France’s National Consumer Institute (INC) has published a comparison of national and regional banks in 60 millions de consommateurs magazine as part of their March 2018 issue. It declared La Banque Postale the cheapest of all traditional national banks and highlighted its social engagement.
Online banks topped the list for the cheapest ways of banking1. This comes as no surprise. They don’t have a network of branches and don’t offer as many services as traditional banks, nor the same conveniences: assistance, advice, the ability to deposit cheques and withdraw cash, etc.
Furthermore, they’re not accessible to everyone. You need to have Internet access and, above all, be confident using digital tools. In France, 48% of non‑graduates and 47% of those aged 70 and above never use the Internet (Crédoc survey, 2017). For those people, online banking just isn’t an option.
La Banque Postale doesn’t ignore anyone, and while most of its transactions can be conducted online, all of its banking services are available to everyone in their local post office or branch, without Internet access.
La Banque Postale is also the cheapest of the traditional banks, a feature in line with its social commitments.
La Banque Postale is also the least expensive of traditional banks, in compliance with its civic commitments
The article in 60 millions de consommateurs points out that “[amongst traditional banks,] La Banque Postale remains (by far) the cheapest, and probably the most comprehensive in terms of services and regional coverage, with a particular focus on its customers who don’t use the Internet.”
The investigation, which also covers regional banks such as Le Crédit Agricole, Le Crédit Mutuel and La Banque Populaire, whose rates vary by region, also reveals that La Banque Postale has the lowest annual costs in 88 of France’s 96 different regions.
It should be noted, however, that the customer profiles selected for this comparison - fairly frequent unauthorised overdraft spending for almost one month out of the year - tends to favour civic-minded banks. This is a reasonable stance at a time when more and more French people are worried about their future financial situation (INSEE monthly poll on household confidence, February 2018).
According to the INC investigation, La Banque Postale…
... is the cheapest traditional national bank on the market ². “The only competitive traditional network”, according to 60 millions de consommateurs magazine. ... offers lower rates than regional banks in 88 of France’s 96 different regions. ... offers its customers the option to conduct the majority of their banking online, but also - if they don’t have online access or the computer skills required - to bank at the counter, with all the advantages of a traditional bank, including personal contact, advice, the ability to deposit cheques and withdraw cash, etc. ... applies limited penalty charges, which avoids overwhelming customers who already find themselves in financial difficulty.
1 Comparison between 21 national banks (13 traditional, 8 online) and 147 regional banks (variable rates, depending on the location).
2 Excluding Macif, with whom you must firstly be insured to use their banking services.