Major French banks change overdraft fee rules

Now customers will be less likely to be unfairly charged if they temporarily go overdrawn

Two major French banks have changed their rules on overdraft charges, ahead of the publication of a new report condemning “irregular practices” on overdraft fees.

La Banque Populaire and La Caisse d’Epargne (under umbrella group BCPE) have announced “an evolution and simplification” of their system for charging customers, saying that they were aware that the previous system was “causing misunderstandings”.

Previously, the system would charge customers €8 per transaction on any day that the account was overdrawn at the close of the day, including for any transactions made when the account was in credit.

In a press release, the BCPE confirmed that payments into the account would now be accounted for before any debits, and that credit transactions would be considered before the charging of any debit transaction fees.

This means it would be less likely for overdrawn customers to be unfairly charged. Le Crédit Mutuel said it would do the same.

The changes come ahead of the publication of a new report on the issue by consumer group 60 Millions de Consommateurs, and national family union L’Union Nationale des Associations Familiales (UNAF).

The report condemned the previous system after an enquiry found what it called “irregular practices” by banks.

It said: “"As soon as the account ends the day beyond the authorised overdraft, all transactions on that day are subject to an intervention fee of eight euros, including those that took place when the account was in credit.”

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