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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. Credit Agricole are going to charge me 103 euros for not having sufficient funds in my account to cover a Tax Fonciere bill. Can this possibly be real? Any advice greatly appreciated.
 

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Consider yourself lucky - overdrafting your account used to be a felony here in France and could easily get your account closed and have you put on a "no banking" list. That has changed, but the overdraft charges (if you don't have an arrangement with your bank) are definitely outrageous.

You may want to go in and have a "discussion" with your bank counselor. There may be some way to soften the blow if you sign up for some form of overdraft privileges.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Yes, French banks do expect you to manage your account properly. Going into the red without authorisation is "sinful". That said, I was given a large overdraft limit without asking...the bank thinks I'm a good customer....just because a lot of money went through my account for house sale , purchase last year, and I negotiated a bridging loan.

Yes, as Bev says, see you counsellor, even better the directeur.....they have more power. Bank charges are definitely negotiable in France...I've done it. You may find that if you discuss buying other bank products....insurance. investment, super gold credit cards etc, the bank may be more open to discussions.


DejW
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Bev, much appreciated. As a query, is it possible to exist in France without a bank account? What with the monthly charge and these outrageous fees I do not feel that I get anywhere near value for money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks DejW, as with Bev your help is much appreciated. Can you offer any advice with the question I asked Bev? Thanks.
Mark
 

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Thanks Bev, much appreciated. As a query, is it possible to exist in France without a bank account? What with the monthly charge and these outrageous fees I do not feel that I get anywhere near value for money.
The monthly charges vary from bank to bank and depending on what "services" you are signed up for. But as far as getting by in France without a bank account, I'm afraid I wouldn't attempt it. The tax people, for one, require a bank account (i.e. a French bank account) to settle your taxes, and many other merchants and vendors, including your landlord, require you to have a bank account in order to make payments.

Further to this, all payments of 1500€ or more must be made by some sort of "traceable" means - cheque, bank transfer or some other manner that pretty much requires a French bank account.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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If you live full time in France I think it would be very difficult to manage without a bank account. I mean how would you pay utility bills, how would you pay your taxes. How would you pay for petrol and shopping - if you use a UK bank card and cash withdrawals doesn't that clock up fees every time you use it?

Not wishing to state the obvious but the issue of outrageous penalties is easily enough solved - don't go overdrawn! But now that you've done it once and discovered that it's not treated near as casually here as it is in the UK, would I be correct in assuming you now intend never to let it happen again? If you have internet banking it's not a lot of effort to keep a check. Being clobbered for a penalty is certainly what motivated me to start keeping a more careful eye on it, and in fact Crédit Agricole offers you an option to set up a text or email alert whenever your balance goes below a certain figure that you specify. I set an alert up after I had a direct debit bounced for the first time and I think it's a good safety net to have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks EuroTrash. Of course. you have stated the obvious and I do not intend to let it happen again. At present I still reside in the UK and have to make money transfers to Credit Agricole and on this occasion I was late. I still feel very resentful that the bank can get away with charging ridiculous amounts of money as charges and then presumably laughing at us when they drop it into their coffers.
Your help is much appreciated.
Mark
 

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Thanks EuroTrash. Of course. you have stated the obvious and I do not intend to let it happen again. At present I still reside in the UK and have to make money transfers to Credit Agricole and on this occasion I was late. I still feel very resentful that the bank can get away with charging ridiculous amounts of money as charges and then presumably laughing at us when they drop it into their coffers.
Your help is much appreciated.
Mark
You just need to get used to the idea that banking is different in France and much more controlled than in the UK. Once you get used to it, you will understand that it's not actually a bad thing. The amounts are not necessarily 'ridiculous', as they are designed to cover various costs associated with defaults on payment and meeting government banking requirements, which are there to protect everyone and to avoid the sorts of thing that happened during the global financial crisis. Bailing out banks is no laughing matter. They're not laughing at you at all when they receive the fee. You have been given good advice re approaching your bank with a view to avoiding this sort of charge in the future. The key I guess is to take responsibility for managing your account and knowing when and what payments are due.

Cheers
 

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If you have internet banking, to set up an alert you just click on Alertes which is under Outils which is at the bottom of the functions bar on the left. It's very easy to set up, I think there is a small charge each time an alert is sent (inevitably!) but then again, if you never need an alert you pay nothing and if you do get an alert then paying a few cents is well worth it if it saves you a hundred euro fine.

I know exactly how you feel but it's not as if these charges and penalties are hidden, they are all set out in the terms and conditions that you are sent every year. Once you have stopped seething you will recognise that the bank is only doing what it told you it would. Likewise when the tax office and the utilities etc give you a payment deadline and tell you they will add a penalty if payment isn't received by that date, they are not bluffing, the fines are added automatically if you pay the bill a day late you will find you still owe them another 50€ or so. It's a different mindset and you do have to keep on top of it.
 

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Thanks EuroTrash. Of course. you have stated the obvious and I do not intend to let it happen again. At present I still reside in the UK and have to make money transfers to Credit Agricole and on this occasion I was late. I still feel very resentful that the bank can get away with charging ridiculous amounts of money as charges and then presumably laughing at us when they drop it into their coffers.
Your help is much appreciated.
Mark
Would you rather have the tax people taking your furniture to pay the debt? Or repossessing your home to pay the debt?? They can also go into your bank account and just take the money without your knowledge...

Instead of complaining, I would thank the bank.
 

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Likewise when the tax office and the utilities etc give you a payment deadline and tell you they will add a penalty if payment isn't received by that date, they are not bluffing, the fines are added automatically if you pay the bill a day late you will find you still owe them another 50€ or so. It's a different mindset and you do have to keep on top of it.
I've had a few French tax penalties applied for late payments, because of not being where they sent the bills at various time.

I've negotiated the penalties away in each case.
 

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I've negotiated the penalties away in each case.
Yes me too ;-) they are very good like that, even URSSAF. But I don't much having to go along and grovel, and I suspect that their patience will soon wear thin if you keep on doing it.
Plus I do like to feel that I'm able to learn from my mistakes, and I get annoyed with myself if I then go and do the same thing again.
 

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The alternative is an internet only bank such as ING or Hello for example I have not used them so cannot say what they are like but they are fee free
Some are fee free on condition that you have a minimum amount going into the account every month.
I doubt any are penalty free if you break their conditions :rolleyes:
 

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To add on to your already-answered question: no I don't think it'd be easy at all to live in France without a French bank account. That's the key to everything, even phone/internet service. They want your IBAN number, etc.

I'd say the only way you could do it is either being a billionaire living in some all-inclusive resort type area or hotel that takes care of everything for you...or if you're an au pair or student in some kind of temporary exchange/home-stay program where someone is doing everything for you.
 

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To add on to your already-answered question: no I don't think it'd be easy at all to live in France without a French bank account. That's the key to everything, even phone/internet service. They want your IBAN number, etc.
Sorry, but you can pay for everything online or on the telephone but mobile telephone contracts using a foreign credit/debit card. Or with taxes, send a transfer from a foreign bank or card also.
 

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Huh? I was talking about phone/internet contracts, usually needed for long-term living. But maybe it is possible to get a pay per minute phone you mean? (Though, yes, you can buy food and clothes and stuff without a French card...)

As a foreigner living in France, having a bank account seemed to be the key that opened up all doors.
 

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Sorry, but you can pay for everything online or on the telephone but mobile telephone contracts using a foreign credit/debit card. Or with taxes, send a transfer from a foreign bank or card also.
It may be theoretically possible, but simply establishing "residence" in France would require a bank account - for either buying or renting a place to live.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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