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types, operation and costs in 2020

28 septembre 2020


banking account
All about the bank account.

The bank account is a term in everyday language that few French people would know how to define precisely. This is normal since the term bank account is associated with banking products of a distinct nature and purpose. How to find your way around? Here are all the elements to know how to distinguish a current account, a current account, a term account or a securities account, as well as a whole series of useful questions about the bank account.

What’s a bank account?

A bank account, what’s that?

A banking account actually covers several definitions. Used in banking jargon, it can even be confusing. In spoken language, the bank account is treated as a current account which centralises all the classic banking transactions, both debit and credit.

A giro account is a must for making secure money deposits and paying bills. Also known as a current account, it contributes to the sound budgetary management of its holder, whether an individual or a company, individual or collective.

Opening a bank account is a right for any adult (from 16 years old for a savings account), holder of a valid identity document and who can prove a fixed place of residence. If a bank refuses to open an account, it can then use the account entitlement.

What is account entitlement?

The right to a bank account makes it possible to limit or even eliminate the phenomenon of banking exclusion, which is particularly disabling for managing one’s cash inflows and outflows. The right to an account applies when one or more banks refuse to allow someone to have an account.opening a bank account. They don’t have to justify themselves.

banque de france and account entitlement
Account Law and the Banque de France

In this case, the subscriber can have recourse to two solutions:

  • the request to the Banque de France may come directly from the banking institution that has refused the application for a deposit account ;
  • the application to the Banque de France may come directly from the subscriber whose application has been rejected.

The Banque de France then designates a bank to receive the subscriber. The subscriber is free to use a minimum package of banking services, allowing him/her to manage his/her personal finances. The subscriber is thus given free access to the opening, maintenance and closing of the bank account, including :

  • a bank card for payment with systematic authorization;
  • two cashier’s checks a month;
  • an annual change of address ;
  • one bank statement per month;
  • remote consultation of the current account ;
  • direct debit of bank transfers ;
  • depositing and withdrawing cash at the counter of the domiciliary bank ;
  • the collection of transfers and cheques ;
  • payment by transfers, direct debits and interbank securities.

On the other hand, the right to the account does not allow you to have a checkbook or claim overdraft protection.

What is the account agreement?

The agreement between the customer and his bank is validated by the signing of the account agreement. This one notifies:

  • the general conditions for opening, transferring and closing the current account ;
  • the rules governing the operation of the current account, the use of means of payment and authorised bank overdraft ;
  • the rates associated with the operation of the bank account ;
  • how to calculate interest charges and value dates ;
  • the steps to be followed in the event of an operating fault ;
  • the future of the current account in the event of the subscriber’s death ;
  • the investigation of the appeal for referral to the banking mediator in the event of disputes between the two parties.

How do I open a bank account?

open a bank account online
How do I open a current account?

L’opening a current account requires the provision of several supporting documents to the bank. These include the identity of the subscriber(s) (passport, identity card), place of residence (tax notice, electricity bill, property title, etc.) and possibly income. The subscriber will also have to provide a specimen of his signature.

All these elements enable banks to verify the identity of customers. This administratively cumbersome procedure is in fact an obligation imposed by the bodies responsible for supervising the banking market. Their objective is to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. In this respect, the bank is likely to be informed of the purpose and nature of the business relationship as well as all relevant information on the subscriber. It is mandatory for the bank to exercise increased vigilance throughout the term of account agreement. The client will therefore be asked to mention his professional activities, his income and all related information that will allow him to fully appreciate the constitution of his assets.

Opening a current account totally online

Note that online banks offer totally dematerialized and therefore faster procedures for opening an online bank account. Indeed, they delegate the verification task to traditional banks by requiring that the first payment be made from or to an account opened in another institution. Because of the existence of this first current account, the verification procedure will therefore already have been carried out.

The different types of bank accounts

A each bank account its function. However, three categories of bank accounts can be dissociated according to their purpose (day-to-day money management, savings and stock market investments) :

  • the standard account which is used to manage one’s money on a daily basis and which is referred to under various names: current account, current account, checking account, deposit account ;
  • the savings account that has the advantage of earning interest. These are interest-bearing bank accounts. In this category we find:
    • the passbook savings account (Livret A, Livret Jeune, Livret de développement durable et solidaire – LDDS, Livret d’épargne populaire – LEP, etc.) ;
    • the industrial development account (Codevi) ;
    • the home savings plan (PEL) and the home savings account (CEL) ;
    • the Retirement Savings Plan (PERP) and the Group Retirement Savings Plan (Perco).
  • the securities account for stock market investment products (purchase of mutual funds, shares, bonds, etc.) and the stock savings plan (PEA).

