Everything you need to know about limiting bank charges

Cheque or direct debit rejection fees, intervention commissions... The law sets limits on bank charges. What are the regulatory thresholds? What commitments have the banks made to limit charges for financially fragile customers or those eligible for special offers?

The different types of fees charged by banks

Bank charges correspond to the price paid by a customer for carrying out an operation, supplying a product or providing a service. They may also be applied following operating irregularities on the bank account or payment incidents.

Here are the different types of fees that may be charged by banks.

Fees paid to carry out a transaction or in exchange for the supply of a product or service include :

  • account management fees,
  • subscription to remote banking services,
  • processing fees applied when taking out a loan,
  • estate management costs.

Charges relating to irregularities in the operation of a bank account or to payment incidents include :

  • Intervention fees (amount charged by the bank following an irregular operation of the account resulting in special treatment),
  • charges relating to payment incidents on cheques and other transactions (charges for non-execution of a transfer due to insufficient funds, charges for rejection of a direct debit due to insufficient funds, flat-rate charges per cheque due to insufficient funds, etc.),
  • charges related to irregularities and incidents (stopping the card by the bank, administrative seizure by a third party, information letter for unauthorized debit, etc.).

How are bank charges capped?

In recent years, the legislator has intervened on several occasions to curb the rise in a number of banking incident fees.

From now on, there will be a ceiling on charges for rejecting cheques, transfers and direct debits. The maximum amount is :

  • 30 euros for the rejection of a cheque of 50 euros or less,
  • 50 euros for the rejection of a cheque over 50 euros.

It cannot exceed the amount of the rejected transfer or direct debit when it is less than or equal to 20 euros.

Intervention fees charged by the bank are capped at 8 euros per transaction and 80 euros per month, and at 4 euros per transaction and 20 euros per month for beneficiaries of the special offer. Finally, inactive account management fees are limited to 30 euros per year.

It's worth noting that since 2018 and in response to a request from the Ministry of the Economy, banks have committed to capping bank incident fees for financially fragile people. These are globally capped at :

  • 25 euros per month for customers identified by their bank as being in a "fragile banking situation",
  • 20 euros per month and 200 euros per year for beneficiaries of the specific offer, which includes people identified as being in a fragile banking situation, those registered in the cheque payment incident file and debtors subject to an overindebtedness treatment measure.