Online banks are known to be free, but they are not always unconditional. In most cases, you will need to demonstrate a certain level of income and be active every month to obtain a free account (and card). In the absence of an operation noted, the banks reserve the right to charge inactivity fees.
This amount can quickly represent a budget for the account holder. By default, BforBank charges € 9 per quarter for a Visa Premier card that has not been used at least 3 times during the period. At Boursorama Banque, the Ultim or Visa Premier Visa will be invoiced at € 15 per month for any absence of transaction.
Since the start of containment, household consumption has plummeted – and this logically has repercussions on the number of operations carried out by each of the French.
Fortunately, online banks have been quite accommodating and, for the most part, have cut down on inactivity fees over the period. This is for example the case of BforBank, which has decided to reimburse any possible inactivity fees for the months of April, May and June. Customers will therefore be debited – then reimbursed for their fees if their bank card (Visa Classic or Visa Premier) is not used.
The satisfaction of our customers is at the heart of our concerns. In this difficult time, @BforBank is with its customers and has decided to reimburse any inactivity costs, related to the non-use of the bank card, for the months of April, May and June 💳 pic.twitter.com/vOqKhfZ60P
– BforBank (@BforBank) May 7, 2020
At Boursorama Banque, the same story. The leading French online bank has decided to reimburse any inactivity fees that may have been charged in March, April or May. This concerns both the Visa Ultim and Visa Premier cards (€ 15 per month) as well as the Welcome card (€ 5 per month), Benoit Grisoni told us during an exchange during the month of April.
The cheapest bank in France does not want “Not punish people who cannot use their cards because they respect the confinement measures”. Note that the Boursorama Banque Visa Classic card (offered subject to proving € 1,000 in income per month) is not subject to inactivity fees.
As for Fortuneo, the online bank undertakes not to charge ” no inactivity fees if Classic, Fosfo and Gold cards are not used during the month of April only “. Its ING counterpart, whose Integral offer is also free, continues to demand domiciliary income of € 1,200 per month so as not to charge for using the account (€ 5). Fortuneo’s premium Mastercard World Elite card will also not be billed, subject to domiciling € 4,000 each month – including during confinement.
The latest arrival on the online banking market, Orange Bank (see our review on Orange Bank here) has decided to lower its requirements for inactivity. Since April, she has been requesting only one transaction per month so as not to charge fees. This only concerns its free and unconditional offer: the bank’s Visa Premium card is not subject to inactivity fees.
Paying banks are not affected
In recent years, paid offers have grown in online banking. However, they remain very much cheaper than a traditional network bank (€ 215 bank fees per year, on average), and their flexibility is widely appreciated by younger customers. These “pay” banks logically charge no inactivity fees.
Among them, we can quote for example Monabanq, the Hello Prime formula of Hello bank! or even all simplified bank accounts like Ma French Bank, Eko or Nickel. Neo-banks like Revolut or N26 also do not see any inactivity fees – whether they are free or paid.
Be careful, it is not because an online bank is free that it is competitive – and vice versa. It is therefore necessary to compare each offer to determine which one best meets its needs. To help you do this, we have set up an online bank and neo-bank comparator that will give you all the elements to better understand the market.