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Two months in to the French adventure and still such a lot to sort out... And should it really be snowing in Provence?

Can anyone advise, please, on transfer of funds into France? I need to bring monthly amounts across from the UK while I get my business established. I was given advice locally that MoneyCorp was a good way of doing it. I registered and tried it: last month they gave me an exchange rate of 1.07 while my UK bank gave me 1.08 and my partner's UK bank gave him 1.12!!

But our UK banks cannot transfer directly into our French bank (Barclays) so we have to dash around drawing cash out of ATMs and taking it the bank (an hour away) to pay it in :(

Any recommendations that perform better than MoneyCorp gratefully received.

Louise x
 
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I'm a bit confused, your UK banks cannot send funds to French banks? Why ever not? I've been doing this for twenty years via the straightforward international transfer system, bank to bank. Takes 24-48 hours.
 

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I'm a bit confused, your UK banks cannot send funds to French banks? Why ever not? I've been doing this for twenty years via the straightforward international transfer system, bank to bank. Takes 24-48 hours.
I've been basing this on their on-line information which says they cannot transfer funds overseas. Perhaps I should speak to them instead, an expensive and frustrating process which I tend to avoid because they all have lo-call numbers which cost a fortune from here.

Are there any special terms I should use with regard to this process?

Louise x
 

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You may want to talk to your bank (get Skype or some other VOIP service to get around the long distance charges). I've got an account in the UK at HSBC, and while they can't do international transfers via the Internet access, they've always been quite willing to make transfers to my French bank if I provide them with a written letter authorizing the transfer.

OK, there are charges on both sides of the transaction, so generally you want to make the largest transfer possible as infrequently as possible. But you may be able to set up some sort of a regular transfer via signed letter or statement, if that's what you have in mind.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Some banks allow international transfers to be made via the client's online banking access. Others require the account-holder to issue a letter authorising them to accept faxed instructions from the client (emails are a no-go).
 

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With Currencies Direct I just need to phone them and give my UK debit card details - they have my French bank account details on file. Takes 4-5 days. And yes I do use Skype. About £40 per year for unlimited phone calls to the UK. But Currencies Direct have a standard London number.
 

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Hi penny-louise...
my uncle regulary has his pension sent to australia via company called Currencies 4 You. I myself use the company, but for large size transactions. I usually get decent rates, looking the rates you were offered, the rates i got seem amazing! But, i guess just get a quote off them, they should easily do the trick for you. Also, if its the same sort of month, you could set up a standing order with your bank, and get them to send it automatically to the currencies company (this is what i do with my uncles pension) .. and they will convert the money up, and send it to your account in france.
 

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Progress is being made: I have found landlines for both our UK banks and been able to speak to them. Mine will transfer with just a phone call, his needs written authorisation. But both offer appalling rates, nothing near as good as just using the ATM here to access the same accounts.

Currencies Direct are being a little slow to set up an account, but their rates look a little better. But just for now, a daily trip to the hole in the wall looks best!

Louise x
 

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You need a bank account in France
You can obtain it (Without incomes proofs ) from Caisse d'Epargne and la Poste.
They will give you your IBAN number (international bank account number) composed of numeric and alphabetic codes (country , bank, branch, ... account number + key)

Once you have that you ask your bank in the UK for a Swift transfer (this is an electronic payment private inter-bank system adopted by most western Banks). Swift does not mean fast, it is a brand. It takes 48 hours to credit your account.

Safe reliable, available on most e-banking platform, ask your banker. Transfer fees depends on banks. In my French bank 12 transfers for free in a year.
 

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If you have your IBAN number and BIC code of the bank in france you should be able to make a SEPA (single european payment) from your bank. I bank with Citi and these have no charge and are at pretty much the current market FX rate (last week made at 1.1249 when the official interbank rate was around 1.14).
 

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I really like OzForex....tranzfers dot com. they charge you $5 per transaction which is very reasonable.

Two months in to the French adventure and still such a lot to sort out... And should it really be snowing in Provence?

Can anyone advise, please, on transfer of funds into France? I need to bring monthly amounts across from the UK while I get my business established. I was given advice locally that MoneyCorp was a good way of doing it. I registered and tried it: last month they gave me an exchange rate of 1.07 while my UK bank gave me 1.08 and my partner's UK bank gave him 1.12!!

But our UK banks cannot transfer directly into our French bank (Barclays) so we have to dash around drawing cash out of ATMs and taking it the bank (an hour away) to pay it in :(

Any recommendations that perform better than MoneyCorp gratefully received.

Louise x
 

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You need a bank account in France
You can obtain it (Without incomes proofs ) from Caisse d'Epargne and la Poste.
In my French bank 12 transfers for free in a year.
Hi,

Do you know if I can do this from outside France - I'm looking to set up a Euro account for future use. I'd also like to know how you got 12 transfers for free, the last time I used an IBAN transfer they charged me £49 for a transfer of €250 !!

