It is one of the most popular banks in France, particularly for its local network. But above all, La Banque Postale had a lot to do to develop its offers, by following the digital trend of recent years. So, has the historic establishment been able to make its banking service a must in the face of competition? Answer in this review.
Features of La Banque Postale
|💶 Opening Bonuses||None|
|📃 Income requirement||None|
|💳 Bank card||VISA|
|💰 Initial deposit||20€|
|💸 Account maintenance fees||€1.10 per month|
|📱 App||Android / iOS|
|💲 Mobile payment||Apple Pay / Paylib / Samsung Pay|
|🔐 3D secure||Yes|
La Banque Postale in brief
In nearly 16 years of existence, La Banque Postale has become one of the most popular public banking institutions, partly because it has an obligation to provide a basic banking service to everyone. The bank has been able to develop its offer over the years to address companies and professionals via more suitable banking products. Today, the bank has about eleven million customers and tries to draw inspiration from online banks and neobanks, particularly on the subject of digital, Ma French Bank is a good example.
Classic bank charges
Contrary to what can be seen with online banks or neobanks, La Banque Postale has opted for the simplicity of reading its offer. No level with different prices and services, there are only two possibilities: open an individual account or a joint account, with Alliatys or Alliatys Plus insurance and with a Visa Classic, Visa Premier, Visa Platinum or Visa card. Infinity.
The only originality concerns the Réalys card with systematic authorization, which cannot be used abroad and with basic banking services. Note that it is possible to open an account for a minor from 12 years old with a free subscription and full parental control. The latter is however much less practical than the offer of Ma French Bank.
La Banque Postale does not offer a free offer. Here are the annual rates of the different VISA cards:
- VISA Classic: 43 euros/year
- VISA Premier: 129 euros/year
- VISA Platinum: 190 euros/year
- VISA Infinite: 320 euros/year
These are rates comparable to what can be found in traditional banks such as LCL or Société Générale. Be aware, however, that some of the more common services are well paid and can increase the bill in some cases. This is particularly the case for withdrawal transactions (0.85 euro/withdrawal from the 4th monthly direct debit), account maintenance in the event of inactivity (25 euros/year) or even 2.30% fees on foreign currency transactions (3.30 euros per withdrawal and 1 euro per payment). It should be noted, however, that the Banque Postale is one of the few traditional banks to offer instant transfers (even to an external account) totally free, this was part of the paid services before.
How to fund your account?
This is one of the most practical points of this bank: take advantage of the entire Swiss Post network to physically manage your money. In the majority of branches with the banking service of the Post Office, it is possible to deposit checks and cash very easily.
Apart from this physical contribution that many need, it is of course possible to make transfers from another account in the same name, without limitation, as long as it is domiciled in France. Everything happens from the application, not smoothly, we’ll see later. La Banque Postale also uses Paylib to manage the transfer of money by simple telephone number, even if we would have liked the possibility of sending money directly by SMS without going through the application.
An online account in minutes
Opening an account at La Banque Postale is very simple, accessible and can be done in a few minutes. The steps are always clear with few fields to fill in and it’s always well explained, at least on the web platform. Recently, theDownload of documents by photocopy or photo is also possible. This is one of the good points inherited from online banks.
The actual opening of the account occurs after a few days and the documents are sent directly to your home. A single card payment or ATM withdrawal is sufficient to permanently activate the card.
We regret all the same that it is still impossible to open an account from the mobile application of the Postal Bank.
Beware of overdrafts
The initial payment to open an account (online or in branch) is 20 euros minimum. This money can then be used at will and no additional costs are deducted during the operation.
Being a public interest bank, overdrafts are well authorized and management and establishment fees are free. However, the use of the overdraft is subject to debit interest (agios) collected quarterly and calculated according to the rate in force. These rates are also among the lowest on the market with a rate exceeding the authorized overdraft of 17.00%, where others easily exceed 20%.
No opening bonus…
La Banque Postale does not offer a commercial offer dedicated to customer acquisition. Opening an account does not entitle you to any bonus or even temporary benefits such as free monthly contributions or loyalty refunds. On the other hand, it may occasionally happen that the Postal Bank offers special operations via partnerships with external companies to offer smartphones or other devices as gifts.
La Banque Postale’s civic-minded approach is based on inclusiveness. Therefore, the Bank does not favor business practices based on client-to-client sponsorship.
Insurance, offers and services of Société Générale
Despite its reputation as a bank for the less fortunate », La Banque Postale is in fact a partner of the VISA organisation, which issues cards with different insurance formulas. Inevitably, the VISA Premier, Platinum and Infinite cards are advantageous if you plan to travel abroad because of the guarantees they offer: support for repatriation in the event of an accident, compensation in the event of flight delay and loss of luggage, etc.
La Banque Postale offers its own loan system via consumer credit to make heavy purchases such as a car or do work. The simulator allows you to adjust the amount according to your needs. There is even the possibility for students to take out a loan with preferential rates. Traditional savings solutions as well as an insurance/provident component complete the picture.
Cashback yes, but cashback a bit shy
Surprisingly, the Postal Bank offers a service ofcash backthrough its postal services. By making a purchase via Colissimo, of stamps to be printed or of physical products offered by La Poste, it is possible to obtain rewards in the form of a reduction code via the partner platform Reduction Privée. Ideally, we would have liked a dedicated platform with automatic discounts on postal services, but we are not going to be choosy.
Strawberry customer service
It is essentially in customer service that the Postal Bank still has its work cut out for it. It is largely handled by the post office and is mostly of poor quality. Between the fact of not being able to obtain advice by telephone without waiting for hours and the fact of having no response by email or to messages sent by the application even after a few days, it is frankly lacking on this side. It’s a shame when you see the efforts made in other areas in recent years.
Not a crypto-friendly bank
La Banque Postale is not one of those banks with flexibility in the field of cryptocurrencies either. There is therefore no portfolio or services going in this direction and even less online brokerage. This is hardly surprising, however, coming from a public banking establishment.
An improving app, but there is still work to be done
The La Banque Postale application has been reviewed from an ergonomic point of view compared to previous versions. On Android as on iOS, the design remains basic and in the colors of the bank, but at least has the merit of offering good readability of options and functions with a quick menu placed at the bottom of the screen. Everything has greatly improved in speed and fluidity, even if some menus still take a little time to display all the elements. We sometimes have the impression of being in front of a web app rather than a real application in its own right. The most problematic point remains the fact that it is impossible to open an account directly from the application.
In concrete terms, it is possible to consult your accounts (of course), to make transfers, to manage your bank cards, to order your checkbooks, to manage your ceilings or to consult your outstanding mortgage or personal loans via the offers of the bank. It still relies on Apple Pay, Paylib or Samsung Pay to offer mobile payments via NFC, but Google Pay is still not on the agenda.
Despite the presence of a consumption graph (ultra-classic), the application does not offer automatic categorization of expenses, no statement of expenses in real time, or even notification of transactions (the latter moreover take 24 hours before being displayed on the account). We are therefore still far from the current standards of the largest online banks. An ultra-classic application that struggles to stand up to comparison with certain traditional banks, which are much more advanced on this point.