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I am a resident in France and am considering moving back and forth to Canada in the next years. I currently have a bank account in France.

I am looking for a bank that would offer an account in both countries with no transfer fee beside the currency conversion (i.e. no wire fee), or one account with both currencies (CAD and EUR, I don't know if such exist).

My other constraint would be to pay - if possible - the account price only once (i.e. not pay it both in Canada and France). It should not cost way more than having two accounts so I would add a limit of about 100 euros per year for the most basic options.

Is there a bank offering accounts both in France and Canada?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Although HSBC operate in both countries, they are getting out of retail banking in Canada, and have quite a small presence in France (mainly the old CCF branches in the Paris area). I'm not aware of other banks that operate retail banking in both countries.

There is no reason why you should have the same bank in each country, and plenty of reasons why you shouldn't. If one bank goes bust, or has computer problems, or freezes your account by mistake, you have an alternate with debit cards to use.

You should be able to mostly avoid bank fees and charges in both countries. La Banque Postale charges a few Euros a year. Most Canadian banks have an account where you pay no fees when you keep a minimum balance of a thousand or two CAD.

If you had one bank, you would have to use their currency exchange rates. You can almost always do better elsewhere.

For conversions from EUR to CAD, it's hard to beat Currencyfair. Pay the money to them from your French bank with bill pay, exchange at peer-to-peer rates that can be close to the interbank rate, and transfer out to your Canadian account for 4 CAD. The better exchange rate easily covers this fee.

For CAD to EUR, it's not quite so easy (as you can't bill-pay into Currencyfair in Canada), but many use xe.com, which can be paid by bill-pay from some Canadian banks. Not quite such good rates as Currencyfair, but still better than any bank.

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Good answer! What do you mean the banque postale charges a few euros per year? Having a credit card and account costs 60 euros per year. –  Vince Apr 20 at 20:51
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I'm charged 1 EUR every three months for my Banque Postale account (4 EUR/year). But you're right they also charge for debit and credit cards (I no longer have either on that account), from EUR 28,50 a year for a Réalys debit card. –  Rob Hoare Apr 20 at 22:09
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