How to write a French cheque

A blog for tourists and expats

I started this blog as a travel advisory resource for families holidaying in the region and travellers who have limited mobility, however I receive comments from many readers who live here permanently that they find my blog helpful.  I’m pleased that people are finding my blog a source of information and inspiration!

Paperwork in France

As an ex-pat living in France, one of the main struggles I have is with paperwork.  Filling in forms everywhere you go in France.  And having to provide the same information constantly to different companies and departments, who in most other countries could just accept a scanned copy, right? WRONG!  Send the original…..with copies….and proof of your address….and copies of your identification etc  etc etc…If you manage to get away with just one visit to any official department or office, you are either lucky or they will wait 6 months and then contact you to advise you to bring something else for ‘their dossier’.

Communication in French

My partner’s French is terrible.  Not in the sense of his pronunciation or grammar; just terrible in his efforts to be understood.

Visiting the bank, syndicate office, insurance company makes him nervous as he has lived here for many years but struggles past single-sentence conversations with French people.

I accompanied him to his bank to arrange an important meeting for a new business account and all went well – until he received a new French cheque book in the post.  His face turned to stone with the realisation he would have to write French numbers and words.

The difference between a French cheque and what you may be used to elsewhere

Writing a French cheque is simple, there are just six spaces to complete but accuracy is key.

If you are American, the main thing to remember is the French put the day before the month when writing dates.

Another of the main differences is that the top space is for the amount of the cheque written in words (French), not the beneficiary.

Top tip: There is a handy website where you type the numbers in and it translates from English to French the exact words to write on your cheque. Example:  Type in 35,12 and it translates ‘trente-cinq euros et douze centimes’.   I’m sure this website has saved many cheques being ripped up and thrown away.

Free downloadable cheat-sheet on writing a French cheque

So, to help make life easier for my partner (and for myself, by eliminating the nagging questions whenever he raises a French cheque!), I created a cheat-sheet reminder which my partner printed out.  He placed one copy into his banking folder, and the other copy is proudly fixed to the inside cover of his cheque book to take everywhere with him and remind him ‘how to write a French cheque’.

Here is my free downloadable example, click on the link Frenchcheque

Have you had any cheque-writing disasters in France?  Ever struggled with the English to French translation of numbers like my partner?  Hopefully other non-French expats find my cheat-sheet useful as well !   Please share on Facebook and retweet on Twitter if you think this blog post could help others





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