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How to manage your money well in France

Wherever you are in the world, you need to manage your daily budget but also your financing or investment operations. Here are some keys to the French banking system.

The French and money culture

In bars, restaurants and hotels service is included in the price shown. There is no obligation to leave a tip, including for taxi drivers. You can, however, leave one if you think the service was worth it.

The French do not always use their bank card to pay, especially for small amounts. They prefer, for example, to take cash when they go to the bakery. It is good to know, however, that the maximum authorised amount when paying for a product or service at a store in cash is set at 1,000 euros.

It is also worth knowing there is no point haggling over prices in most shops. There is one exception: the "Les Puces" flea markets or second-hand dealers of vintage furniture.

Good to know

The French are relatively modest when it comes to talking about money and it isn’t the done thing to talk about your salary.

Manage your money daily

Means of payment

A bank cards are the preferred method for making withdrawals and payments, especially online in France. It’s good to know, however, that bank cards in France are generally not free. You have the choice between an immediate debit card or a deferred debit card, for which you pay the balance at the end of each month. This allows you more flexibility in managing your personal finances. Finally, French bank cards often include insurance and assistance services, especially when you travel abroad. Ask your HSBC France Relationship Manager for more information.

When you open your current account(1), you may be given a cheque book because some payments are still made with cheques. Note that many merchants no longer accept cheques due to the risk of non-payment and that many institutions now accept debit card payments. If you receive a payment by cheque, you have one year and 8 days to deposit it.

You can also make payments in Euro by SEPA transfer from your account in France to SEPA countries in the SEPA area (EU member states, Liechtenstein, Norway, Island, Switzerland, San Mariona, Monaco, Vatican City and Andorra).

To do this, you will need the bank account ID (RIB) of the recipient account, which contains the information necessary to carry out the transaction.

To obtain a RIB (a form containing bank account details) from one of your HSBC France accounts, or to make a SEPA transfer, go to your secure personal area.

The Global View(2) and Global Transfer(2) services allow you to see all your HSBC accounts worldwide on a single screen(3), and make free(4) and instant transfers from your Euro accounts to all your HSBC accounts.

Finally, you can also make transfers from your HSBC France accounts to third-party accounts anywhere in the world(3).

Note that if you arrange your transfer online, the fees are lower than if you make the same transaction in a branch.

Your online banking

You can use the HSBC France app or website to manage your everyday banking, including:

An overview of your balance and recent transactions.

  • consultation of your outstanding amounts
  • free transfers between your HSBC France accounts
  • free transfers to all your HSBC accounts around the world
  • free SEPA payments to third party accounts in France and the SEPA Area
  • downloads of RIB, statements and other documents
  • secure message box

To carry out many operations over the phone, please call: 0 810 246 810 (€0,09 per call). You will need your username and five-figure HSBC SecureKey.

Deposit accounts

It is not customary to pay interest on deposit accounts in France. However, if you have a cash surplus, you can deposit it in a Livret A or Livret de Développement Durable et Solidaire (LDDS).

Thus, your money is remunerated at a rate regulated by the State and you can make withdrawals at any time.

With the agreement of your bank, you can also have an overdraft authorization that allows you flexibility in managing your cash flow. The maximum period for being overdrawn is 15 consecutive or non-consecutive days per month.

Your account must be in credit between each use period.

(1)Subject to acceptance by HSBC France.

(2)"My International Accounts" service in your online space. For HSBC France, the accounts eligible for "My international transfers" are deposit accounts denominated in euros.

(3)We remind you that, according to the regulations in force, individuals, associations and companies not in commercial form, domiciled or established for tax purposes in France, are required to declare, when filing their income or results returns, the accounts opened, held, used or closed abroad as well as the related income. In addition, as soon as individuals receive income from movable property through these accounts, they must pay social security contributions and, where applicable, a down payment of income tax. Finally, under certain conditions, the portion of the representative value of real estate assets of shares or shares in companies or organisations held in these accounts must be declared for tax purposes if the holders concerned are liable for it. In addition, under current regulations, individuals domiciled for tax purposes in France are required to declare, when filing their income tax returns, certain information relating to capitalisation contracts and investments of the same nature, and in particular life insurance contracts, taken out with organisations established outside France and, where applicable, the income generated on these contracts when they are fully or partially surrendered. In addition, the latter must also pay the social security contributions due under their contract. Finally, the surrender value of surrenderable insurance contracts and capitalisation warrants or contracts up to the fraction of their representative value of units of account composed of taxable real estate assets must be declared for tax purposes if the holders concerned are liable for it. In the event of non-compliance with these obligations, the persons concerned are exposed to tax reminders and the application of sanctions. For further details regarding your reporting and tax obligations, we recommend that you consult an independent advisor.

(4)Up to USD 100 000 (or its equivalent).

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