There are big differences between French banks when it comes to fee changes for 2020, according to a study by Panorabanques, a website that compares French banks.
On average annual bank charges in France increased marginally from €215,10 to €215,50.
Most of the increases were for operations carried out in person in the branches of banks, such as one-off transfers.
Laure Prenat, General director of Panorabanques said: “The banks are increasing the fees for operations carried out in branches to encourage their customers to carry out these operations online for free which will free up bank advisers for more complex, high value tasks such as savings or loan advice”.
Here is a list of what's changed since last year.
Fees for using a French bank card abroad
Using your French carte bleu abroad doesn't come for free for most account holders.
Indeed despite competition between banks fees for using cards abroad have generally risen this year.
The study revealed that for every €1,000 spent abroad (five withdrawals of €100 and two payments of €250) with a normal carte bleu the fee would be €41 on average, so around four percent of the amount spent.
That reflects a slight rise of 0.7 percent on 2019 fees.
Some 46 banks hiked the fees for using cards abroad while only six lowered them. Some banks charged no fees at all for certain cards (Boursorama – Ultim and Visa Premier and Fortuna – Gold Mastercard and FOSFO card).
Costs of having a bank account
Not all of French banks charge their customers for maintaining a bank account, but an increasing amount do. This fee, known as the frais de tenue de compte, was one of the charges some banks raised in 2020.
As illustrated in the tweet below from Le Parisien, the steepest hikes were introduced by Crédit Agricole Charente-Périgort and Groupama Banque (both raising their fees from €0 to €12).
Then came Crédit Agricole Nord-Est, Crédit agricole Loise Haute-Loire, Banque Chalus and Crédit Agricole Centre-France, all of which increased their already-existing fees of €12 with 60 percent, 33 percent, 30 percent and 30 percent respectively.
— Le Parisien Infog (@LeParisienInfog) January 7, 2020
Some banks also imposed a steep hike of the charge known as virements ponctuels en agence, one-off transfers. Again, not all banks charge their customers for these transfers, but some of those who do are pricey.
Topping the list of price hikers were Crédit Agricole Lorraine and Caisse d’Epargne Hauts de France. They increased their one-off transfer fees with 40 and 33 percent respectively (from €5 to €7 and from €3,75 to €5).
Debit card prices only slightly increased (0.2 percent on average for all the banks included in the study), but again some banks raised their prices more than others.
The banks increasing their carte bleue fees the most were Crédit agricole Pyrénées Gascogne (+9.7 percent, from €43 to €46), Banque Chalus (+6.12 percent, from €49 to €52), Banque de Savoie (+4.87 percent, from €52 to €55) and Banque populaire Auverghe Rhone Alpes (+4.87 percent, from €41 to €43).
Check/cheque book fees
Yes many banks in France still have cheque books.
Cheque book fees (frais d'envoi d'un chéquier en recommandé) also increased by an average of 5 percent, with eight banks imposing hikes of more than 10 percent.
The steepest cheque fee hikes were found at ING (+40 percent, from €5 to €7), Caisse d'épargne Bretagne (+31.57 percent, from €7,60 to €10) and BNP Paribas (+18.16 percent, from €9.36 to €11.06)
See the Le Parisien tweet above for complete list.
French banks froze their tariffs last year in response to the ‘yellow vest’ protesters' demands, but were free to modify them this year.