Does tradition rhyme with modernity?

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SG (Société Générale) logo

As a storied banking institution, SG (Société Générale) is a dinosaur in a field that is decidedly geared toward digital. However, it regularly evolves its offer and its platform towards a simpler and more transparent online model to attract new customers. Let’s see if we are facing a real change of identity or a nice façade that hides the old school.

Characteristics of SG (Société Générale)

💶 Opening Bonus Up to €140 offered for opening a first account
📃 Income requirement None
💳 bank card VISA
💰 Initial deposit None
💸 Account maintenance fees None
🤝 Sponsorship Yeah
📱 Application Android/iOS
💲 Mobile payment Apple Pay / Paylib
🔐 Safe 3D Yeah

SG (Société Générale) in a nutshell

SG (Societe Generale) is one of the three main pillars of the banking industry in France, along with Crédit Lyonnais and the BNP Paribas group. The bank was first nationalized to participate in the reconstruction of the French territory after the war, then it was privatized in the late 1980s to compete with the main international banking authorities. Today, SG is established in more than 60 countries to develop its activities and its growth.

SG (Société Générale) has always been focused on innovation and has been trying to change its ecosystem for more than 20 years. For example, it owns the subsidiary Boursorama Banque, which operates a 100% online model and which SG tries to approach with its offers, in particular Sobrio. It has thus completely modified its offer to get closer to the growing digital competition.

Previously called “Societe Generale”, the merger with Crédit du Nord led the banking group to change its name to simply SG, as an LCL (formerly Le Crédit Lyonnais) a few years ago. An evolution that focuses first on a more regional identity, with a global strategy approaching mutual banks such as Crédit Mutuel or Crédit Agricole.

SG: a varied offer of cards

capsules Sober (Visa Evolution) Sober (Classic Visa) Sober (Visa Premier)
price €2/ month Between 18 and 24 years old (3 €/month)
Between 25 and 29 years old (€5.76/month)
Over 30 (€7.20/month)
Between 18 and 24 years old (3 €/month)
Between 25 and 29 years old (€6.32/month)
Over 30 (€7.90/month)
Between 18 and 24 years old (13 €/month)
Between 25 and 29 years old (€14.90/month)
Over 30 (€14.90/month)
initial deposit None None None None
debit type immediate debit immediate debit immediate debit immediate debit
Entry conditions None None None None
pay cap €1000 per month €1,300 per month (more than 30 days) €1600 per month (more than 30 days) €3,100 per month (more than 30 days)
Withdrawal Limit €300 per week €300 (more than 7 days) €500 (more than 7 days) €1500 (more than 7 days)
Account opening and closing no fees no fees no fees no fees

Kapsul’s offer is the real novelty compared to SG’s (Société Générale) banking offer. This card is aimed at people seeking autonomy in managing their controllable budget completely online. Even if it is actually cheap and subject to a full refund in case of non-satisfaction, it is a bit difficult to define the target clientele of this offer. This is much more of an entry point for the more skeptical before potentially moving up to a higher card tier. However, he is poorly provided with insurance and benefits, especially when it comes to managing his money abroad.

Sober is the core of the bank’s offering. Of course, the level corresponding to a Visa Premier card is the most advantageous and allows easier access to additional banking products. We can only advise you to move towards this offer if you intend to make SG (Société Générale) your primary banking establishment.

Another offer called Visa Infinite completes the picture, the latter having the highest entry ticket with a subscription of 330 euros per year. This card is aimed at power users and travelers by promising totally free payments and withdrawals in the Eurozone, plus better features like deferred payment and higher withdrawal limits. Too bad that for this fee, payments and withdrawals outside the euro zone are not free.

It should also be noted that the bank does not have an internationally oriented offer. If you plan to travel and pay abroad outside the Eurozone, you will need to subscribe to an international option in addition to the classic price of the card. Finally, the note can go up quite quickly if you intend to opt for a maximum of guarantees and options for your day to day. Do not hesitate to read the price list, certain operations and additional costs can dampen your enthusiasm. Clearly, the real online banks or neobanks are much more advantageous in this area.

Open an SG (Société Générale) account

By copying the model of online banks and especially neobanks, SG (Société Générale) is moving towards a more open account registration and opening model, based on 100% online. Like what Boursorama Banque offers, it is possible to open an account from the bank’s web platform, which was not the case a few years ago when you had to go to a branch to open an account with an advisor. Once the subscription form has been completed, you will be asked for the supporting documents that will serve as the first identity verification.

