Essential Banking in France Vocabulary, Terms and Phrases


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Essential Banking in France Vocabulary, Terms and Phrases

Whether opening a bank account, paying your bills, or cashing a cheque, conversing with bank tellers and advisors can be a challenge for expats moving to France. Even if your French language skills are good, you’ll likely come across lots of unfamiliar words and phrases, and there’s no room for error when it comes to managing your money. To help you out, we’ve put together all the essential banking in France vocabulary, terms, and key phrases.

You might also want to check out our Currency Exchange vocabulary and French mortgages vocabulary, and if you need more help, be sure to contact one of our recommended English-speaking financial advisors or French-English translators.

Essential Banking in France Terms

The key people, contracts, and legal jargon that you need to know when opening and managing your French bank account.

Conseiller bancaire: Your bank advisor. Smaller banks will typically have just one person assigned to look after your account, so it’s worth getting to know them. For business accounts, you should be assigned a conseiller professionnel and all correspondence or enquiries should go through them.

Compte bancaire – The catch-all term for a bank account. Account options include a compte courant (current account), a compte professionnel (business account), a Compte d’épargne (savings account), a compte joint (joint account), and a compte non-résident (non-resident account)

Compte d’épargne : A savings account. The most popular types are Comptes sur Livret, instant-access government-regulated savings accounts which offer tax-free savings and ‘Comptes à Terme’, fixed-term savings accounts on which tax is levied.

Prélèvement fiscal – the automatic tax deduction made on taxable interest by your bank. All interest is taxed at a flat fixed rate of 30% (12.8% income tax and 17.2% social charges), although there are income tax exemptions available for low-income earners.

RIB (relevé d’identité bancaire) – the pre-printed form with your bank account number, IBAN, and other details used for national and international transactions.

Essential French Phrases: What to Say at the Bank

Useful French phases and questions to help with banking in France.

I would like to… Je voudrais… :

  • make a bank transfer: faire un virement /effecteur un virement
  • pay a sum of money into an account: verser une somme à un compte
  • save money: faire des économies
  • write a cheque: faire un chèque
  • open a bank account : ouvrir un compte 
  • cash a cheque : encaisser une chèque
  • withdraw cash : retirer de l’argent
  • take out a loan: contracter un prêt

Where is the nearest bank?

Où est la banque la plus proche?

Is there an ATM nearby?

Est-ce qu’il y a un ditributeur près d’ici ?

What are the charges and fees for this account? 

Quels sont les frais et charges pour ce compte ?

Can I pay you by bank transfer?

Puis-je vous payer par virement ?

How much do I need to deposit to open an account?

Combien dois-je déposer pour ouvrir un compte?

How long will it take to receive my chequebook et bank card?

Combien de temps faut-il pour recevoir mon chéquier et ma carte bancaire ?

What is the interest rate?

Quel est le taux intérêts ?

Essential Vocabulary: French Banking & Finances

An A-Z glossary of all the essential words and vocabulary you might come across when opening a French bank account.

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ADI (Assurance Décès Invalidité) : Death and invalidity insurance

Agence bancaire : bank

Agios : Interest paid on loan or overdraft

Annuité : Annually payment

Apport : Deposit you bring on loan or mortgage

Approvisionner : Credit your account

Argent liquide : Cash

Assurance vie : Life insurance policy

Avis d’opération : receipt slip

Avis à Tiers Détenteur : Notice to third party holder

Banque : Bank

Bénéficiaire : Beneficiary

Bilan : balance sheet

Bordereau de remise de chèques : cheque remittance slip

Carnet de chèques/Chéquier : Cheque book

Carte Bancaire : Bank card/debit card

Carte Bleue : debit card

Carte de crédit : credit card

Caution : Guarantee

Chèque : Cheque

Chèque de banque : Bankers draft

Chèque sans provision : A ‘bounced’ cheque

Code personnel/confidentiel/code PIN : PIN number

Commission de Compte débiteur : Overdrawn account

Compte bancaire : bank account

Compte destinataire : Account receiving money

Compte courant : current account

Compte d’épargne : savings account

Compte joint : Joint account

Compte non-résident : non-resident account

Compte professionnel: business account

Crédit : Credit

Crédit hypothécaire : Mortgage

DAB (Distributeur Automatique de Billets) : Cash Dispenser

Date d’expiration : Expiry date

Date d’opération : Date transaction recorded

Date de Valeur : Date when amount debited or credited

Débit : Debit

Débit différé : Deferred credit on a card

Débit Immédiat : Credit card is immediately debited

Découvert : Overdraft

Déposer (de l’argent) : Credit an account

Dépôt : Deposit

Devise : (Foreign) Currency

Distributeur automatique  or un GAB (guiche automatique de banque) : ATM

Echéancier : Details of bill or loan

Endosser : Sign the reverse of a cheque to be credited to an account

Espèces : Cash

Frais bancaires : Bank fees/charges

Impôt : Tax

Justificatif de domicile : a proof of address

Liquide: cash

Monnaie : Currency

Numéro de Compte : Bank account number

Opposition : Cancellation of payment

Paiement sans contact : contactless payment

Placement : Investment

Prêt : Loan

Prêt personnel : personal loan

Prélèvement automatique : Direct debit

Prêt garanti : Secured loan

Prêt affecté or crédit affecté : assigned credit loan

Procuration : Power of attorney

Relevé de compte : Bank statement

Rachat de crédit: refinancing loan

Rapatriement : Commission on receipt of an international currency

Relevé d’Identité Bancaire (RIB) : Bank identity details

Remboursement : Redemption, repayment

Retirer (de l’argent) : Withdrawal of funds

Saisie Attribution : Seizure of funds

Solde : Balance

Tableau d’amortissement : Monthly repayment schedule

Taux/ taux d’intérêt : Rate of interest

Taux de change : Exchange rate

TEG : Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Titulaire : Account holder

Valable : Valid

Virement bancaire : bank transfer

Virement permanent : standing order

Virement occasionnel: one-off transfer



Managing Your Finances in France

Managing your finances in a foreign country can feel like a constant challenge, but FrenchEntrée is here to help! Whether you need advice on paying French taxes, taking out insurance, or managing your wealth, our handy Essential Reading guides, expert FAQs, and up-to-date news reports will answer all your questions. And if we don’t have the answers, we can connect you with our trusted financial advisors.

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