Whether you want to switch banks or are returning home after a period working or studying in France, closing your French bank account is a straightforward procedure. However, it’s important to follow the correct procedure. Here’s how to close a French bank account.
Closing Your Bank Account in France
In France, you have a legal right to close any bank account in your name at any time without having to give a reason (as long as the account is in credit and all relevant fees have been paid).
Switching to a Different French Bank
If you opt to change banks, you can also request that your new bank take care of this for you. You will sign a ‘mandat de mobilité’ with your chosen bank and they will be able to take care of all the details. This includes closing your previous current account; transferring any direct debits (prélèvement automatique) with creditors, for example, your electricity provider; and contacting debtors (such as your employer or Social Security) on your behalf. You can also request to have any remaining funds transferred to your new account when your old account is closed.
Fees for Closing a French Bank Account
Generally, there is no charge for closing a bank account in France, although you will of course need to pay any outstanding debts or fees on the account before closure. However, depending on the account policy, there may be associated charges for closing or dissolving certain savings accounts or schemes.
Requesting the Closure of Your French Account
In order to close a French bank account, you will need to formally request the account closure by letter. This needs to hand-written in French and signed, and you should include your full name and address at the top. This will be the address to which a cheque for any remaining balance will be sent.
This letter should be sent by signed-for delivery (lettre recommandée avec avis de reception) and you must by law, return all cards and chequebooks associated with the account.
The following example is taken from the Institut National de la Consommation:
Demande de la fermeture d’un compte bancaire
Your full name and address
Titulaire d’un compte courant ouvert à votre agence de (insert the account holding branch here) sous les références (insert your bank account number here), je vous informe par la présente de ma volonté de fermer ce compte.
Je vous prie de bien vouloir mettre en œuvre, à compter de ce jour, les diverses démarches conduisant à la fermeture définitive de mon compte. Le solde actuel est suffisant pour permettre le paiement des chèques et autres moyens de règlement encore en circulation.
A la date de la fermeture, je vous remercie de bien vouloir m’adresser un relevé de compte détaillé et un chèque représentant le montant du solde définitif.
Closing a Joint Account
In order to close a joint account, both parties will need to sign the above letter. If both parties are not present or one party is not cooperating, you should contact your bank first. One option is to ask for a ‘dénonciation de la convention de compte joint’, which will require any use of the account or withdrawal of funds to be agreed upon by both parties. This will also need to be requested by a hand-written letter sent to your bank by signed-for delivery.
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.