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8 useful phrases at the French bank

By Aline
Reading Time: 4 minutes

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Planning to study French in France? But before you get lost in the poetic streets of Paris or the rustic charm of Provence, there’s a practical pit-stop you need to make – the French bank! We’ve got your back, and we’ve packed this guide with useful phrases that’ll turn your banking blunders into smooth transactions.

Basic Greetings

When entering a French bank, it is important to start off on the right foot by using basic greetings. This not only shows respect but also helps to create a positive atmosphere for effective communication. In France, a common greeting used in formal situations is “Bonjour” which means “Good day” or “Hello”. It is considered polite to address the bank staff with this greeting when you enter. Additionally, if it is the afternoon, you can use “Bon après-midi” which means “Good afternoon”.

If you are speaking to someone individually, it is customary to use the appropriate form of address. For example, if you are speaking to a man, you can say “Monsieur” followed by their last name and if you are speaking to a woman, you can say “Madame” followed by their last name. Using these formal titles shows respect and professionalism.

By using these basic greetings when entering a French bank, you will create a positive impression and set the tone for effective communication. Remembering to be polite and respectful throughout your interactions will help ensure that your banking experience goes smoothly.

Useful phrases at French bank

Keywords & phrases for the French bank

  • I want to open a checking account – Je veux ouvrir un compte courant
    This might be the first big step in your French financial journey.
  • I want to deposit money – Je veux déposer de l’argent
    Not to be confused with ‘depot’ where you park buses.
  • I want to withdraw money – Je veux retirer de l’argent
    Because sometimes those weekend trips need funding.
  • I want to exchange money – Je veux échanger de l’argent
    Useful when you’ve got other currencies in hand.
  • I want to make a payment – Je veux effectuer un paiement
    When it’s time to pay those bills or settle dues.
  • I want to check the balance – Je veux vérifier le solde
    For those days when you’re hopeful or just curious.
  • Where is the ATM? – Où est le distributeur automatique?
    Perhaps the most critical question when you’re out of cash.
  • Is there a fee? – Y a-t-il des frais ?
    Because nobody likes unexpected charges.

By familiarizing yourself with these useful phrases, you can confidently navigate the process of opening a bank account, withdrawing money, etc. at a French bank. Remember to speak clearly and politely, as good communication is key to a successful transaction.

Currency Exchange at the French Bank

Currency exchange is a common transaction that many people need to make at a French bank. Whether you are a tourist visiting France or an expatriate living in the country, knowing how to ask for currency exchange services is essential.

If you have a specific currency in mind, you can mention it by saying “Je voudrais échanger des euros contre des dollars américains” (I would like to exchange euros for US dollars). Replace “des euros” with the amount of euros you wish to exchange and specify the desired currency accordingly. It is also helpful to inquire about the current exchange rate by asking “Quel est le taux de change aujourd’hui ?” (What is today’s exchange rate?). This way, you can ensure that you are receiving a fair rate for your transaction.

Make it simple with Wise

Wise, formerly Transferwise, helps individuals and organizations around the world manage their money irrespective of physical borders. It offers easy money transfer, the ability to hold money in various currencies, and allows you to spend money abroad through one simple-to-use debit card.

It’s incredibly straightforward to create an account online and don’t worry about getting hit with fees: Wise’s conversion fees are generally 7 times cheaper than through your traditional bank. Your money will always be converted at the real exchange rate i.e. the one you see in Google so you can be sure that you’re getting the best rate possible and won’t be paying hidden markups typical through traditional banks.

You can hold your money in more than 40 currencies in your account, including in euro. Once you’re in France, you can use the Wise MasterCard debit card to spend money or use it to withdraw money from ATMs. You’ll also be able to use Wise to transfer any funds you need for rent, tuition fees, or living expenses from your home currency into euro.

Apply for your Wise account here.


See? Banking in French doesn’t have to be scary. With these phrases, you’ll not only be ready to handle your finances but also impress that cute cashier with your impeccable French. And who knows? Today, the French bank, tomorrow, the French bakery! So, study up, practice these phrases, and take on the French banking world with flair!

Are you hungry for more French phrases and tips for your upcoming adventure? Dive deeper into the nuances of the French language with our French courses designed especially for international students like you. Sign up now and turn your “Bonjour” into fluently discussing Baudelaire over breakfast!

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