How to open a bank account in France

how to open a bank account in franceOpening a personal bank account for EU passport holder as a resident in France is not too difficult.

There are eight retail high street banks in France, as follows:

  • Crédit Agricole (CA)
  • BNP Paribas.
  • Société Générale.
  • Caisse d’Epargne (CE)
  • Banque Populaire (BP)
  • Crédit Mutuel.
  • La Banque Postale.
  • LCL.

Requirements are a Passport, occasionally a birth certificate/marriage certificate and proof of address, such as a utility bill or a Rental Agreement.
If in the process of buying a property and you are to be resident then a Compromis de vente or Deeds will generally suffice.

Accounts can be opened very quickly with a deposit but cheque books and bank cards can take up to a couple of weeks to arrive.

Please note, Bank charges vary from Bank to Bank with some carrying a basic charge for having an account.

Do check to see if there are charges for internet banking.

There is normally a card charge which is deducted as a monthly debit, with additional charge for an additional card.

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  1. On a practical note, don’t bother getting up early on a Monday all geared up to open your new account. Why would a bank bother to open on a Monday? That would be ridiculous! I found myself stood outside Credit Agricole on a Monday morning doing my best Victor Meldrew impression.
    However, on Tuesday I went in and made an appointment for a couple of days later and the account was opened easily. You may need all the stuff listed above, I didn’t, the lady gave my passport a cursory glance, did a load of typing, got me to sign half a ream of A4 and that was it. No proof of income, no proof of residence, nothing really. It may vary from bank to bank, so do have everything ready, but I wouldn’t get too worried about the whole process. It’s far easier than trying to do anything back in the UK even with the language barrier.

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