Choosing a bank that’s right for you

Ease of access to your account, customer service and reassurance that your money is safe and secure are important to us all. This article provides useful information to give you peace of mind when deciding which French bank to use in France. 

French banking: key things to think about

France has one of the largest financial services industries in Europe with a wide selection of banks. The following questions will help you to make your choice:  

  • Communication: Before opening an account, ask yourself: Are they the type of bank you are looking for – and will they understand your needs? How do you prefer to contact your bank? 
  • Ease of access: Is it important for you to be able to go into a local branch to do your banking in person? If so, where is your nearest branch and what are their opening times? 
  • Language: If you do not speak French confidently, is there is an advisor present who speaks English? Think about the long-term as well, e.g. how long will that person stay there? Otherwise, telephone and online banking is the solution: make sure that the person on the other end of the telephone speaks the same language as you. 
  • Banking Apps: How easy is it to access your account; is there a banking app available?
  • Services: What services do you need on your account? Cheques are still accepted in France and are still a useful means of payment and to receive money. Some online banks may not offer this option. 

What steps do banks take to protect customers' funds?

Various government schemes protect funds held in bank accounts, instant access savings accounts and other investments. For example funds held in:

  1. Current & other savings accounts: The organisation Fonds de Garanties des Dépôts protects funds of up to 100,000€ per person and per bank institution.
  2. Instant savings accounts: Some government regulated accounts give complete protection.
  3. Share accounts or Assurance Vie policies: these similarly have their own protection in place. 

Click here for further information about the fund guarantee scheme. 

Online banking: keeping your money safe 

Online banking is today an established way of day-to-day banking in France. Banks always send customers an individual security code to initially access their account: it’s critical to personalise this immediately. Never disclose your personal code to anyone - not even your bank. Your account will stay safe and secure as long as you follow this advice.

What to do if you lose your bank card

Contact your bank as soon as possible: most banks have a 24-hour emergency number. Banking apps should allow you to temporarily block your card - immediately. If you find your card later, you can remove this stop. Alternatively, banks can make this stoppage permanent and order you a replacement card.

CA Britline: The French bank that speaks your language

CA Britline provides a bilingual, English-speaking service to our customers. 
With CA Britline you can call or email us whenever you wish. Customers may also request a call back using the website. Need an appointment with your advisor? No problem using your online banking account or the app!

Open a French bank account today with CA Britline in 4 easy steps. Once you complete the form online and supply the supporting documents, we will then contact you to discuss your requirements before opening your account.

We look forward to talking with you!


Image used is provided by Getty Images.
First published: 20th December 2023