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LIVING IN FRANCE

The banks in France that are hiking their fees in 2020 (and by how much)

A new study has revealed big differences between French banks when it comes to changing customer fees.

The banks in France that are hiking their fees in 2020 (and by how much)
French banks froze their tariffs last year in response to the ‘yellow vest’ protesters' demands, but were free to modify them this year. Photo: AFP

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).

READ ALSO: Five key tips to opening a bank account in France

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. 

 

Transfer fees

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).

READ ALSO: Which bank offers the best account for foreigners in France?

Debit cards

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. 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

Strikes

But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.

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