An Overview of Open a Bank Account in France
If you reside in France or are planning to do business in France, then a French Bank Account becomes essential to pay taxes and utility bills and get a paycheck or buy a property in France. This will make local payments easier for you. For some transactions, having a bank account is even obligatory. Here you will find everything you need to know about opening a French Bank Account.
Types of Bank Accounts in France
In France, there are three types of bank accounts:
- Current Account: A current account is called as “compte courant’ in French. With this bank account, you can manage your everyday money. It provides easy access to funds, and there are no fees for the basic package. Many banks also offer special accounts such as non-resident accounts, student accounts, and young person’s accounts.
- General Savings Account: A General savings account is called a “Livret” in French. This account is good for storing funds having no immediate use but it comes with easy access and one can easily transfer money to and from a current account. Some banks also offer a tax-free savings account option.
- Long-Term Savings Account: It is called “Compte a Terme or Compted’EpargneLogement” in French. It is a high-interest account for saving money for buying things such as a house.
In France, banks allow the opening of joint accounts in two ways. In the first way, you can open a bank account under two names where both account holders need to sign off for payments such as cheques. In a second way, the bank allows the opening of a joint account where only one account holder is required to sign or authorize any payments from that account.
Types of Offshore Accounts
France allows ex-pats to open an international offshore bank account to manage their finances. This type of bank account is suitable for anyone who works abroad, spends the majority of his time in another country, or frequently transfers money between countries. Offshore accounts are located outside the account holder’s residence country. It offers a range of cross-border services and lower taxation on funds. The majority of French banks provide international offshore banking in France. French banks that allow ex-pat residents to open a bank account are:
- Banque Populaire: It is part of the BPCE group, which offers current account and savings account options, including international expat services such as easy cross-border transfers and account operation from abroad. This bank also offers mobile banking services and smartphone payment options.
- BNP Paribas: It is one of the biggest banks in France and offers both current account and savings account options as well as online banking options. It allows opening a young person’s account from 18-24 years with discounts on fees and services. The bank BNP Paribas operates globally and offers limited services in some countries so one may need to be a French resident to access the products and services.
- CréditAgricole: It is a cooperative banking network in France. It has a complete composer function which allows customers to tailor the banking services and features to best suit their individual needs. It offers money management tools, digital payment options, and payment services. It also runs an English-speaking Britline banking service which is ideal for setting up accounts from overseas.
You can also bank with an international bank based in France. Some of the international banks based in France are as follows:
- Deutsche Bank
There are also online and mobile banks in France that give you 24/7 access to your account and offer cross-border payment transactions. Such online and mobile banks in France include:
- Hello Bank
Documents required for opening a bank account in France
- Proof of address
- Residence permit
- Proof of employment for employees and proof of enrolment in a French Education institution for students.
- Bank statements from your previous bank
- Address of your resident country
Procedure to open a bank account in France
Step 1: Visit the branch office
The first step towards opening a bank account is to visit the bank branch and ask to open an account. Bank branches are open from 09:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Friday. You will have to visit the bank with a translator as it is very likely that the staff won’t speak English. If you can’t find a translator then you can ask to take the documents away with you to complete it and understand it.
Step 2: Fill out the application and assemble the documents required
The second step is to fill out the application form and assemble all the documents required to be submitted. Some banks demand proof of job or student. Foreigners with long-term resident permits but who are not working or studying may find it difficult to open an account in France. Bank may ask for a reference from your employer or a cash guarantee if you’re still house hunting. You have to provide a notarized translation or a translation certified with an Apostille stamp if you’re documents are not in French.
Step 3: Submit the application form along with the requisite documents
The last step is to submit the application and the documents. You can expect to receive your banking documents such as debit card, account number, checkbook, etc within 7 to 14 days.