How To Open A Bank Account In France [Complete Process]

Do you desire to open a Bank account in France Online? well regardless of your origin and whether you are a resident, worker, student, traveler,etc
Ketcha Brandon
Open a Bank Account in France

Do you desire to open a Bank account in France Online? well regardless of your origin and whether you are a resident, worker, student, traveler or non resident of the country, you will probably need a bank account once you are there in order to secure and manage your funds.

The country France is a popular European country that welcomes visitors and tourist around the world and also has one of the most visited areas in the world which is Paris. Since the country is an Advanced developed nation, it counts several immigrants yearly as students, travelers, tourist, expats that come to the country yearly.

Even if you might say to yourself that you do not need one for everyday shopping, but a French bank account is required when it comes to paying taxes and energy bills, receiving an income or purchasing property in France.

With that small intro about the country France let us now get down  to our main reason in this article as I will talk to you about the banking system in France, types of banks for residents, and non residents and also how you can easily open a French bank account online without any problem.

Banking System in France

With 266 private and international banks, 300 public local banks and other credit organizations, these makes the France's banking sector heavily developed. The country's central bank is known as  Banque de France whilst in charge of the banking sector is the Autorite de controle prudentiel et de Resolution (ACPR).

Can I Open a Bank Account Online in France?

If you think there are too many processes involved, you might want to open a bank account online. In addition to providing all the services you would expect from a typical bank, online banks are also simpler to start up. Remember that not all online financial organizations are created equal; in order to use all the services offered by a French bank, you must open a bank account with one that is authorized to do so.

Do You Need A Bank Account in France?

It is possible to live in France without having a French bank account as there is no legal requirement to have one. However managing your finances from an overseas account will prove to be tricky, and possibly costly.

This is particularly true when it comes to things such as receiving wages and paying utility bills in France. Having a French bank account will also help you with things like getting a French mortgage.

What to Consider Before Opening a French Bank Account

You are able to manage your funds and complete payments via an overseas account in case you relocate before opening a bank account in France. Most of the companies that you will find in France accept Visa and Mastercard and Bank's ATMs are often free to use but you have to check with your home bank to see if there are any fees. You can still decide to create a bank account in France before you actually arrive the country.

You can open a Non Resident account( Compte non Resident) which are available from some French banks and can be used from anywhere around the world. Since France is well known country when t comes to banking qualities, numerous global banks have their branches in France therefore transferring funds should be simple should be simple if your home bank has a French presence.

More to that you can open a French bank account in most banks even before you move if and only if you can verify the fact that you will be a long term resident in France and can give a French address. 

What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account in France

All of the French Residents and French nationals living outside of France have the legal right to open a bank account in France but that does not mean that it will be simple- because you will have to clear hurdles first by providing your identity, proof of address and proof of residence status so as to get started with the process.

What is the Minimum age to Open a Bank Account in France ?

Well this is a question that most individuals often ask. In order to open a current account or Saving account, it is an obligation that you have to be at least 18 years of age but however, some banks still provide some options for minors but an accompanied letter from a parent or legal guardian is often needed to proceed.

What Documents Do you Need to Open a Bank Account in France

Identification (your passport), evidence of address (such as a rental contract and/or a utility bill), and proof of residency status (a visa or other titre de sejour) are the three types of paperwork needed.

This may seem a little entangled due to the fact that you will not be able to pay your utility bills or sign a lease unless you have a French bank account. It is often recommended that you first of all compile as much documents as you can and then bring it all with you.

Each bank has its own requirements and you may find some banks needing some additional documents such as proof of residence or enrollment as a student. So if you are not working or studying in the country, it might appear more difficult for you to open an account if you do not have a long term residency permit.

In case you are still in the search for your home, the bank may want a letter of recommendation from your work or cash guarantee before opening you a bank account or credit card.

Some times, they can ask you to  provide a notarial translation or a certificated translation with an Apostille stamp if your documents are not in French. Within 7-14 days, you would receive your banking information (debit card, account number, checkbook).

