€5/month to buy online (minor bank fees and guarantees rant)

My bank is concerned with security issue wrt online payments. So far, so good.
The first step they implemented last year (along with most other French banks apparently) was to send me (after I failed to complete an online purchase and asked them why) a kind of grid. When I try to buy something, my bank is contacted and I must enter a code, for instance, the code written on row 3 column C of the grid.

I’ve already an issue with that, besides the slight inconvenience. After investigating a bit (for I at first was given false reassuring answers orally, another thing that irritated me) I understood that if this code was entered during a purchase I couldn’t be refunded since it was assumed I had made the purchase or at least didn’t handle safely the grid.

Of course, that’s the same than entering your card code when using an ATM or doing a purchase (for European countries where a code is needed for purchases). Except that you can’t memorize a full grid of codes!!!:mad: . So you either have to bring around the grid wherever you go (inconvenient and of course making you responsible in case of theft of both the card and grid) or only making online purchases from home. Since I never had an urgent need to make an online purchase outside my home, I of course opted for the latter. Still, I don’t really like the whole concept.

I could live with that, though.
Now, recently, I tried to make an online purchase again. Couldn’t go through. Motive : my e-mail wasn’t registered with my bank (please contact your local branch to register your e-mail, etc…). OK. I would just have to delay the purchase until after the week-end, right?

Nope. I was told that in order to register my e-mail, I had to subscribe to the full online banking service (something I had no use for) and that it would be costing me about €5/month.

At this point, I’m seriously pissed. Not only do I have to dig up a grid every time I want to make an online purchase, but I must pay € 60/year for the privilege! (all, of course, out of concern for my safety and to serve me better) :mad: :mad: :mad:

I’m going to shop around for another bank, hoping they don’t (yet?) all apply a similar scheme (they usually all do so almost at the same time when it comes to charge new fees, as was the case for instance recently for the fee you now get when withdrawing money from another bank’s ATM). Doubly so because my friendly and helpful previous bank adviser retired recently to be replaced by a drone.

Shop around, find someone who has a free checking account that covers the basics (or whatever you need covered). Then call the first one and ask them to waive the charges. If they don’t/can’t waive the fees, tell them you’re going to close the account because ____ Bank has free checking. If they still won’t help you out, close the account.

They’ll probably tell you about all the perks they offer that come with the charges, but you’ve been doing just fine without all those perks for all these years, and you really don’t like this new grid card thing.

Some will waive the fees, some won’t. Some will call your bluff. I use a bank that has no fees whatsoever on my checking account. My ex-wife is paying $3.00 a month for the privilege of having a checking account. We’d call the bank once in a while and ask them to waive them, but all they’d do is tell us the requirements to get them waived (minimum balance, maximum checks etc), but OTOH, she never bothered to switch to my bank, so I guess they won. To the best of my knowledge, she’s still paying them $48 dollars a year for nothing more then when I get for free at my bank.

You live in a country that has a sensible banking system, though, Joeyclairobscur, I feel your pain - the French banking system is the most expensive, least efficient, most irritating system it has ever been my misfortune to have to deal with, and by far the thing I liked least about living in France. Even the RSI wasn’t as bad as the bank.

I’m moving back soon, and I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing what new and shiny charges they’ve introduced to gouge their customers. How French banks don’t fall foul of EU anti-competition laws, I don’t know - it certainly looks like they fix their prices, so there’s no advantage to customers in looking around. It would only take one bank to introduce a system that actually charges fairly and provides actual customer service, and people would flock to them. I wonder why no one’s done that yet…

Pretty much every European country has phased out cheques, and those which haven’t are in the process of doing so. The UK is one of the last hold-outs, though I understand cheques will be gone by 2018. Even now they’re not popularly used the way they are in the US. I’ve never seen anyone pay for groceries with a cheque, for example. I don’t know if the supermarkets would even accept one as payment. I’m pretty sure most other shops won’t.

I closed down my Barclays bank account for this kind of reason.

There’s a security policy, and then there’s insane.

They cancelled my card and left me stranded on three different foreign trips over two years. Despite telling them when I was going and where I was going.

