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Open a Bank Account in France - 2024 Procedure

Open a Bank Account in France

Updated on Tuesday 06th February 2024

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Opening a bank account in France is a procedure that enters the attention of our local lawyers. The French banking system is a modern one allowing for certain transactions to be carried out online. With an impressive number of local banks operating even in the smallest villages of the country, France also accommodates foreign banks opening branch or representative offices here in order to accommodate the needs of both citizens and companies. Our French lawyers can help natural persons and businessmen open bank accounts in France, respecting the formalities for 2024.
 
 
 Quick Facts  
Who can open a bank account in France?

Entrepreneurs who want to start a business in France, foreigners who want to be residents in this country.

Formalities to open a bank account for companies

In the case of companies, the Certificate of Registration is required.

Required documents for natural persons

Thet must present:

- the residence permit,

- a valid passport,

- utility bill,

- proof of income or copy of the work contract

Types of bank accounts in France

- saving accounts,

- deposit accounts,

- investment accounts,

- debit accounts

Debit or credit card issued with a bank account

If the client solicits a card attached to the bank account.

Cash deposit to open a bank account 

Basic accounts do not require a cash deposit.

However, some banks might solicit a small deposit.

 Fees to open a bank account in France

Depending on the bank, but most of them do not impose fees for opening accounts.

Banking services offered 

 - dedicated online platforms,

- money transfers abroad,

- credit options,

- saving plans 

Possibility to open a bank account online  

Most banks in France accept the application of foreigners who want to open online bank accounts.

Possibility to pay the utility bills 

Easy money transfers for utility bills

Overseas money transfers accepted 

Yes, but banks in France might impose a fee for international money transfers.

Formalities for student bank account

- student card or proof of enrolment,

- identification card,

- residence permit

Loans option available  

- general credits,

- personal loans,

- assigned credits,

- refinancing loans

Offshore bank accounts (YES/NO)

Yes

We provide support to open a bank account in France

Our local agents can represent you with a power of attorney and take care of the bank account formalities.

Can I open a bank account in France from abroad?   Online applications available, however, legal advice is required

What is a general savings account in France? 

 For storing funds without immediate use of such an account

Opening joint accounts in France 

 Available option for interested clients

What to consider when choosing a bank to work with 

 - costs,

- fees,

- online services,

- possibility to make international transfers, etc.

Specific formalities for foreigners who do not work or study in France 

Cash guarantee is solicited. 

Notarized translation of documents 

Some banks in France ask for legalized and notarized documents for opening an account. 

Mobile banking apps available in France (YES/NO) 

YES 

Free online banking services (YES/NO) 

YES 

Bank accounts for sole traders in France 

 One must present the incorporation documents issued by the French Trade Register.

Fees for company owners in France when opening a bank account   Fees imposed for business owners are higher compared to the ones for natural persons, but it depends on the selected bank.
Can a bank in France deny the application for opening an account? 

Yes, your financial history can be verified by the bank and a letter of refusal can be issued. 

Pension plans in France 

Available packages provided by most banks in France 

Online banking hours 

 24/7 access from the mobile app

How many banks are there in France? 

Around 266 private and foreign banks, plus more than 300 public regional banks and credit institutions 

Is it difficult to open a bank account as a foreign citizen in France?  No, as long as you have residency in France, a bank account can be easily opened. 
 

Requirements to open a French bank account in 2024

 
Depending on whether one is a French resident or not, the bank will ask for various documents in order to open a bank account. The following documents must be provided when establishing a bank account in France:
 
  •  an ID card or valid passport for EU residents;
  •  the residence visa for non-EU citizens;
  •  an utility bill, rental contract or even a property deed as proof of address;
  •  a payslip.
 
Some banks may also request the birth certificate or even references from other banks, if the applicant had other accounts. Also, foreign citizens may open a non-resident bank account if they do not have a residence permit.
 
Foreign investors opening companies in France are required to set up corporate bank accounts for the daily operations of the companies. Our lawyers in France can guide you through the procedure for setting up a corporate bank account here. They can also help you with the VAT registration in France.
 
For a better management of finances, foreigners living in France can opt for international offshore bank accounts. Such an account is suitable for frequent money transfers for those working or spending time in more than just one country.
 
In France, certain banks can offer to customers non-resident accounts, known as compte non-resident. Such an account can also be managed from outside France. On the other hand, in France, you can find the biggest and most important banks in the world, so you can collaborate with the one in the country of origin and transfer the money at any time.
 
Here is an infographic with extra details:
 
 
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Bank accounts for companies in France

 
The registration of companies in France also comprises an important step referring to the bank account. This is required for depositing the minimum share capital and then for future financial operations in the firm. A bank account in France is needed for limited liability companies, joint-stock companies, partnerships, and other important business forms. One of our French lawyers will discuss the option for you to open a bank account for your company in France in 2024. Also, foreign investors can benefit from personalized services offered by banks in France.
 