Banking Services in France

It is observed that banks in France offer a comparable variety of financial services as compared to banks in many other European nations. In addition to the current and savings accounts that banks offer, they also offer the following services;

  • Insurance in France
  • International money transfers
  • Investment ranging from plans to stock market trading
  • Borrowing options including loans, overdrafts, and French mortgages

Types of Bank Accounts in France

The Local French banks offer 3 various types of bank accounts and below I will give you a briefing on each of the account types;

  • Current Account ( Compte Courant) - This is probably the account that you are looking for  and a Compte courant is a simple bank account that can be used on daily basis, you can use a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM, pay bills and make purchases.
  • General Savings Account ( Livret) - Well this is actually a savings account that also aids you in transferring money conveniently between your current account and your savings account. There also exist a livret A which is also a tax free savings account and has more restrictions.
  • Long Term Savings Account ( Compte a Terme or Compte d'Epargne Logement)-  With this type of account, you are being  paid a greater rate of interest to people who are saving for a home or other significant purchase.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Almost every bank in France allows you to open a joint account and if you register an account in 2 names ( like for example a couple) you will be able to set it up as [nom] et [nom], in which case both account holders must sign off on payments such as checks or [nom] ou [nom] in which case only one account holder must sign.

Offshore Bank Accounts in France for Non Residents and Expats

Expats in France may discover that the simplest method to handle their finances in the country is to open an international offshore bank account and this is more useful for people who work overseas, spend a lot of time in multiple countries, or transfers money often between them.

Offshore accounts are those that are held outside of the account holder's home country and typically provide specific advantages such as a greater range of cross border services and lower taxations on funds. Most of the top banks in France offer international offshore banking services to the public.

Banks in France Offering Non Residents Accounts

Well there are more than 250 banks in France but only a few of them can allow you to open an offshore bank account as a non residents and some of these banks include;

Banque Populaire

This bank is part of the BPCE group and it features current and Savings account options that include worldwide expat services like quick cross border transfers and account management from anywhere in the world. You can also find online and mobile banking services as well as smartphone payment possibilities.

BNP Paribas

Actually this among France's largest banks and it offers current and Savings accounts alongside online banking. For those that are are still between the age of 18 to 24 years old, they offer a young person's account that comes with reductions on fees and services.

BNP Paribas is a global bank but some of its services are only available in certain countries, this means that you must be a resident of France in order to benefits from some its goods and services.

Credit Agricole

Customers are able to customize banking services and features to best fit their unique needs using this French cooperative banking network's compte a composer feature. Money management features, payment services and digital banking options are also included.

More to that, Credit Agricole provides and English speaking Britline banking service which is suitble to open an account from afar.  Another way through which you can open a bank account in France is by banking with an  overseas bank situated in France. Below is a list of some international banks that are located in France.

  • Axa Banque
  • Barclays
  • CitiBank
  • Deutsch Bank 
  • HSBC 

How to Open a Bank Account in France [Complete Procedure]

Do not underestimate the importance of checking to see if your current bank has a branch in France before opening a new account there. If this is the case, then instead of trying to open a new account again, you can simply transfer your existing account as it might be easier.

In case you are starting afresh, the first step is to phone or come into a local location and schedule an appointment. It is often advisable that you come along with a translator or you can bring a friend if you do not want the discussion in French.

It's possible that your local bank branch will send you to a branch that caters to foreigners. If that's the case, you'll need to contact them and set up an appointment. Bring all of your papers with you to your appointment, and be prepared to sign some paperwork.

If your appointment goes well, you'll be given a bank account number, commonly known as a RIB (relevé d'identité bancaire). Your bank will call or send you an email when your account is ready for you to make your first deposit.

Should it be the case that your application got rejected, it is an obligation that they give you an explanation of why your  application got rejected  and in this case, you can file a complaint with the Banque de France which will then assign you a bank.

