Rejected direct debits, bounced cheques or overdrawn accounts: payment incidents can now affect many French and European investors. Legally regulated by laws, these payment incidents can be subject to costly bank charges, although some banks are more lenient than others. In any event, how can these banking problems be remedied?

The origins of banking problems

Bank problems are usually grouped under the term “payment incident” and are subsequently subject to a banking ban. If you have accidentally signed a NSF cheque and a letter informing you of a registration with the FCC (Fichier Central des Chèques de la Banque de France) was issued in your name, then you are in a banned bank account status.

This somewhat constraining situation can happen to anyone after a difficult end of month or unexpected off-budget expenses. Once you are on the FCC list, you become one of those people whose ability to use a credit card or cheques has been withdrawn by the bank. In most cases, you become “banned from banking” as a result of an overdrawn banks account, a chargeback or NSF cheques.

In general, it is the banking institution’s duty to inform its client if it has decided to put him/her on “banned banking” status.

How do I return to normal banking status?

Following a payment incident, a ban is the sanction to be expected. But how do you get out of this awkward situation? A banking ban can be lifted at any time if you take the necessary steps to regularize your financial situation. And to do so, you can choose between replenishing your account, requesting a reservation of the total amount owed on NSF cheques or even cashing the cheques back to the potential beneficiaries.

Once these procedures have been successfully completed, you can then inform your bank of the regularization made so that it can then inform the Banque de France and you can be removed from the FCC list. It is also possible to recover the NSF cheque from the beneficiary and then pay it by bank transfer or cash. In this case, the original cheque must not be lost in order to initiate the ban lifting procedure. To speed up this procedure, one can go to all bank branches and deposit the supporting documents for the regularization of the financial status.

If, two days after the regularization of the status, the interested party is still on the FCC list, he or she can then apply directly to the Banque de France without a mediator.

How can payment incidents be avoided?

In every respect, being in a situation of banking ban is very restrictive for oneself and for one’s investment projects. Whether on behalf of an individual or a company, situations leading to payment incidents should be avoided as much as possible.

On a regular basis, it is a good idea to monitor your expenses by checking your bank balance. A priori, expenses should always be lower than income for the proper management of the account. As much as possible, it is advisable to keep a certain safety margin by saving a sum to face possible unforeseen expenses. If you experience temporary financial difficulties, it would be advisable to talk to your bank to negotiate an authorized overdraft.

Another option is to take out a personal loan or a quick credit until your financial situation stabilizes.