Good French bank with free credit card- does it exist?

Hi all

I tried to trawl through previous posts on banking in France but much of it seems from a while back and I guess much will have changed. Does a French bank exist that offers internet banking and a bank card they don’t charge the earth for. I don’t particularly need them to speak English, but I want to be able to withdraw cash easily, pay for items with a card and possibly receive my UK pension payments (not sure yet about that) and income from French investments. Has anyone found such a unicorn?

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Most of the banks charge, one way or another, but include a debit card. Credit cards as understood in the UK don’t exist in the same way. Must admit I haven’t used a credit card since moving here so I don’t miss it but the credit aspect is very important to people with a different kind of income stream.

I’ve got on ok with both Credit Agricole and Credit Mutuel but neither of them is that cheap. You can use Wise internationally but withdrawal against their debit card attracts charges from ATMs here.

I’m sure others will chip in with their current experience and recommendations.

Many of the online only banks include debit cards for free, here is a compsrison site, there are others:

@SuKe recently started this topic on Boursorama Bank a few days or so ago… and now seems content with her choice after a few initial now resolved hiccups…

Thank you all - will take a look at Boursarama.

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I am very happy with Boursorama so far. It was very quick and simple to set up.

The problem with CDiscount was my fault, I made a mistake entering the date of my card.

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You need an existing French RIB for Boursarama.

They’ll accept Revolut as long as it’s the French IBAN …I still haven’t received my invite to change from the Lithuanian rib.

But Boursarama is good once you tick their boxes. Fortunea is worth looking at - but from memory they needed something that you don’t have at first - be it local RIB or tax reference

This reference is useful

Just spotted about the RIB on the Boursarama site. I may need to open an ordinary account because I will need an account to set up electricity/telephone direct debits. I suppose I could always change it in the future to an online one.

Why not simply open a cheque account at a bank close to where you will be living.
Fine for DD’s and utilities etc etc…
take you time to decide if you need anything more…

Maybe things have changed (probably) but we have a joint account with Boursorama that has free debit cards. There is some usage conditions (3 transactions per month or some such) and a requirement to deposit some amount each month, but in the 3 or 4 years since we switched from LCL we have not been charged a sou (touching wood because fate has been tempted)

Even depositing cheques by post works well enough for our rare needs.

Well, an interesting outcome to my attempts to open an account with Boursorama - they have finally refused me! They weren’t happy with my visa rather than a carte de sejour and also the fact that I am divorced but have kept my married surname. Off to Credit Agricole instead to try to do it in person.

I have never tried other banks, Credit Agricole for the last 27 years seem OK

Did it not occur to you to read the member’s question before posting???

Hi @Kermit

it’s quite easy to miss the continuity on a forum… so I understand your query… but… my reply was to @blodri saying he might need an ordinary account…


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Please note that this is not a question and answer forum… information provided by respected members like @stella can be just as useful to others reading through the topic - perhaps some time later - and her experience is well regarded.
SF is a discussion forum and topics often wander off the OP.
Perhaps you might like to read the User Guide and FAQ selected from the hamburger menu on the topic bar to the left of your user icon.

As mentioned above andpreviously on another thread, the UK idea of a credit card (spend now, pay later) does exist in France but the criteria for getting one is quite difficult and you are expected to repay all monies in full by end of the month, not drips and drabs like the UK system which means a lot of people just never clear the amount they owe and it is going up and up all the time. I just transferred to CA locally from my old branch after being with them there for almost 33years and it has taken a bit of time to do with both accounts running together until next month when the old one ceases. I did not want anything fancy, just a basic debit Mastercard and cheque book for paying artisans etc. I have opted to pay €10/month for the card which includes the yearly subscription and the monthly charge plus a good deal of insurance and other benefits that come with that charge. I could have paid less but decided if I had problems the card is covered. Personally I would never have a credit card, too dangerous and have seen people get into real trouble when I lived in the UK, one chap almost lost his home because he did not rein-in his and his wife’s spending. No bank card would be free I don’t think, they are not going to give you insurance and other benefits for nothing.

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Yeah sorry, she must have got bored between posts waiting for the kettle to boil, otherwise I would never have thought of going to a bank to get a bank account! Extend my apologies please.

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Yeah sorry, she must have got bored between posts waiting for the kettle to boil, otherwise I would never have thought of going to a bank to get a bank account! Extend my apologies please.