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New bank account goes back to basics

A new simple bank account with an international Master­card payment card is being sold in shops. At just €5 to open and €1 a month to run, it is avail-able in 3,000 Carrefour stores and online.

Called C-zam, it follows in the tracks of the Compte Nickel offered by tabacs, which can be opened in minutes for just €20 with a mobile phone.
Unlike Nickel, which also has a bank card but also has a network of tabacs where money can be lodged or withdrawn, C-zam is 100% online after paying €5 for the box with account details and bank card, which can be used to withdraw money where needed.
Open to EU residents, who can buy the C-zam box on the website, it has no minimum deposit and allows no overdrafts. It is run by Carrefour Banque et Assurance.
Both accounts challenge the traditional banking format of staff in expensive offices and they will be joined later in May by Orange Bank, set up by the telecoms company and Group­ama, which will be “phygital” like Nickel with digital and physical shops: 140 Orange shops and 3,700 Group­ama and GAN offices.
Compte Nickel has just been bought by BNP Paribas which announced recently it would be closing 50 banking offices a year until 2020, making 200 out of 1,964 across France. The bank has cut 236 offices since 2012.
Other banks are also cutting back on their high street presences with Banque Populaire Caisse d’Epargne cutting 5% or 400 of its banks by 2020 (with the loss of 3,600 jobs) while back in 2015 Société Générale said that it aimed to cut its branches by 20% by 2020.

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