top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Barclays clients face delays transferring money to France

Barclays has informed British residents in France they must close their accounts following Brexit, but readers have reported delays in transferring money

Barclays has informed clients in France it is closing their accounts Pic: shawnwil23 / Shutterstock

British residents in France forced to close their UK bank accounts have reported delays and complications when having their funds transferred. 

Barclays has sent letters to clients in recent months requiring them to close their accounts. 

They say they can no longer service the accounts of customers living within the European Economic Area. 

Read more: Barclays closes accounts of Britons in France: what about other banks

No mention of Brexit

Although the letters do not mention Brexit, UK banks have lost the ability to rely on the EU’s passporting system and must obtain individual licences in each state to continue operating accounts in those countries. 

Several readers have described an arduous process trying to transfer their money and standing orders. 

Jill Roberton said she and her husband Tony completed the required forms to close their account after receiving the letter, but when they called to ask for progress, they spoke to several people who had “no knowledge of such compulsory account closures”. 

“Finally, after six weeks and countless lengthy expensive phone calls, we reached someone who got things moving and funds have now been transferred,” she said. 

“It made financial transactions at the time extremely difficult.” Reader Gill Fortt said she took the ferry to England to visit her Barclays branch because they required proof of identity and address to transfer her balance to her French account. 

The bank said she could bring these documents to her local branch or send certified copies in the post. 

“We have had the Barclay accounts for 28 years so could not understand why they needed proof of where we lived, as they sent us statements every month to our French address.” 

Philip Hughes, who lives in Côtes-d’Armor, encountered issues using HSBC’s Switch Accounts service, which automatically transfers direct debits and standing orders from new clients’ former accounts. 

“Barclays refused to let me use this, saying it is not for use by non-UK residents,” he said. “I have had to write to all my pension providers and get my standing orders transferred.” Mr Hughes said the process took two months in total. 

Barclays confirmed Current Account Switch Service, which powers HSBC’s switching facility, is only available for people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey. 

Another reader, who preferred not to be named, said she was able to use the Switch Accounts facility, and that this worked for UK-based payments.

‘Pensions went seriously astray’ 

“However, my and my husband’s US pensions went seriously astray. He received no pension money from the US for 12 months.” 

She said they began receiving payments from the US pension to their French account in January 2022 after almost 15 months of “letters and phone calls to both Barclays and HSBC, and emails and phone calls to the ombudsman and the US embassy [and consulate] in Paris and Marseille”. 

“It is fortunate we had our UK state and NHS pensions, otherwise we would have been in big trouble.” 

For others, the process went much more smoothly. 

Process smooth for others

Susan Mason said: “I went online and transferred all my funds to my bank in France by SEPA. The money was in my French bank account the next day.”

Reader Barbara Hunt had a similar experience. “We transferred all the money to the French bank using online banking with no problems at all.” 

The UK is still part of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), which facilitates cross-border payments. 

While Ms Mason was not charged for the transfer, since Brexit certain French banks have been charging extra fees to receive payments from the UK. Barclays, contacted by The Connexion, said customers are given six months’ notice before their accounts are closed, and they can transfer funds to another account during that time via online, telephone or mobile banking. 

If the balance is zero at the time of closing, there is nothing more to do. “If customers do not act prior to their account being closed, their funds will be held securely until they reclaim,” a spokesperson said. 

The reclaim form is found here. The process includes providing ID and proof of address, which must be certified by a Barclays member of staff, a notary public, or an embassy, consular or high commission official. 

The statement continued: “Customers with savings accounts will continue to earn interest on their balances even after their account closes until the funds are reclaimed. “When making large transfers, customers may be required to call the Barclays fraud team to pass through security checks.” 

More information is available here

Related articles

Residents of France: Neobank may be solution if UK bank closes account

Updated: Britline, BNP, Banque Postale: Your feedback on French banks

Changes to French banking law will help Americans refused an account

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now