(France) Bank account not closed after leaving country : eupersonalfinance


TL;DR: I have a French bank account that I opened several years ago, but have been unable to close to due various reasons (see below). There were no outstanding debts and I clear my balance to virtually zero, but they were still deducing monthly account fees from it at least 2 years after I left. Is there any chance I will get a huge fine at some later time?

Some background and details

I lived in Paris from 2014-2015 and opened an account at a local branch of BNP Paribas. Initially there was no fee because I was a student, but after a year they automatically started deducing around €2,10 a month from my account. I left France after less than a year, but had to keep my account open because I was still waiting to get back deposits on the day that I left.

After receiving the deposits, I could not get them to transfer the money and close my account remotely. I called, emailed and did everything to close my account remotely, but there were only two options they said: (1) go to France, (2) send a letter with my debit card to a central address.

I never like to send cards by post, so I actually went to France for holidays, and visited some BNP local branch at the place I was having holidays in (that was back in 2016). However, they told me that they could only close my account or transfer money if I went to exactly the same branch as where I opened my account. That was impossible to do on that same trip, so I still could not close my account.
Incidentally, they also didn’t transfer the remaining balance for me, so I ended up withdrawing hundreds of euro in cash to clear my account to zero, and walked around like a drugs dealer the rest of my trip.

Then I tried the second option. I sent everything including my card to the address, but received no news back whatsoever. I could still log on to a mobile app to check my balance (but not much more; the app offered no payment options). For several months to come, I continued to see my account balance going down each month due to the fees, well into the red. Then I forgot my password and couldn’t login anymore to check my account.

Now I have no idea whether my account has been closed or not. BNP Paribas has been utterly unhelpful with this. My main concern is that I don’t want to end up with a huge fine because of the account costs piling up, leading to negative balance and interest rates, etc. I think I have a clear argument that it is not my fault that I couldn’t close my account. But will I be somehow protected by law or some internal BNP regulation, so I don’t have to pay for this? What if I move my residency to France again? I still live in the EU nowadays.



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