French Banking Terminology

Useful words to do with banking, in French and English...

See below for a list of the most common terms that you will need for day to day banking and financial operations in France.

Listed alphabetically:

English French
ATM / Cash PointDistributeur Automatique de Billet (commonly called  "un distributeur")
Bank accountCompte bancaire
Bank balanceSolde bancaire
Bank statementRelevé de compte
Bank transferVirement bancaire
Savings accountsCompte de épargne


ActionnaireAn actionnaire possesses an action (share) in a company
AgiosThe amount of interest and commission paid on an overdraft (découvert) or loan (prêt) in alignment with a pre-established rate
Apport initialThe sum of money given as a deposit when taking out a loan with the bank or credit company
Avis d'opérationForm/slip informing a client of the operation carried out on his account, for example depositing or withdrawing cash
BICAs in English, the BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is a unique code which identifies individual banking and financial institutions
Chèque Sans Provisions
A cheque
A 'bounced' cheque
Cheque book
Code ValeursIdentification code for shares and stock market actions
Code personnelOnline banking: the secret code for access to account information
Compte TitresAccount grouping stocks and shares and where the account holder can buy and sell
Compte destinataireTransferring funds: the receiving account (the one to which money is being sent)
Compte inactifAn account that has shown no movement for a period of 12 months
Compte-jointAccount in the name of several people allowing each to draw cheques and carry out other bank actions
CoursThe value of a share at a precise moment
Courtier (en bourse) Broker (stock broker)
Crédit revolvingLoan that remains constantly topped up to a certain limit even after debits
DABDistributeur Automatique de Billets, the equivalent of an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)
Date de valeurDate at which the bank considers the debit or credit is valid
Date opérationThe real date that a debit or credit is made. (The Date de Valeur is determined from this date)
Différé du prêtThis corresponds to the period during which loan repayments are temporarily suspended. At this time, only the interest and the insurance is reimbursed
Droits à prêtThe amount that can be borrowed depending on the sum saved with a special account for example a PEL (see below)
Débit différéDelayed debit, for example with a credit card where debits are grouped together and taken out of an account at the end of the month
Débit immédiatImmediate debit: debits that are immediately deducted from your account on payment by credit card
DécouvertOverdraft: this will be for an agreed period, check this as it can be as little as 15 days
Dépôt à terme/
compte à terme
Blocked account where the account holder sets the term at which they receive interest and can take out money
Droits de gardeCosts charged by a broker to look after shares

This is the detail of, for example, the repayments of a loan with the interest calculated in function to the loan amount. Can also be the details your monthly utility payments/tax payments etc. over the full year
Facilité de caisseExceptional/occasional very short term overdraft facility
IBANAs in English, the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is a string of letters and numbers that identifies a specific bank account. It may be used when making international money transfers
IntérêtsInterest on accounts or loans
MandatairePerson to whom an account holder gives the power to operate an account in their name
MensualitéMonthly payment or repayment
PEL Plan Epargne Logement is a savings account which has tax benefits and allows money to be borrowed to buy property after the fixed four year term, or is continued for up to another ten years.
Prime d'EtatThis is a sum paid annually by the State into a account bank to reward the sums paid into a PEL. This is paid if certain conditions are respected, for example the length and regularity of payments into the account
Automatic direct debit authorised and signed for by account holder
ProcurationProxy or power of attorney to carry out bank operations on behalf of someone
RIB Relevé d'Identité Bancaire. Form given by the bank and also at the back of a chequebook, which establishes the bank and account identity, giving all the details.
Renouvellement automatiqueAutomatic renewal of your chequebook
TauxRate of interest
TIPTitre Interbancaire de Paiement is the authorised permission to debit an account of the sum asked for by provider
TitulaireAccount holder
VersementPaying a sum of money into an account
VirementTransfer of a sum of money to another account

Related Information

  • French website Les Cles de la Banque has comprehensive information on everything to do with banking in France