You have heard of a bank ban but you don’t know exactly what it is? Becoming bankrupt can happen to anyone as a result of a period of financial instability. What is a bank ban? How do you become one and how do you get out of it? Here are our answers.
How do you become banned from banking?
If you write bad checks, are very late with your monthly payments or make too many charges with your bank card, then you run the risk of becoming bank banned.
Also called “fichage à la Banque de France”, the bank ban is the consequence of a bad financial management. The individual involved in a payment default, an abusive overdraft or the recurrent issuing of “bad” checks is thus reported by the bank or credit organization concerned. The client is then registered with the Banque de France on :
- The FCC (Fichier Central des Chèques);
- The FICP (Fichier national des Incidents de remboursement des Crédits de Particuliers);
- Or both!
The FCC lists the individuals reported for issuing bad checks. The FICP lists the identity of people who have difficulty repaying a loan.
Any person registered with the Banque de France will have their checkbook and/or bank cards confiscated for all the accounts they own (including those of institutions that have not reported them). This is why we speak of a “bank ban”. All financial institutions and organizations have access to these files. They can then refuse a credit or an account opening to the persons who are registered in it. The registration at the Banque de France lasts 5 years, and less if the situation is regularized before.
Please note: an individual who has never shown any payment default can also be banned from the bank if he/she has a joint account and the second person holding the account has been reported for issuing bad checks.
How do I know if I am banned from banking ?
To find out if you have been banned from banking, you must contact the Banque de France directly. You have 3 possible solutions for that:
- By mail (by joining an identity document);
- Online, on the Banque de France website;
- By appointment in one of the Banque de France branches nearest to your home.
Following this request, the Banque de France will send you a written reply attesting to your registration or absence from the FCC and/or FICP.
Please note that only the person concerned can ask if he or she is in a situation of bank ban. Third parties do not have access to this information, except for banks and credit institutions.
Banking ban: how to get out of this situation?
The bank ban is automatically lifted after a period of 5 years. This does not mean that the client’s debts are erased, quite the contrary. The client is still obliged to pay back the missing money.
You can also get out of your bank ban status much earlier, by paying off your debts in full. If you manage to pay back the money for the bounced checks and/or the unpaid monthly payments, then you can inform the Banque de France. The Banque de France will proceed to lift the ban, generally within a few weeks (the time to process the file and verify the effective repayment of the debts). You can then contact your bank and recover your means of payment.
What payment solutions are there for people who are not allowed to pay?
By confiscating the means of payment of a bank client, the bank protects itself while preventing the situation of its client from getting worse. However, during the ban period, not being able to use a checkbook or a bank card makes everyday life more complicated. Fortunately, there are alternatives!
For example, the use of a prepaid card is an excellent solution to pay your daily expenses when you are registered with the Banque de France. Accessible to people who are not allowed to use a bank account, these cards allow you to manage your money in a totally free and independent way! You can recharge your card in cash (by buying recharge coupons) or by bank transfers, and you can make :
- Your in-store payments ;
- Your online payments;
- Your withdrawals;
- Your transfers.
All this in France and abroad and without any risk of overdraft. Indeed, the reloadable payment card is blocked if the available balance is lower than the requested payment or withdrawal, allowing you to never exceed the budget you have set for yourself! Prepaid cards are sold online, at tobacconists and in some supermarkets, with no income requirement or commitment.
Now you know all about bank bans, how to avoid them and how to get out of them! If you are currently experiencing financial difficulties and are afraid of being banned from banking, don’t hesitate to ask your creditors for credit adjustments and to contact your local social action center (CCAS) for help.