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Monthly Wrap: Your quick guide to opening a bank account in France

currency-newsMonthly Wrap: Your quick guide to opening a bank account in France
If you’re moving to France or visit the nation on a regular basis, having a French bank account can make it easier to manage your money.  

To help you navigate the process we’ve created a short guide to opening a bank account in France.

Choosing your bank

There are a few options to choose from when opening a bank account in France, including national high-street banks, local financial institutions, internet banks, or a French branch of an international bank.

Generally, in terms of fees and charges, there isn’t a great deal to differentiate one from another. If the costs are the same, focus instead on ease of access, saving rates, current account costs and the other attributes of day-to-day banking that matter to you.

Opening a French bank account from overseas

Fortunately with the prevalence of internet banking, opening a bank account in France has never been easier, with most of the process being done online.

However, while there are no legal barriers preventing you from opening a French bank account if you’re not a resident, it is worth pointing out that many banks may be reluctant to do so unless you intend to stay in the country long-term.

If you’re not going to be based in France you may want to find out if your bank in your country of residence has international branches in France and whether they would be willing to open a French account for you.

Required documentation

When opening a bank account in France there are a few pieces of documentation that need to be provided whether you’re a resident or not.

These include:
  • Proof of identity - Passport, visa or residence permit.
  • Proof of residence - A rent receipt, a recent electricity or water bill, or other proof of address.
  • An example signature.
Anyone not currently living in France will also need to provide:
  • Proof of economic activity – Details of your financial situation, including bank statements, pay slips or tax notices to prove your earnings.
  • Your Tax Identification Number – For anyone applying from the UK, this would be your National Insurance number.
Be aware that French banks are likely to be extra cautious when dealing with non-residents. French law requires them to know both the identity and the principal banking activities of their clients in order to prevent money-laundering or activities linked to terrorism.

Opening an account

The actual process of opening an account can vary from bank to bank and on the product you choose, but as mentioned already it can generally be done online (some banks may allow you to provide scanned copies of your documents, but others may need you to verify them in person).

You will then need to make a payment to cover the opening balance before receiving your bank card and PIN in the post at a later date.
Once your bank account is open you’ll be able to transfer funds from the UK to France. If you’d like to find out how we can help you save time and money on your currency transfers please give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7847 9494.
Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.

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