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Closing a bank account by the bank

Verified 31 January 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

A bank may close an active bank account at any time within a period of notice. Your account is active when you deal with this or another account in the same bank. If your account is inactive, the bank keeps it for a specified period, before closing it and transferring the money to the Caisse des dépôt et consignments (CDC).

Active Account

Your account is active when you deal with this or another account in the same bank.

For example, you have a current account A on which you do regular transactions and a current account B that you do not use. As long as Account A is active, Account B is active.

An account is also active when an heir deals in a deceased's account within 1 year of the deceased's death.

The bank may close your account, even if it functions properly, in accordance with the account agreement.. The bank must inform you in writing.

It must meet a deadline 2 months minimum before closing the account. This notice period should allow you to open another account and carry out the last operations necessary for the continuity of your accounts.

The bank does not have to justify its decision, unless the account was opened after activation of the account entitlement procedure..

The closure of the account shall put an end to its operation.

The banker must pay the checks you issued before the account closes, if there is sufficient provision.

If the provision is insufficient, this will lead to payment incidents..

You must return to your bank all the means of payment you have (unused checks, credit card).

The bank must communicate the closing of the account to the Banque de France and archive the documents for 5 years.

It must inform you, free of charge, during the 13 months after closing, when a check, a direct debit or a transfer are due for payment on the closed account.

If the account has an overdraft, the bank sends you an email asking you to pay the overdraft.

If there is money left in your account, the bank will send you a balance of any account and refund the amount to you at the close.

Account closing is free.

You must pay fees for the provision of payment services (for example: card fee) until the account termination date. If these fees have been paid in advance, they will be reimbursed.

Example: you pay the credit card fee on the 1stto January for the whole year. The account is closed on 30 April. The bank must return 2/3 of the amount of the contribution paid.

You can't contest closing your bank account.

You can claim compensation in writing from your bank if it has not complied with the 2-month notice period.

Claim compensation for closing a bank account without notice

If you are denied such compensation, you may appeal to the bank mediator or commit civil trial..

Inactive Account

An account is inactive if no operation has been performed for a certain time.

Current Account

Your current account is considered inactive if for 1 year you meet the following 3 conditions:

  • you have not performed any operations,
  • you have not made any representations to your bank (e.g. by sending a mail or an email, by logging on to your customer area online or by having a telephone interview),
  • you have not made any transactions to another account opened in your name in this bank.

Please note

if the account is inactive as a result of a court decision or a law (for example: embargo, escrow), the account is not considered inactive.

Other Accounts

Other accounts (savings accounts and booklets, securities accounts) are considered inactive if for 5 years you meet the following 3 conditions:

  • You have not performed any operations
  • You did not register with your bank (e.g. by sending a mail or an e-mail, by logging in to your customer area online or by having a telephone interview)
  • You have not made any transactions to another account opened in your name in this bank.

The 5-year period begins with the unavailability of funds where they exist (for example: funds invested in a business savings plan).

Please note

if the account is inactive as a result of a court decision or a law (for example: embargo, escrow), the account is not considered inactive.

Account in which the holder died

The account of a deceased person is considered inactive if 1 year after death no heir has informed the bank of his willingness to assert his rights.

Warning  

the total withdrawal of money from a bank account is not an account closure.

Banks keep annual records of inactive open accounts.

If the bank holds an inactive account, it shall inform the holder (his legal representative, the person authorized by him, or his heirs if he knows them) by any means and shall renew this information 6 months before the closing of the account.

The bank keeps the accounts inactive for a period of time. Then she closes the account and transfers the balance to the CDC.

Retention time of inactive accounts by the bank

Account Type

Retention time

Current Account

10 years

Other Account

10 years

Account in which the holder died

3 years

When the account contains securities (stocks, bonds, etc.), the bank sells them before closing the account and transfers the money to the CDC.

Retention time of inactive accounts by CDC

Account Type

Retention time

Current Account

20 years

Other Account

20 years

Account in which the holder died

27 years

You can search for an inactive account that you think you own or inherit:

Find an inactive account

If the search is successful, you can claim the money from the CDC. You will need to create a personal space and download supporting documents. After considering this request, the CDC will give you a final answer and return the sums.

Apply for a refund of an inactive account

Warning  

to access the online claim form, your inactive account search must be successful.

At the end of the retention period by the CDC, and if the account holder or heir has not claimed the sums, they are definitively acquired by the State.

The bank may collect fees and commissions during the retention period of the inactive account until the money is transferred to the CDC. This depends on the nature of the inactive account.

  • For regulated savings products (booklet A, youth booklet, etc.) and home savings, no fee or commission is collected.
  • For stock savings plans (EAPs), and securities accounts, fees and commissions may not exceed those that would have been levied if the account were active.
  • For the deposit account and other accounts, the total amount of fees levied annually per account may not exceed €30..

You cannot appeal against closing an inactive account.