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Moving to Paris? Everything you need to know about opening a bank account in France

August 01, 2019
Moving to a new city is daunting but once you’re set up with the essentials, life gets easier. One of these essentials is opening a bank account. This should be one of the first things you do when you arrive. Opening a bank account in France will help make transactions easier and you may even be required to have one for renting properties and getting paid by your employer. With that in mind, here’s our guide to opening a bank account in Paris.

France has a highly advanced banking system, with over 266 national banks to choose from. If you are planning move to Paris but haven’t actually arrived yet, there is the option to open a bank account remotely. If you’re from an EEA country, you can open a French bank account even if you aren’t actually a resident there. However, as a non-resident, there are more restrictions on your account options so going in to a branch in person will be preferable. 

 

Opening a bank account in Paris

Which bank should I choose?

There are so many back for you to choose from, but these are a few of the biggest and most popular. 

 

ING Direct

  • The largest online bank in France
  • A free basic current account
  • Opening offers such as free bank cards and increased interest rates
  • You must be a resident in France to open an account
  • Application is in French only

 

Britline (Crédit Agricole)

  • Perfect for expats because online and phone banking is in English
  • You can open an account online before moving to Paris
  • Charges are transparent and published in English

 

BNP Paribas

  • The largest high street bank in France
  • From basic current accounts to savings products
  • Good for students with great fees and low charges for 18-24 year-olds

Opening a bank account in paris

Some other options

  • Société Générale
  • Caisse d’Épargne
  • Banque Populaire
  • La Banque Postale
  • LCL
  • Crédit Mutuel

What will I need?

Not every bank will require all of these documents but many of them will, and making sure you have as much information aspkossible will help tomato opening a bank account in Paris as smooth as possible. These are the things we recommend you take to your sigh up appointment. Photo ID (passport)

  • Residence permit
  • Proof of address: an electricity, gas, water or landline bill. Some banks may accept proof of address from the country where you lived previously
  • Proof of income: pay slip or tax notice
  • Three most recent bank statements
  • Foreign tax identification number

What fees will I come across? 

Opening a bank account in Paris

 

Charges and fees for French bank accounts are very different to in other European countries, so before you pick a bank, make sure you are familiar with charges and fees. 

 

Monthly service fee

All French bank accounts come with a monthly service fee but the cost of the fee differs depending on the account you choose. A basic one might only charge you roughly $1 but one with perks might cost you a lot more.  

 

Card fees

Unlike in the UK, you will probably have to pay an annual fee to have a debit card linked to your account. It will cost €30 to €45 a year for a basic debit card. But a debit card is almost essential so it’s worth paying for. 

 

Cash machine fees

As more and more businesses move away from cash to card payments only, it’s not always necessary to carry money. But if you withdraw cash often then check the charges because each French bank has different fees for cash withdrawals. If you use a cash machine different operating by a bank different to yours you may incur fees. 

 

Internet banking

Opening a bank account in Paris

 

Nearly all banks in France now offer an internet banking service and there are some options for ‘online only’ banks that you can open before relocating to Paris. Monzo is the UK’s largest online bank but is not available in France yet, but Bunq and N26 are similar and are free to open and offer good rates for international transactions if you travel regularly. 

 

We hope this introduction to opening a bank account in Paris will help to make your move to the city of lights as smooth as possible. 




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