If you plan to relocate to France and you intent to rent an accommodation, the opening of a bank account in France is recommended as soon as possible because the bank account details (called RIB in French) will be required for the booking of the rental home and setting up of utilities in France. Your relocation consultant from Management Mobility Consulting will guide you through the entire relocation process.
Who can open a Bank Account in France?
A foreigner who is (or is going to be) resident in France for more than three months may open a French bank account (compte bancaire). A foreigner who is not (nor is planning to be) resident in France may open a non-resident's account (compte non-résident).
A French Resident's Bank Account
An expatriate, foreign assignee or any other foreigner moving to France may open a bank account. Most banks have a variety of account types, with day-to-day banking usually being handled through a current account (compte à vue, also called a compte de dépôt à vue or a compte chèque).
These documents are needed to open an account:
- EU citizens: Proof of identity (a valid passport or ID card)
- Non-EU citizens: Proof of residence (Carte de séjour)
- Proof of a French address: a utility bill, rental agreement or property deeds
- Proof of earnings or status: Contract of employment/proof of earnings/proof of status (example: a student card)
Opening an account can be done in a day and methods of making payments (cash cards and cheque books) will usually arrive within a week to ten days of the account being opened.
Choose your Bank before Opening a Bank Account in France
For an expatriate relocating to France It is advisable to favour the main French banks or a foreign bank with a strong physical presence in France. Their extensive networks allow to access to an advisor or distributor at any time. Also check with the bank in your home country to see if it has any agreements with a French bank. These can allow you to benefit from financial advantages and simplified procedures.
There are 7 main banks in France:
- Société Générale
- Crédit Agricole
- Caisse d'Epargne
- Crédit Lyonnais
- Banque Populaire
- Crédit Mutuel
La Poste also offers banking services. Thanks to a network of post offices throughout France, this option will allow you to access your account in almost all French municipalities. The postal bank is renowned for its speed and simplicity of access.
Like the post office, more and more telephone operators are offering banking services to expatriates and foreign assignees. This is the case for Orange for example.
Online Banking Services
If you like to manage everything from your smartphone, opening an account in an online bank can be a good alternative. Online banks offer very attractive rates compared to traditional banks.
The Pricing Conditions for Opening an Account in France
Banks usually provide a pricing brochure that contains details of the costs of the various operations. Costs usually are:
- Account maintenance fees: These are the fees charged for the simple management of your account. They do not correspond to any service. Some banks invoice them more than others.
- Offline withdrawals: Some banks charge you an extra fee if you withdraw money from places other than their own ATMs. Check the policy of each bank on this subject.
- Account statements: Normally they are sent to your home every month. Some banks charge an extra fee for viewing your accounts online
- The price of credit and debit cards: These prices vary according to the banks and the type of card. Compare the offers of the different banks. Cards usually arrive 1 to 2 weeks after opening the account.
Joint Accounts during your Expatriation in France
As in many countries, you can open a joint account in France with two beneficiaries (you and your spouse or partner). All transactions require a signature and therefore both beneficiaries must be present during the opening procedures. In the absence of one of the beneficiaries, a signed letter of authorization and the identity card of the absent person must be presented.
All French banks are required to provide bank account information to their customers (a Bank Identity Statement - more commonly known as RIB). The RIB is required for bank transfers and direct debits.
Current accounts are attached to a debit and payment card and a cheque book (optional).
Most French banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm. Please note, however, that they are generally closed at lunch time between 12:00 and 14:00.
In cities, banks often open on Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm.
Bank Account Opening Relocation Assistance by Management Mobility Consulting
Your relocation company Management Mobility Consulting in Paris, France assists you with all steps related to the opening of a bank account in France. Our relocation consultants inform you about the banking system in France, compare different banks for you, arrange bank account appointments for you and accompany you to the bank, if required.