Choosing a bank: important criteria

The choice of a bank must be studied point by point. It must provide us with the necessities we need without charging fees for services that seem useless to us. You can opt to open an account in a physical bank, online bank or even a neo-bank.

Physical or online bank?

The choice is quite quick, both provide the same services at the level of a current account with card and checkbook, but online banks do not charge account maintenance fees. Neo-banks also offer this minimum, but they only work from an application on a mobile phone.

Then, we must study the availability of the interlocutors. Does our preference turn towards a physical person whom we can meet by appointment or another on the telephone but with much wider time tables?

Having the possibility of grouping our insurance, our current accounts and savings in the same place can also be an advantage. Not all online banks offer all of these services.

The services sought

A bank should make our lives easier and avoid having to keep money at home.

  • Receipt of salary
    From a certain amount (1200 € in July 2019), the employer no longer has the right to pay his employee in cash, he must pay him his due in a bank account.
  • Payment of extras
    Some amounts cannot be paid in cash, you must use a check or bank transfer. The purchase of a car or furniture will have to go through a banking service.
  • Bill payments
    The rent, electricity, water are paid by bank transfer or direct debit monthly or on dates indicated in advance. These transactions are done automatically if the money is in the account.
  • Insurance
    Being able to gather all your insurance and settle them in one place simplifies life a lot. Home, car, two-wheeler insurance, but also life and legal insurance can be grouped together and perhaps allow you to have a preferential rate thanks to this grouping.
  • Credits
    Applying for a loan when you are a long-time customer, without a payment incident, in a banking establishment greatly facilitates the process. Whether it is a mortgage, car, consumer loan or a loan for works or even a personal loan, the trust between the branch manager and ourselves is solid and it is a great advantage to access this sum of money more easily.
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Read also >> The different types of bank account

What is our bank account costing us?

Each physical or online bank charges fees to its customers. They differ from bank to bank. The ilbi.org site specializing in finance has carried out a national study to determine the average annual costs when you have a bank account.

  • Account maintenance fees: often free for online banks, but most charge a fee for inactive accounts monthly. It is mandatory to make movements on it and generally with the bank card to keep it free. All banks combined, these fees range between €0 and €76 per year for account maintenance and €0 to €200 for account inactivity, with the majority of banks charging only €30 per year. Pay attention to dubious fees as Francetvinfo.fr mentions in its report.
  • Payment incidents SEPA are charged between €20 and €40 depending on the bank. The rejected checks have a cost, generally between 10 and 15 €, it is necessary to add to that the commission of intervention between 8 and 48 € and possibility of having the card and the checkbook withdrawn with report to the Bank of France and banking prohibition until the payment of the unpaid checks + 6 months of penalty before recovering all the services of the account.
  • The discovery allowed is chargeable. A percentage is taken directly from the account at the beginning of the following month, but this amount can be returned by the bank if the account was bailed out very quickly, ie if the overdraft lasted less than 5 days.
    The unauthorized overdraft can cost more than double, to this will be added intervention commission costs and even banking prohibition if checks, payment by card or direct debit / transfer (necessarily rejected) still come s ‘add to overdraft. On the other hand, direct debits, transfers will be paid without incident, if the overdraft is authorized and up to the amount of the authorization, beyond that, it becomes unauthorized, even exceeded by just a few euros. Some banks are more understanding than others and letting them know can help find a solution for a few days, such as temporarily increasing the overdraft.
  • The credit card costs between 40 for an international credit card with immediate debit and up to 354 € for a prestige card in certain banking establishments. The first year, the card can be cheaper. A second half-price card can be added to a joint account. It can be free in some online banks.
  • Deposit of a sum when opening the account: between 0 and 1200 €
  • Promotional offer €80 can be offered when opening the account, usually in an online bank.
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