A compte non-resident bank account is suitable for foreigners living in France for no more than 183 days and who are not considered tax residents. Such an account can be used for daily operations, payments, and transfers. However, some banks might impose withdrawal limits and a minimum deposit. Information about how to open a French bank account can also be found in the following video presentation:
 
 
 
 

Can I open a French bank account from abroad?

 
Yes, it is quite simple to open a bank account without traveling to France. This requires our attention and support, as we can properly manage the process of opening a bank account in France, as soon as you offer us the required documents. Instead of dealing with misunderstandings or errors you can talk to one of our advisors and find out more about the opening process of a bank account in France.
 
Each bank in France is different and can impose its own fee. As such, the average fees are around EUR 2 and EUR 5 for subscriptions, paid monthly. Extra benefits offered by the selected bank might cost over EUR 40.
 
A general savings account is also called Livret and is a type of bank account for storing funds with immediate use. However, the respective bank account can be accessed at any time. Beneficiaries can also enjoy tax-free savings accounts, but everything depends on the respective bank.
 

What bank services can be offered in France?

 
All banks in France offer specific online services for a series of transactions. Internet banking services, payments, foreign currency exchange, money transfers between accounts, balance verifications, savings and investments, insurance are among the important facilities that come with a bank account in France.
 
Tailored facilities are offered to company owners in France, depending on the business needs. Setting up a withdrawal limit or soliciting a specific type of card can be tailored to the needs of businessmen in France. You can solicit legal advice from our team of lawyers in France if interested in opening a bank account in France in 2024.
 
Many banks in France allow customers to open joint accounts. Such accounts are offered to couples, with the names of the partners and with direct access to the respective bank for financial control. This type of account is often the choice of those who move to France and want to manage their money together.
 

The banking system in France

 
The Banque du France is the institution that oversees the activities of all the financial institutions and regulates the banking sector, in collaboration with the Autorite de Controle Prudentiel et de Resolution. There are about 266 private and international banks, alongside more than 300 credit institutions and public regional banks.
 
Even though paying in cash is the most popular payment method in France, there is also the possibility of paying with cheques, credit & debit cards, direct debits, standing orders, online & mobile payments, to give a few examples. International payments and money transfers are also accepted in France.
 
Are you interested in buying a property in France? we suggest you get in touch with one of our French lawyers and discover the legal formalities you need to accomplish. we can represent clients with a power of attorney if interested in the acquisition of a house in this country. We can also verify the documents from a legal point of view so we can assure our clients of a safe purchase in this country. Contact us for more details.
 

Are there any banking fees in France?

 
Yes, most of the banks impose different fees, depending on the services solicited and used. Here are a few examples:
 
  • general admin fees for a bank account – around EUR 10 per year;
  • fees for debit and credit cards – around EUR 30-40/year;
  • about EUR 20-30 or more for international money transfers;
  • the use of ATM is mostly free of charge.
 
Please solicit us for legal advice and let us help you open a bank account in France.
 

Services provided by banks in France

 
Depending on the type of account held, one can benefit from various services provided by the bank. The most popular type of French bank account is the current one (compte courant), but one may also open savings accounts. It is also important to know that in France spouses can open joint bank accounts in order to keep their savings together. The bank will usually issue a card upon the opening of the account and will also provide overdraft facilities to those interested. Bank statements are issued on a monthly basis for a better control over the money. Banks may also offer insurance and mortgage services for those buying properties in France.
 

FAQ about bank accounts in France

 
1. How can I open a bank account in France?
You will need a copy of the ID or passport, a utility bill, a payslip, and complete legal support from our lawyers in France.
 
2. Can I open a bank account in France from overseas?
Yes, you can solicit our team of advisors to help you open a bank account in simple steps. You don’t need to travel to France for opening a bank account.
 
3. Can I solicit personalized banking services in France?
Yes, customers can solicit and receive tailored banking services in France, depending on their needs. Companies in France can also benefit from the services of a bank representative, on request.
 
4. How much does it cost to open a bank account in France?
There are no costs for opening a bank account in France, but there might be specific financial institutions that can ask for a small deposit. Fees for different bank services are imposed, so this important aspect needs to be verified.
 
5. When can I use the bank account?
Your bank account can be used right away, as soon as it is registered in the banks’ systems.
 
In other news, the business climate of France is appealing to foreign entrepreneurs who establish all sorts of companies, including banks. Here are some interesting facts and figures:
 
  1. There are about 266 private and international banks in France, plus other 300 credit institutions.
  2. The total FDI stock for France in 2021 was of around USD 997 billion.
  3. 32nd is the position of France among 190 economies in the world, as stated by the 2020 Doing Business report issued by the World Bank.
  4. Around USD 17,8 million was the total value of the greenfield investments in France in 2021.
 
If you want to move and set up a bank account in France in 2024, you can request the services of our law firm in France. You can also contact us in you want to open a company in France.