : ING etc. Or Oney (was Egg) which I use, it’s free and no hassle.

French banks have become far more competitive in recent years, yes it is possible, they were far worse but no one knew any different (my french other half and the rest of her family thought it was normal to pay 50 euros a year for a card and 8 euros a month just to have an accout!!!) But the government have done a lot recently. it’s still along way off UK banking but it’s getting better

Credit Agricole. I am opening an account next month, just have to be there in person to sign. Also HSBC Malta for those of us who are not well off.