Internet banking can only be performed with a set of buttons like a little calculator, into which you have to plug your card to get a temporary 8-digit PIN. Without them you can only see your balance.

Every time I used my card online I got the “Verified by Visa” interstitial, which allows you to reset your password but never to anything you’ve used before, so memorability goes out the window (I eventually settled on something akin to ‘IrritatingCunts1’).

Despite all of this fairly cosmetic security crap, someone still managed to buy two round-trip tickets to Jamaica on my credit card, for £1400.

And the dude in the call center when I tried to shut down the credit card affiliated to the account was a complete asshole about it. First he said “all those security problems are to do with Barclays Bank. It’s nothing to do with us - we’re Barclaycard.” Look, bucko, I got the card through Barclays, the clue is in the name - I don’t give a shit about the internal organisation of your company.

Then he kept on asking me sales-oriented questions, clearly designed to retain me as a customer. I kept replying “no I’m not interested, please just close the account”. The fourth time he started up “but did you realise all the benefits that Barclaycard gives you” and I said “for the fourth time I’m not interested. Just close the account.” To which he replied “Don’t speak to me like that. I don’t have to take that kind of abuse from you.”

clairobscur, what’s HSBC like in France? Because I am SOOOOO glad I switched to them. The difference in service is incredible; an absolute pleasure to use compared to the Barclays dickheads. Highly recommended.

Too bad you couldn’t show the dingus what abuse really is. I hate idiots like that.

“My apologies. I appear to have misplaced my abuse schedule. Would you please be good enough to refresh my memory as to what kind of abuse you do have to take?”

I stopped using one bank because they wanted to charge me $20 to sign up for internet banking - Luckily I was able to shop around. Thank God I’m not in France

“Checking account” = US-speak for an ordinary non-interest-bearing bank account. They usually do come with che(cks)(ques), admittedly.

And a lot of people with checking accounts write very few if any checks these days, using online payments for their bills and debit cards (against the amount in the checking account) for point of sale purchases and cash withdrawals when needed. All of the supermarkets I shop at take checks but it always seems to take five minutes or more to go through the dance that merchants have to go through in order to accept them. I always kind of roll my eyes when someone in front of me pulls out a checkbook because I know I’m gonna be standing there awhile.

Man, which bank are you using?
Caisse d’épargne doesn’t seem to do that (well, yet), I’ll find out soon though, I made a few purchases online these last days.
I find they can be a bit pricey though.

From the paper-format codes, it’s the Crédit Mutuel. And it’s a convenient system.

I don’t know why the OP refuses the full online banking option, there’s nothing more practical than that.

Are there 16 months in a year where you live?

She says in her OP (and in the title) that it will cost her five Euros a month…which is sixty a year. She almost never shops online, and doesn’t use this service. I have no idea what five Euros translates into in American dollars, and I have no idea how much the OP earns. But to pay ANY amount of money for a service that she doesn’t want and which is CHEAPER for the bank is ludicrous…and that’s what she’s pitting.

OK, maybe it DOES cost French banks more to provide online banking. But in the US, it’s cheaper for the banks to do stuff electronically, rather than move checks around and such, and as far as I know, most US banks either provide it for free, or they charge people for using old fashioned meatspace methods. My credit union provides this for free. I can’t help but think that the OP’s bank is trying to squeeze some extra fees from its customers.

I kind of doubt it, given that every company in Spain (including banks) is doing the opposite and offering reduced charges for online banking; one of my banks charges for any piece of paper sent to your house if you’re set up for online banking (so, opt out of paper to get rid of that fee - or don’t use online banking, you can still shop online), some add a negative charge to bills (some of my utilities do this). Our business models simply can’t be that different.

Heh, speaking of that, I wanted to opt out of receiving my bank papers, since I have the online banking option. I took the time to read the small print and realized that I would still be paying the same in fees. So…fuck that.

Oh, I doubt it too. But the French banks COULD have some special circumstances, is all I’m saying. I’m only familiar with the way US banks work. Even when I lived in Spain, I didn’t use the Spanish banks except to change money, only the US based credit union on the base. I did most of my shopping on the base, which took US money, but I did a lot of shopping in the Spanish stores, and of course my landlady wanted her rent to be paid in Spanish money.