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- More useful pages
For anyone visiting France, the
easiest way to
thigs is to use a credit card backed by one of the worldwide
credit-card companies, notably Visa or Mastercard. Most
accept the main types of card – Visa, Mastercard, American
and may accept other types of card too, including Cirrus and Maestro,
notably if these are equipped with chip and pin technology.
Contactless payment by card or by digital wallet (Apple pay, Google pay
etc) is an option in most cases, though contactless card payments are
limited to transactions not exceeding 50 €uros.
ATMs (cashpoints) are widespread, and can be
found outside virtually all banks, in many shopping centers
shopping malls, in main train stations, airports, conference centers,
motorway service areas, and other places.
Most French banks, including the Postal Bank (la Banque Postale), can
be used for sending or receiving cash by wire transfer, for example by
France is a country in which the use of
cheques is also widespread. However French traders, shops,
hotels etc. will not
usually accept payment by cheque unless the cheque is on a French bank;
some places accept cheques in Euros on banks in other Eurozone
counries, but most do not, given the increased risk and the possibility
of bank charges. It is generally impossible to pay for anything using a
cheque on a bank situated outside the Eurozone.
Some hotels and some traders – notably those used to doing
buisness with foreign tourists – may accept Travellers
these are in Euros; but travellers are advised not to count on paying
for anything in this way. Far better, if you are travelling with
travelers cheques, to cash them in a bank, and then use cash or plastic
Further information on exchanging foreign currency
tax in France: "la TVA".
Throughout the European Union, sales tax is known as VAT - Value Added
Tax, which in French is called TVA, Taxe sur la Valeur
. There are two main rates in France;
the standard rate is 20%, and the reduced rates are 10% or
However unlike in North America, retail prices posted in
hotels and other outlets always include
TVA at the appropriate rate.
The price you see is the price you pay
, and there is no more tax to be
added at the checkout. Only in B-to-B (business to business)
transactions are prices indicated "hors taxe", or without tax; in
B-to-B transactions, TVA is either addeded to the invoice
(domestic sales) or else not invoiced (export sales).
credit cards in France.
In France, people do not usually
credit cards and debit cards, and “carte de
crédit” or just “carte” is
a term that can cover either type of card.
main distinction in France is between cards valid nationally, and those
valid internationally. The generic name for a domestic credit card is a
“Carte Bleue”, or blue card; where it is necessary
to make a
distinction, a card valid outside France is frequently called une
“Carte Bleue Visa” (Visa being the principal card
operator in France)
or “Carte Bleue Mastercard”. A CB logo in the
window of a shop or the
lobby of a hotel means that it accepts payment by credit card, almost
always including international cards from any part of the world as long
as they are Visa or Mastercard. Most merchants accept contactless card payment within the limit allowed.
a bank account in France
Anyone planning on living
even temporarily in France may find it useful to open up an account
with a French bank; for anyone living and working in France, or buying
property in France, a bank account in the country is essential.
Any French bank will happily open up an
a foreign customer, resident or non resident, subject to normal
precautions; and as long as the account has some money in it, they will
normally provide a French credit card to go with the account. Some
banks however have special restrictions on providing credit cards to
foreign students temporarily resident in France.
France has a strong banking network, and some of the world’s
banks. The main players in the sector today are Crédit
Paribas and Société
Générale. Other banks with outlets throughout
France are the Crédit Lyonnais, the Banques Populaires
banks) and the Crédit Mutuel. Apart from these, there are
smaller banks, including some regional banks. A few international banks
have also opened up a limited number of retail banking outlets in
France too; these include Citibank, Barclays and HSBC.
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