top of page

A French Bank Account May Be Opened

Table of Contents

  1. Why Open a French Bank Account

  2. Types of Bank Accounts

  3. Choosing a Bank

  4. Required Documents

  5. Opening an Account

  6. Using Your Account

  7. Additional Services

  8. Moving to France

  9. Conclusion

Learn how to open a French bank account, the types of accounts, required documents, and benefits, making your move to France smoother and easier.

Opening a bank account in France is a big task, but it is pretty simple when you know what to do. Whether you are moving to France for work, study, or retirement, having a local bank account can make life easier. This guide will walk you through the steps to open a French bank account, the types of accounts available, and what documents you will need.

Why Open a French Bank Account

Having a French bank account offers many benefits. It allows you to manage your finances more efficiently, pay bills, receive your salary, and avoid high fees for using foreign bank accounts. It also makes setting up direct debits for regular payments like rent, utilities, and phone bills easier.

Types of Bank Accounts

In France, there are two main types of bank accounts you can open:

  1. Current Account (Compte Courant): This is the most common type of account. It is used for everyday transactions such as paying your salary, paying bills, and purchasing. A current account often comes with a debit card and a chequebook.

  2. Savings Account (Compte Épargne): This type of account is used to save money and earn interest. Savings accounts usually offer higher interest rates than current accounts but may have restrictions on withdrawals.

Choosing a Bank

France has many banks to choose from, both local and international. Some of the well-known banks include BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole, and HSBC. When selecting a bank, consider the following:

  • Location: For convenience, choose a bank with branches close to your home or workplace. Major cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille have many branches of different banks.

  • Services: Look at the bank's services, such as online banking, customer service in English, and additional services like insurance and investment advice.

  • Fees: Compare the fees for account maintenance, transactions, and card usage. Some banks offer special packages for students or expatriates with reduced fees.

Required Documents

To open a bank account in France, you will need the following documents:

  1. Proof of Identity: A valid passport or identity card.

  2. Proof of Address: A recent utility bill, rental agreement, or residence certificate from your local town hall (Mairie).

  3. Proof of Income or Employment: A work contract, pay slips, or proof of enrollment if you are a student.

  4. Residence Permit: If you are not from the European Union, you may need to show your residence permit.

Opening an Account

You can open your account once you have chosen your bank and gathered your documents. Here are the steps:

  1. Make an Appointment: Contact the bank to make an appointment. Some banks allow you to start the process online, but you must still visit a branch to complete it.

  2. Visit the Bank: Go to the bank with your documents. A bank representative will help you fill out the necessary forms.

  3. Sign the Contract: Review the terms and conditions carefully before signing the contract. Ensure you understand the fees, interest rates, and other conditions.

  4. Receive Your Bank Details: Once your account is opened, you will receive your details, including your International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC). You will also receive your debit card and chequebook if applicable.

Using Your Account

With your French bank account open, you can use it for your daily financial needs. Here are some common uses:

  • Receiving Salary: Provide your employer with your bank details so your salary can be deposited directly into your account.

  • Paying Bills: Set up direct debits for regular payments like rent, utilities, and phone bills to avoid missing due dates.

  • Making Purchases: Use your debit card for everyday purchases. You can also use checks, although they are less common now.

  • Online Banking: Most banks offer online banking services, allowing you to manage your account, transfer money, and pay bills online.

Additional Services

Many banks in France offer additional services that can be useful:

  • Insurance: Banks often provide insurance services, including home, health, and car insurance.

  • Investment: Some banks offer investment advice and services if you are interested in investing.

  • Loans: Banks can provide loans for various needs, such as buying a car or a home.

Moving to France

If you are moving to France, having a local bank account is essential for managing your finances. Whether relocating to a major city or a smaller town, a French bank account will make your transition smoother.


Opening a French bank account is straightforward and provides many benefits. By choosing the right bank, gathering the necessary documents, and following the steps outlined, you can easily set up your account and start managing your finances in France. If you need assistance, consider contacting services that specialize in helping expatriates, like Come Live in France, which offers a range of services to make your move easier.

Having a local bank account will simplify your financial transactions and help you integrate more smoothly into French life. So, take the first step today and open your French bank account to enjoy its convenience and benefits.



bottom of page