The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

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13 months ago

Issue No. 23

Welcome to the summer! In this issue discover Dijon in Burgundy, sensational Strasbourg (and a secret speakeasy), and lovely Cognac. We'll tell you where the locals go on holiday, the secret places. Visit Versailles and the Paris Opera, Le Touquet - the "Monaco" of northern France and wild Provence. Guides, recipes and more - your trip to France without leaving home...

How bank cards work in

How bank cards work in France Don't get caught out by spending limits that are typical... French banks may restrict the amount of money you can spend on your card, catching people out constantly. We asked the experts at Credit Agricole Britline, the French bank that speaks English, how to avoid this problem. The way in which banks operate in France compared to the UK is different and one good example are bank cards. It can prove frustrating if you find yourself in a situation whereby you have money in your bank account but discover – whilst waiting to pay at the check-out or withdrawing cash at an ATM – that the transaction has been refused. How can you plan ahead to avoid this problem and potential embarrassment? In a nutshell: know your spending limits, understand what the card costs (e.g. fees/ charges) and decide which card best suits your lifestyle. The majority of bank cards in France are Carte Bancaire and you will see shops and restaurants displaying the CB sign. Carte Bancaires are debit cards and any transactions are deducted immediately from a bank account. The French certainly do not have the same appetite as Britons for credit cards, with most preferring the standard debit card. There are however plenty of options to ensure you have a card that matches your requirements and lifestyle. Cards have limits for cash withdrawals and payments Although UK banks will limit how much money you can withdraw from an ATM per day, usually £500, in France the limit is generally lower and there are also restrictions on card payments each month. Take a standard Carte Bancaire (Visa or MasterCard) for example; over a 7 day period the maximum amount for cash withdrawals is €450. For card payments (online or in shops) you can spend up to €2,300 per month. This is unlikely to pose a problem for many people day-to-day; but if you have bigger

expenses, paying for renovations on your home in France for instance, or you receive a large (and unexpected!) bill, these limits may present a challenge… If you reach your spending limit, a phone call to your bank should resolve the problem. CA Britline (part of the Crédit Agricole group) has been helping British customers in France for 20 years, providing a full range of banking services in English. We can organise higher spending limits on your card temporarily or for a longer period. There is a cost to do this, but by using the free CA app ‘Ma Banque’ you can adjust the limit yourself. It is always a good idea to contact us first if you are planning a major purchase or undertaking an expensive renovation project. In certain situations an overdraft facility may be appropriate and customers living in France, the UK/Ireland are eligible. Bear in mind that if you do have a higher spending limit set on your card you must have the funds to cover it. Going overdrawn can cause problems in France. If you need to top up your account from the UK, you can use the Britline International Payment Service*, our bespoke transfer exchange facility. Choosing the right bank card for you CA Britline has two cards which are exclusive to our customers. They offer higher spending limits for payments and cash withdrawals. These are the CA Britline Classic and CA Britline Premier, which also have travel assistance, travel insurance plus other features. The Premier card has additional advantages such as extended warranties on purchases to cover the cost of repairs of damaged goods. There is no charge for increasing the spending limits for Premier card customers. Customers may use their CA Britline cards anywhere in France and internationally, to withdraw cash, make payments in shop and of course online. In addition to Euro accounts, we also offer accounts in Sterling, perfect for people who live in the UK but who are regular visitors to France. One further tip – you can save money by using your French card in France rather than incurring foreign transaction fees on your UK bank card. We also provide deferred payment cards which deduct the money at the end of month. This can be really useful for customers paid on a monthly basis.