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Can you recommend the cheapest banks in France for withdrawing money from their DABs (ATMs or Automatic Teller Machines in English)? I would be using a debit card from a British bank, denominated in UK pounds.

Ideally the DAB/ATM would offer to charge my bank in Euros (because my bank converts the Euros at the Financial Market rate and doesn't charge commission).

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  • Which UK bank is involved?
    – jcaron
    Dec 6, 2022 at 15:29
  • Metro Bank or Starling Bank. A few others may do this too. Dec 6, 2022 at 19:07
  • BABs and DABs are French for ATM? Dec 6, 2022 at 19:17
  • DAB: distributeur automatique de billets (automatic banknote distributor). There are also GABs: guichet automatique de banque, which are multifunction ATMs. Don’t think I ever heard about a BAB.
    – jcaron
    Dec 6, 2022 at 19:44
  • I've corrected what is probably a typo in the edit by CGCampbell. Dec 6, 2022 at 23:19

3 Answers 3

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I'm back from my holiday in south-west France. Happy New Year to you all.

I was using a Mastercard debit card from a UK bank. This is what I found out:

The following banks' ATMs offered a choice between charging my bank in euros (with no extra commissions or fees) or converting the amount to pounds themselves (using a bad exchange rate, for example £1 = 1.04 euros when the market rate was 1.13 euros). I chose to be charged in euros and got the best conversion rate.

  • Credit Mutuel
  • Banque Dupay de Parseval (even though their screen was badged with the Euronet logo, see the answer by @Nicolas Formichella)
  • Caisse D'Epargne
  • La Banque Postale
  • Banque Populaire du Sud

On the other hand,

The Credit Agricole wanted to charge a fee of 5 euros even on a 20 euro transaction. I didn't follow through to see if they also wanted to make the conversion even more expensive.

No banks refused my card, so it is looking rosy at the moment for people with non-EU debit cards withdrawing cash in France. However, for the future, keep an eye on banks deciding to follow Credit Agricole's example.

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  • This is good knowledge for CA, thanks for coming back for this Jan 9, 2023 at 20:03
  • I forgot to post my answer; about a month ago I took some cash from Banque Laydernier without an additional fee. I'd never heard of this bank before; in my experience the smaller banks are less likely to charge these fees.
    – phoog
    Jan 10, 2023 at 20:19
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As per @jcaron, there are no fees charged on cash withdrawals at French bank or Post Office on top of what your bank will charge for a foreign withdrawal

But, outside of that, that may be the case. For example in malls/supermarkets...

If you see the logo/name of a major bank on the ATM itself (Like Société Générale (Crédit du Nord is in the same group), la Banque Postale (usually only in post offices), BNP Paribas, Crédit Mutuel, Banque Populaire, Crédit Agricole...), you are fine, Orange Bank (found in some parisian malls) doesn't charge either

On the opposite if you see a logo like the Euronet one, run away, it will charge a hefty fee and is a regular touristy trap in other countries (don't know if they are popular in France, doesn't seem to be, but in Italy and Spain they are a customary trap)

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As far as I know French ATMs don't add local surcharges to withdrawals (as opposed to common practice in other countries).

Also as far as I know, all french ATMs will either charge only in euros, or give you the choice of charging in euros or the currency of the card.

Now, charges added by your card issuer may vary. Some banks will charge fees for use of any ATM abroad, but may have all sorts of rules like "first X withdrawals per period Y are free", or "withdrawals from ATMs of bank Z which is a partner are free while others incur a fee" or whatnot.

This would be specific to your card issuer, and possibly to the account or card type.

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  • That's interesting. I was over in France five years ago and found difficulty getting money out at all (Mastercard debit?), let alone without commission. I'm going again soon. Dec 6, 2022 at 19:16
  • Note that I didn’t say there’s no commission, but the commission would be charged by the card issuer rather than added by the ATM like you can see in other countries (on top of the card issuer fees and commissions). Double-check your bank’s fees and commissions, wording can be confusing. Virtually all ATMs in France will accept Visa and MasterCard.
    – jcaron
    Dec 6, 2022 at 19:41
  • My UK bank will charge zero fees and commissions. The problem in, for example Spain, is that many banks will insist on doing the currency conversion themselves and charging UKP to the UK bank and/or will charge a fee if you refuse their currency conversion. Waiting to see what happens in France. Dec 6, 2022 at 23:24
  • When I was in St. Malo five years ago, I tried four ATMs before I found one that would accept my Mastercard branded debit card. Dec 6, 2022 at 23:25
  • @reallydismayed Are you sure it wasn't rather a problem with your bank blocking transactions abroad for security reasons or something similar? For historical reasons, Visa and MasterCard are accepted by all ATMs and all merchants since the introduction of payment cards in France back in the 80s.
    – jcaron
    Dec 6, 2022 at 23:34

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