While there tends to be a lot of paperwork, it is relatively straightforward to open an account in France, with different types of accounts available for permanent residents, students and non-residents. All citizens of EU countries are entitled to open a bank account in France, albeit with stricter terms and limitations.
Although most large banks are now adding more online and telephone banking features, visiting your local branch in person for most things is still the norm in France. To open an account, new customers will almost certainly need to take valid identification as well as proof of address, visa status and proof of employment.
One obstacle that can prove tricky for new residents is that most banks require proof of address to open a new “permanent resident” account, however all landlords also require proof of a bank account from new tenants. However most banks and letting agencies will have come across this situation before, particularly with newly-arrived expats.
You may need to make transfers from one currency to another. Most banks apply significant fees and unfavourable exchange rates to make currency transfers compared to dedicated foreign exchange specialists. MumAbroad has partnered with Clear Currency, the money transfer people, to provide a more efficient and better-value way to exchange currencies. Whether you need to make a large one-off transfer for a property purchase or are making smaller regular payments we recommend you give them a call. It is free to join with no obligation, they are FCA regulated, and offer competitive rates, a dedicated currency exchange platform, phone support and same day transfers across more than 35 currencies.
The majority of French banks close for several hours at lunchtime each day and are not open at weekends (although some do open until midday on Saturday), which can make life more difficult for those working standard hours during the week.
For more information and tips on moving to Spain, visit our useful step-by-step relocation guide at MumAbroad.com.
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