How to Open a Bank Account in France as a Non-Resident or Foreigner

All the 3 banks that have been listed above in this article ( Banque Populaire, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole) allow you to easily open a bank account in France as a foreigner.

The country France, counts a big number of immigrants each year that goes by and some of these are students, travelers, expats and they will surely need a bank account once they are in France.

For most of the students that reside in the country, French banks offer them with Student bank account which also comes with some distinct advantages even though the accounts are also somehow limited but they are just perfect for students since they do not charge a lot fees.

Non-citizens also can open on-line French financial institution money owed from on-line banking establishments like N26, bunq, LeoPay, and Revolut. All you want to do is down load the cellular banking app in case you have already got a financial institution account and want to exchange to cellular banking.

How to Open a French Bank Account Online

It is of no doubt today that with the advancement of technology, most banks offer their services online and that is the case for banks in France even though the mobile banking app for banks in France is limited only to French speaking countries.

Opening a French bank account online may incur a modest fee from some banks while others may charge you with high fees. 

Other bonuses may include features such as free online banking but any additional services will be charged at a Premium- like for example in branch services and as result determining your result is crucial to you.

As a non resident, you can also open an online French bank account from online banking institutions such as N26, bunq, LeoPay, and Revolut. All you will have to do is to download the mobile banking app if you akready have a bank account and wish to switch to mobile banking.

How to Open a Bank Account in France for your Children

Most of the banks in French provides children's bank accounts even though with varying benefits. For school aged youngsters, certain banks may offer a young person's account that can be launched as soon as they are born.

In case you desire to open an account for the sake of your child, each banking provider will have a distinct process and restrictions. Any account opened by anyone below the age of 18 years will require a letter from a parent or legal guardian showing their accordance and awareness to the fact that their child is a bout to open a bank account. 

In case you are opening a ban account for a child below the age of 18 years, you will always need to submit identification fir both yourself and your child and you will also have to provide confirmation of residency. 

Well with that said, the best way to open an account for your child is for both of you to show up at the branch and if this is not possible, banks may still show interest in opening an account if you present the required documentation.

How to Open A Business Bank Account in France

The majority of French banks offer both personal and business banking services. Though it can take a while and require a ton of paperwork, getting a bank account in France for business purposes can be challenging.

Banks will want to confirm that the company is legal and operating ethically. It is simpler to set up a French business that isn't incorporated (such as a sole proprietorship or general partnership) or to just open a separate account for freelance work in France.

However, in addition to personal documentation, you will likely need to provide the following when forming a limited company:

  • Articles of incorporation;
  • K-bis (legal company ID document that proves the business has been registered with the French Commerce and Companies Register);
  • Minimum deposit (this varies between banks and type of business account)

As with personal accounts, banks are not obliged to offer accounts to businesses and may ask a lot of questions beforehand.

These may cover things such as business plans, cash flow forecasts, and the nature of the business. The process can sometimes take several months and involve a few meetings where directors of the business need to be present. Fees for business banking are usually higher than for personal banking, so ask for these upfront before signing up for an account.

Final Thoughts on How to Open a Bank Account in France

Opening a Bank Account in France is a quite easy process especially when you have all the required documents. So in this article, I have outlined to you what it takes to open a bank account in France so hope you found this article helpful to you? let us know in the comment section.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can foreigners open a French bank account?

You are entitled to open a bank account in France whether you are a resident or non-resident, even if you do not own a property in the country. However, while residents have an automatic right to a bank account, non-residents do not..

Can I open a bank account in France online?

French citizens may be the only ones who can use these, yet the majority of banks in France now offer their services online and through mobile banking apps. For opening a French bank account online, certain institutions could impose a minor cost..

Can I open a French bank account without a French address?

The French financial law stipulates that the conditions to open a bank account in France as a French resident or non resident are the same..

How much does it cost to open a bank account in France?

In France, creating a bank account is free of charge, but some financial institutions may require a small deposit. This crucial fact needs to be confirmed because there are fees associated with many bank services..

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