Bank accounts can also be broken down according to their nature:

  • the individual accountor a bank account belonging to one person;
  • the joint accountor a bank account belonging to two or more persons. As a reminder, the joint holders are jointly and severally liable for the account;
  • the undivided account (undivided account), which is a collective bank account from which no transaction can take place without the signature of all the joint holders. Here again, the co-holders are jointly and severally liable for the account;
  • the term accountA bank account is a bank account where the holder indicates that he or she does not wish to use the money deposited for a certain period of time. In exchange, he or she gets a higher remuneration. However, there are penalties for withdrawing funds before maturity.

Good to know: it is possible to hold several bank accounts in several establishments.

Bank Account FAQs

Which bank account for a non-resident?

For natural persons, the category of non-residents includes those whose main residence is abroad, in addition to foreign military personnel and civil servants domiciled in France. Have a bank account in France for a non-resident is key to managing day-to-day expenses without having to continually pay commissions with every withdrawal and payment. Three categories of interlocutors can offer solutions to a non-resident wishing to open a current account: traditional banks, online banks and neobanks. In the processing of subscription applications, it should be noted that the regulatory framework imposed is identical for a client resident in France and a non-resident client.

Opening an account abroad: what are the rules?

Possessing a bank account abroad is perfectly legal as long as you declare it to the French tax authorities when you draw up your tax return. The steps to be taken are more complicated for an expatriate going outside the European Union. It is advisable to contact the authorities on the spot or before departure to find out the details. Having a bank account while living abroad is of practical interest first of all, but it is also economical when the interest rates on bank accounts abroad are more advantageous.

Blocked bank account: reasons and solutions

There are several reasons for this result in the blocking of a bank account : sums due to the Public Treasury, court decision, banned account holder, deceased account holder, security measure with regard to a minor child. Regardless of the situation, recourse is always possible to unblock the situation and recover the use of the account and the means of payment. The subscriber can request conciliation from his creditors or the courts. In the context of a filing with the Banque de France (Fichier central des chèques – FCC, fichier des incidents de remboursement des crédits aux particuliers – FICP), the subscriber must, above all, clean up his situation and pay off his debts in order to obtain the end of the filing.

Active and inactive account maintenance fees

In traditional banking institutions, the consumer now systematically pays account maintenance fees. These correspond to the costs of active account operation and are obligatorily displayed in the tariff brochures. But are there any dormant account maintenance fee ? The answer is yes! An inactive bank account is characterized by an absence of movement on the account or by an absence of manifestation of the holder (or of the beneficiaries in case of death of the subscriber) during one year. Banks have the right to apply charges, the law capping them at 30 €/year.

Which bank with no account maintenance fees?

rate increase account maintenance fees

Account maintenance fees have become widespread in recent years in traditional institutions. However, they inevitably weigh more and more on the bills of people in a situation of financial fragility or even over-indebtedness. To avoid paying them, customers must therefore turn to other players such as online and mobile banks. However, we must be vigilant about the conditions of banks without account maintenance fees. These can be linked to conditions of income, outstanding amounts, direct debit of income or use of the bank card.

Closing your bank account: how to close your accounts and passbooks?

To close your bank account, a simple letter with acknowledgement of receipt sent to the establishment is sufficient. No justification for departure is required. This operation has been free of charge since 2005. However, an account or bankbook cannot be closed on the spur of the moment. It is important to regularize your situation correctly, to transfer the transactions to an account or a passbook. other bank account and assess their costs. The banking mobility has been simplified and streamlined since February 2017. and the entry into force of the Macron measure. The subscriber can sign a banking mobility mandate, stipulating that the host bank takes care of all the actions to be carried out with the creditors and the home bank.

How to change banks easily?

Changing banks is not part of the French way of life. Despite the arrival ofadvantageous commercial banking offers from online and mobile banksThe bank attrition rate varies little. It stagnates at around 4.5%, which is significantly lower than in neighbouring Europe. However, the Macron measure on banking mobility does make it easier to change banks. All the subscriber has to do is sign a power of attorney at his or her bank. new bank so that it can take charge of the process. The banks undertake to comply with the time limits for the transfer of information, such as the 10 working day time limit for direct debits and transfers and the 5 working day time limit for the bank left to give all recurring transactions observed on the old bank account over the last 13 months.