Don’t bank on it.

8 Apr

I’ve been catching up with so many people lately, retelling the same stories, trying to make it sound like it’s the first time someone has asked me what my favourite part about France is, or when am i going to grow up and get a real job? (um hello, just because i’m in a different country it doesn’t mean i don’t have a job! Honestly, if a tree falls in the woods..).

Of all my stories though (and there are many) the one thing people really seem to just love is the one about how the French don’t have online banking. I know, It’s kind of like coming home from your honeymoon and talking about the aeroplane food, but honestly, people just really dig hearing about the lack of this indispensable function. Obviously when i tell the story though, i make it really interesting  (with lots of sweeping gestures indicating my painstakingly slow process of writing a letter to the bank manager in order to pay a bill, or rent, or my tab at the local fabric place)  but they honestly just have an expression of such an unfathomable nature.

But really, when you think about it, it is quite unfathomable. Why on earth don’t the French have online banking? Does America have it? Now i’m not even sure – are we the only country that does use it? What the hell is going on with online banking in the modern world?


7 Responses to “Don’t bank on it.”

  1. upwardorwayward April 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    Hi, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to living Parisienne life through them some more 🙂
    haha i love how the online banking is the story that everyone loves, I think it shows 2 things; firstly, how much we love internet banking, to the point of not being able to comprehend life without it now and secondly that we finally are doing something rad that other places dont necessarily do/have.
    It should be part of our campaigns to get people over here.. We are no longer the sunburnt land, but the land of internet banking…

    sorry this is such a long winded comment!

    • Poulette April 11, 2010 at 12:06 am #

      Lol, you should contact the Commonwealth Bank, get a contract!
      It’s funny the little things people love to hear, stuff you’d never think to bring up. Until you do. I’ve a good story about 2 (non) competing fruiterers, on the rue Montorgueil, which i’ll write about shortly. That’s a good one too. SO many stories about how backwards (in a good, sweet way) french life, and french thinking are!

      I’m glad you are enjoying reading me! It gives me the momentum to keep going when i read comments like yours,


  2. M April 11, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Being an expat in Paris, of the non-Brit, non-American, variety myself, I can identify with a lot of what you’re saying. But the concept of Internet banking is catching on. I haven’t had to make any paper payment so far, having enabled everything online. Maybe explore your payment options a bit?

  3. Poulette April 12, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    M, you are kidding!? Which bank are you with?

  4. Nathalie April 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Dear Poulette,
    Sorry to intervene this way in your blog, but being an expat myself, French living in England I wanted to add my two-pence.
    The funny thing is that when I arrived here in 1996 in UK, I thought that the British banks were very much backward, because they weren’t using chip card! When I was using one since 1984 myself with my French bank. And it took them, 5 years! to finaly starting to use it. So I guess there is everywhere relativity about what we think being backward… isn’t it?
    However I don’t know what bank you are using, because being in UK I do all my bank moves via internet for my 2 French banks with no problem (and that since 1996 when I arrived in UK), they are BNP and Credit Mutuel, and I think that it had started earlier than that, and all the banks should do it now. The thing is that they might ask you to pay for it, because this is what I had to do. You also pay for your debit card and by doing so you should get also access to internet banking (there is mainly debit cards in France, credit cards didn’t really take off and THAT IS GOOD…). I have to say although I see a lot of advantage to do internet banking with my French bank, I am not happy with my English bank internet banking (it sounds like businesswoman like talk, but really I just wanted to keep an account in France, and it was a good move with the Euro). I am having so much trouble to get a meeting with them, to get a real person facing me that I can talk to, that I am wondering if internet banking is always a good thing. The bank (well mine anyway) seems to hide behind it, and avoiding any contact with their costumers. They all seem to imply that they do a favour to you by taking your money, when in fact they should thank us!
    Enfin bonne chance avec votre banque!

  5. M April 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    not kidding at all but then i do bank with HSBC so not sure if that makes a difference 🙂 though the customer service i get with them is very much french.

  6. Poulette April 16, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Nathalie, thanks for your comment! You are right, its is certainly a matter of relativity. In the same sense, almost nobody in Australia uses cheques anymore, yet it seems to be so commonplace in France! But yes, we have only just got chips in our credit cards here! Lots of food for thought and i hope you visit again!

    M, thanks for the tip. I am straight onto it. HSBC here i come!

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