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How to open a French Bank Account

 how to open a french bank account

If you want to open a French bank account in France you’ll probably find its not that different from opening a bank account in your own country.

Some French banks have staff who speak English, some French banks offer a complete English speaking service such as Credit Agricole’s Britline service (available to residents in France, UK and Ireland). Some of course have only French language services. There is a wide choice of banks available on line or in the High Street including  major foreign banks operating in France.

Some French banks like you to open your account in person as this suits money laundering requirements but you can open an account online if it’s more suitable – you’ll need to shop around for the bank that suits your requirements best.

One critical thing you should consider when looking for a bank is to consider transfer costs if you are regularly transferring money to France.  French bank charges and stipulations may differ from bank to bank so make sure you ask for details on this particular requirement if it’s important to you.

You don’t have to own a home or live in France to open a bank account, there are different types of accounts available for resident or non–resident account holders and the banks will give you details on request.

You will be asked for various pieces of documentation, this may vary from bank to bank and whether you open the account online on in person but be prepared to be asked for the following:

Proof of identity, for instance passport or ID card

Proof of residence such as a utility bill, rental agreement or property deeds

Proof of earnings, a letter from your employer, copy of contract of employment

Reference from your bank in your own country stating that you are a good customer for instance

In some cases, a birth certificate

Bank statements – up to 6 months in some cases

If you don’t open the account in person you may be asked for more documentation and to have it certified by an acceptable authority specified by the bank.

You will also need to satisfy the bank’s checks on your status such as a check for bankruptcy, court orders for non-payment of debt etc.

More information to help you with opening your bank account: Overdrafts, RIB, Cheques, paying cash deposits, ATM Machines in France

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