How do you open a bank account in France?

You want to open a bank account in France? A bank account is indispensable for carrying out many of the essential activities of day-to-day living, such as receiving your salary, paying rent for your home, paying bills, etc. To open an account, here are the steps you need to take.

Firstly, you need to know what type of account you will be able to open and that all depends on whether you are resident in France or not. If you have proof of residence and you are staying in France for more than 3 months, you can open a current account as a “resident”. In most cases, it is free. The documents required include: your visa, your passport and a recent proof of address showing your name and address. If you have no visa or proof that you are a resident, you can open a “non-resident” account. Services and costs are the same as those for a resident’s account, but it is not possible to get a credit card or agree an overdraft. Operations (withdrawals, deposits etc.) are carried out by an adviser at your bank.

How do you choose a bank?

Before choosing a bank, check whether your bank in your home country has a partner bank in France. You may be able to benefit from advantages in terms of tariffs and the process may be simpler. In France, there are 8 main banks with agencies throughout the country.

  • BNP-Paribas
  • Société Générale
  • Crédit Agricole
  • Caisse d’Epargne
  • Crédit Lyonnais
  • Banque Populaire
  • Crédit Mutuel
  • La Banque Postale

You could also choose an online bank if you like to manage your money on your Smartphone! Online banks offer more freedom to customers, as well as highly competitive rates.

A price comparison for services offered by banking institutions (through agencies and online banks) is available here.

You can close your bank account at any time by sending a letter to the bank by recommended post.