SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

BANKING

What is a Livret A and should foreigners living in France open one?

If you open a French bank account, you may also be offered a Livret A saving's account - here's what that means and why it might be a good time to open one, with interest rates expected to rise in February.

What is a Livret A and should foreigners living in France open one?
Livret A savings books. (Photo by Denis CHARLET / AFP)

The Livret A is a standard savings account that is quite popular across France, it is tax-free but has a maximum amount that you can keep in it. It’s quite similar to a cash ISA in the United Kingdom or a standard savings account in the United States.

Due to inflation, Ouest France reported on January 11th that the Banque de France was expected to announce at the end of the week an interest rate increase for Livret A accounts. The rates would rise on February 1st, and likely to levels above three percent, which have not been seen in France since 2009.

Is it advisable to open one?

According to financial advisor Cedric Bernier, who works at Harrison Brook, the Livret A is “the way to start.” Bernier advises that foreigners living in France take this initial step “start saving monthly” with this savings account. 

The financial adviser warned that “the interest rate is really low,” so your funds will not grow by a large amount in this savings account, but “once you have more funds to put aside, you can begin considering other options.”

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about setting up a bank account in France

Bernier recommends keeping three to six months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund with the Livret A. Additionally, for those who arrived in France with a small amount saved that they want to keep liquid, then a Livret A would be a good option. 

If you are looking for investment options or other savings possibilities, you can read more HERE. Keep in mind that possibilities tend to be more limited for Americans in France.

READ MORE: Ask the experts: What do Americans in France need to know about investments and pensions?

Who can open one?

As the Livret A can only be opened under one name, you cannot open another one if you already have one, even if it is with a different bank.

Regarding residency requirements, both non-French residents and French residents alike can hold Livret A accounts. Depending on your bank, the typical minimum deposit amount is €10. You will not have a cheque book or card issued to this account, but transferring sums to and from your current account is a simple process. 

Are there any limits to the Livret A?

Livret A accounts have a maximum amount – as of December 2022, the ceiling was set at €22,950 for individuals and €76,500 for associations, excluding the calculation of capitalised interest.

While you can hold a Livret A and another savings plan like the “Livret de Développement Durable et Solidaire,” you cannot hold more than one of both accounts. You also cannot a Livret A in tandem with a Livret Bleu (Livret B). If you are eligible for a Livret d’Epargne Populaire (LEP), which is means-tested, then you can hold this account at the same time as a Livret A. You can learn more about other saving’s accounts in France HERE.

Americans should keep in mind that US citizens must disclose any non-US bank accounts that held $10,000 or more at any one time in the year – you do this when you file your annual tax return, you have to include a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR).

As of December 2022, the interest rate on a Livret A was two percent, with the rate set to be updated next in February 2022, likely to three percent or higher.

How do I open one?

You can set up a Livret A fairly easily by simply contacting your bank and scheduling an appointment. Some banks might allow you to set up the account online, if you already bank there.

When looking online, you can direct your searches on your bank’s website or personal space to “Add an account” (Ajouter un compte) or “Learn about saving’s options” (Décrouvrez nos Comptes Épargne & Livrets).

READ MORE: The best banks for Americans living in France

Member comments

  1. Yes. Thank you for pointing out this is for only those living in France.
    A few years back (well before Brexit) I naively opened a Livret A as a holiday homeowner to protect an amount of cash I wanted to keep for house expenses, (yes, I was naive) although I’m domiciled in the UK.
    About five years later I realised that I should have been declaring the interest to the UK Tax authority.
    A total of €35 was duly declared – it had been a modest amount – after which the hounds of hell pursued me for all my fiscal records for the past 5 years in France and the UK.
    This went on for months, despite my initial declaration and overpayment on account of tax on interest received.
    Eventually rang HMRC and the person who answered was helpful and considerate, said that I was being harassed unfairly, all was in order, and actually, HMRC owed me an amount of back tax, which I received the next day.
    So yes, I was daft and uninformed. And phew, it was resolved.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

LIVING IN FRANCE

Utility bills, ‘sexy’ myths and French seasons: 6 essential articles for life in France

What to look for in your next electricity bill, the truth about the ‘sexy' French, renting out your holiday home and Constitutional change - everything you need to know about life in France is in our round-up of must-reads in The Local

Utility bills, ‘sexy’ myths and French seasons: 6 essential articles for life in France

Last year saw a price freeze on energy bills in France that protected consumers from spiralling gas and electricity charges seen in other European countries.

This ended on December 31st and instead a price cap has been imposed, that allows bills to rise. The first price rise – on gas bills – came into effect from January 1st, and from February 1st electricity bills can also rise. Here’s what it all means for your monthly bills.

EXPLAINED: How your French electricity bill will change in February

One of the most enduring stereotypes about the French is that they are impossibly romantic, utterly charming, dangerously seductive and just downright sexy.

We know this label can’t possibly apply to an entire nation – but where does the image come from? And how do the French themselves feel about it? We asked the experts. 

Where does the ‘romantic, sexy French’ stereotype come from?

Many people dream of moving to France. It is a country steeped in culture and beautiful natural landscapes. It also has a remarkable work-life balance and social safety net.

If you are one of those who are thinking – or even just daydreaming – about moving to France, it can be hard to know where to start in your preparations. Here’s our checklist for the essential things to do before the move.

Checklist: 10 things to do before moving to France

Once you’re here, you’ll soon discover that France is like nowhere else on Earth. Some countries have just four seasons, but those lucky enough to live in France have a dizzying array of different ‘seasons’ defined by food, drink, dress and festivals. Here is our guide to the real seasons of France.

Oysters to firemen’s balls and la rentrée: The 25 seasons of the French year

Renting out your holiday home – either on a long-term or a short-term basis – is perfectly legal in France. But if you’ve bought a second home hoping that, as well as a pleasant bolthole, it will also generate some rental income, there are some things you need to know. Well, it’s complicated…

Five things to know about renting out your French property

As France moves closer to inscribing the right to abortion in its constitution, we explain how it’s possible for a country to change its fundamental document. It clearly is, as France has had more than a dozen of them in its time.

Can France’s Constitution be changed?

SHOW COMMENTS