The next step is more restrictive, because it requires an exchange by videoconference (or a prior appointment at a branch) with a bank advisor. In our case, this was done quite quickly, since during the bank’s opening hours. This step acts as a check by the bank and is intrusive to say the least. We would almost have preferred a more classic and contactless verification. It should also be noted that this step is only done through the SG (Société Générale) application. Please note that this step is becoming less widespread and depends largely on the nature of the account you wish to open.

Once the account opening request has been validated, you will be asked to sign the account contract by electronic signature.

Sober, an account (almost) accessible on the spot

To validate an account with SG (Société Générale), an initial payment is required. As part of a Sober account, it starts at 50 euros and is requested at account opening. This money can be used at will and no additional costs are deducted during the operation.

Money as soon as the account is opened

As a traditional banking institution and like many online banks, SG (Société Générale) regularly offers welcome offers with more or less high sums. If you want to open an account and benefit from these offers, it is recommended to follow the updates on our Good Deals page or on our Twitter account. @FrandroidBonplan to be informed in time.

SG (Societe Generale) often offers special operations with welcome bonuses of up to more than 100 euros. Of course, these offers are subject to conditions and are proportional to the types of cards chosen. So be sure to read the details and conditions of these offers before you start.

Up to 640 euros of sponsorship bonus

SG (Société Générale) offers sponsorship bonuses from the moment you have an individual or joint account. Through a dedicated platform accessible from the site or the app, the bank offers 80 euros for any account opening of a godson, generally validated after one or two weeks. It is possible to sponsor up to eight people.

Insurance, offers and services of SG (Société Générale)

SG (Société Générale) Kapsul/Sobrio cards are of the VISA type and therefore offer the organization’s insurance guarantees.

As part of a Sober account, each level entitles you to assistance in the event of a problem during your trip (repatriation, advance medical expenses, etc.) and travel insurance. However, only the Premier card entitles you to the most comprehensive insurance package that includes protection against theft of personal effects, papers or the extension of a car manufacturer’s warranty, for example.

You can consult all the guarantees according to the card from this link.

VISA card insurance plus many banking products

SG (Société Générale) also cultivates its identity as a pluralist bank and allows all its clients to benefit from insurance and additional services for an additional monthly subscription. For example, it offers classic home and car insurance, but also more specific ones for connected objects.

We also note the presence of complementary health in four formulas that can be given to your family. Of course, all this is subject to conditions and acceptance of the file with a bank advisor. We would have liked to be able to subscribe to your offers directly from the application for example.

A Cashback program compatible almost everywhere

We were pleasantly surprised to find that SG (Société Générale) offers its own system of refund of money and not through association with certain specialized sites. Specifically, by registering in the program it is possible to benefit from deferred returns on purchases made through partner brands, and there are more than 800. Please note that registration in the program is still required and is not automatically added to your account.

Customer service of large banks

This is one of the strengths of a traditional bank, customer service is developed and attentive. Most of the time, it was very easy to get assistance from a natural person by phone or email.

There is no support for cryptocurrencies yet

Despite its progress and openness on the subject, SG (Société Générale) still does not offer a wallet or services related to cryptocurrencies. Therefore, it is impossible to carry out online brokerage transactions from dedicated platforms, as well as capital movements. We expect a change of mentality in the coming years despite the reluctance of traditional banking groups on the subject.

Our opinion on the mobile application of SG (Société Générale)

One might think that the SG (Société Générale) application is a bit below its 100% digital competitors. Both say it right away: it is not so. The application (iOS and Android) is very complete, with many functions and, above all, visually accurate. Nice thing: it even acts as an account aggregator, like Bankin, so you can check all your accounts from a single app and make transfers easier. However, its interface is a bit difficult to understand due to its many features and options.

Through a configurable indicator system, viewing the account status is child’s play and budget management is facilitated. We appreciate that improvements have been made in the speed of execution and display of notifications. In a few manipulations, it is also possible to block your credit card, make overdraft authorizations, manage the ceiling and make instant transfers.

Of course, contactless payment is possible via the NFC functions of your smartphone. Unfortunately, you only have to rely on Paylib and Apple Pay (VISA only), where many other online banks have already integrated Google Pay.

We also appreciate the consideration of expense categorizations in budget management. Even if it is still impossible to customize them. We also note that it is still impossible to properly configure real-time transaction notifications, despite the presence of a dedicated option. It seems that this type of functionality was added gradually without having redesigned the interface, hence the potential bug.

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