Advantages A good bank with many branches.
Disadvantages Online banking service isn't that clever.
The reason for writing this review was because there are many English speaking people who have the need for a Bank accountin France, due to having second homes here, or perhaps because they are moving to France. Having been through the experience of comparing this bank with another, I thought it sufficiently important to say why I believe that Credit Agricole are worth looking at, from a clients' point of view, but also to outline the weak spots in what they have to offer.I used to be with Societe Generale, whom I found to be large and somewhat imposing and unfriendly. Their tellers seemed almost to snub the customer, and their rates of interest were not actually of much benefit to me. I had a ten year mortgage with them and during the time I was with them, didn't have a lot of confidence about the way in which they treated me as a customer. Upon clearing up the mortgage, I felt that I was sufficiently fluent, and capable of making my own choice of Bank. One of the biggest disadvantages of Societe Generale was the fact that their branches were so far apart, meaning that if I wanted to go on holiday for example, or just use another Branch in another town, invariably I was disappointed to find they did not have a Branch.
Looking at the alternatives, the bank that kept coming up even in small towns all over France was Credit Agricole. Signing up to have a Bank account is simple, although proof of who you are is necessary in the form of a passport (for anyone other than the French). They offer two types of current account, one being for residents, and one for non residents. Mine is a resident's one, and I am charged monthly at 3.50 GBP for a service charge which I used to question and think unreasonable. However, upon having had the peace of mind that this offers me, I understand now that it is a small price to pay for what you get. In France, cheques do not have to be used in conjunction with a cheque card, and this means that cheque books are an area where theft could mean the loss of a great deal of money. Credit cards themselves are also covered under the service charge against internet fraud, and against use by third parties.As for what the bank offers, there is actually quite a lot. I have both a current and savings account, though with the standard savings account, there is a limit to how much each individual can have in what they call a "Codevi". The limit is the equivalent of 3000 Pounds per person, and thus it was an advantage to have two, one in my name and one in my husbands' name, as the Codevi gives a good interest rate, whilst being accessible immediately. It's a standard savings account that both the resident and non resident can have.
Above this level, Credit Agricole have various long term investment schemes, and I belong to two, one being a savings plan that takes a small amount monthly from my current account, and that gives me the right to borrow double the amount I have saved at any time an emergency occurs. The other is a very good income plan, which pays me a set amount of interest every three months, which is determined in advance, and at the end of the period of ten years, I am able to choose whether to reinvest.
|Efficiency of service|
|Competitiveness of charges/rates|
|Promptness of service||Excellent|
|Online - Content/organization of site||Average|
|Online - Reliability/speed of site||Average|
|Online - Ease of applying for products||Excellent|
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