Thanks

David
 

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Hi,

Do you know if I can do this from outside France - I'm looking to set up a Euro account for future use. I'd also like to know how you got 12 transfers for free, the last time I used an IBAN transfer they charged me £49 for a transfer of €250 !!

Thanks

David
I suspect Gallus is talking about transfers to banks within France - something the banks are starting to "push" what with Internet accounts and all.

Until you are actually resident in France, you'll probably be limited to a "foreigner" account (I think they're actually called "non-resident"). There are a few limitations on such accounts, though nothing too onerous. It would, however, be a good idea to set up your bank account on your next trip to France.

The trick is that banking in France is very much local. Bank X may be great in one town, and awful in the next, so once you're resident, you want to put your bank account in a bank that is nearby (since you do have to stop into the bank for certain transactions) and "sympa" at least in the local branch.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I suspect Gallus is talking about transfers to banks within France - something the banks are starting to "push" what with Internet accounts and all.

Until you are actually resident in France, you'll probably be limited to a "foreigner" account (I think they're actually called "non-resident"). There are a few limitations on such accounts, though nothing too onerous. It would, however, be a good idea to set up your bank account on your next trip to France.

The trick is that banking in France is very much local. Bank X may be great in one town, and awful in the next, so once you're resident, you want to put your bank account in a bank that is nearby (since you do have to stop into the bank for certain transactions) and "sympa" at least in the local branch.
Cheers,
Bev
We have a joint French account as well as accounts with two credit unions in the States. My credit unions will be more than happy to transfer funds to our French account but when all the dust clears, we end up paying a hefty fee on the French side.

We had some major expenses on our new house (Plastering and gutters) to the tune of 12K Euros. We ended up transferring money from one US credit union to the other credit union then making hefty ATM withdrawals from both. Cheers :ranger:
 

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I was not referring to transfers within France. But international (in fact intercontinental) transfers outside Europe. Monies credited in France or debited from France.

But I still agree with you that all banks and all agents of the same bank can provide very different levels of service, if any. The best is to test them . Unfortunately for you.

That is what I did in South Africa with 3 different banks . The first one lost track of my money transfer for 30 days, the second one denied I ever did a transfer , and the third one ..... well forget it.

You can open accounts in France in foreign currencies (but not Somali Shillings I am afraid). As a first step, I strongly recommend a savings account which is not associated to any payment system such as debit or credit card, or cheques... They might be more lenient on your proof of residency to come at a later stage. Recipisse of carte de sejour is valid. You just cash your money at the teller. I wrote "as a first step".

12 electronic transfers for free is included in my banking services package which includes 2 Visa security reinforced debit cards (stolen money refund+insurance) at so called "discount" price, electronic banking for free, but I pay for the rest (cheques and cash withdrawal abroad). This a large French bank with one subsidiary only (in Paris).

Good luck
 

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We have been using XE trade (xetrade dot com) for two years and it has been very easy and reliable in moving funds from the USA to France. Fairly reasonable exchange rate, and a $22 wire transfer fee once you get set up on both ends. On-line interface is easy and has your past transfer history.
 

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12 electronic transfers for free is included in my banking services package which includes 2 Visa security reinforced debit cards (stolen money refund+insurance) at so called "discount" price, electronic banking for free, but I pay for the rest (cheques and cash withdrawal abroad). This a large French bank with one subsidiary only (in Paris).
That's a point worth mentioning. Many banks have a whole range of "plans" whereby you pay a set fee (per month or per year) and then get many of the various services as part of the deal - transfers, bank cards (deferred or not), Internet banking, overdraft protection, etc.

Basically, nothing is free from the French banks. (As Coton noted, you normally get charged for the bank "accepting" a wire transfer from abroad.) But if you check their various plans and programs, you can usually find something that offers the services you tend you use for a somewhat reasonable fixed fee.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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That's a point worth mentioning. Many banks have a whole range of "plans" whereby you pay a set fee (per month or per year) and then get many of the various services as part of the deal - transfers, bank cards (deferred or not), Internet banking, overdraft protection, etc.

Basically, nothing is free from the French banks. (As Coton noted, you normally get charged for the bank "accepting" a wire transfer from abroad.) But if you check their various plans and programs, you can usually find something that offers the services you tend you use for a somewhat reasonable fixed fee.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks to all for the data, very useful.

David
 

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Experience with French banking can be disappointing. We met with a new banker (credit mutuel) in order to change bank in a town close to Geneva were we intended to settlle down and we received an extremely cold welcome.

Initially the branch manager was jovial and alert and when we started making questions about availability of funds after transfers and other constraints such as banking costs, overdraft costs, he reluctantly gave us a brochure without any verbal explanations.

I suddenly realised that he did not want "foreign" (I am a French National 'though) customers in his branch especially the ones that ask questions. We left him and expressed our concerns to his management. We are still waiting for their answer and apologies. These guys never apologise.

In other bank they lost one cheque (in credit) and refused to undertake the loss.
 
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