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Opening a Bank Account in France for Expats

April 22 , 2021 by: Victoria Anderson

France utilizes some of the most reputable banks in the world, which offer a huge range of different services. The key here is that there are French banks which offer very tailored options specifically for expats and non-residents.

The French banking system is very region specific. While there are a few big name conventional banks you may have heard of, they are not quite as dominant as in other countries you may have visited. This is very dependent on which region of France you are moving to. In the more rural regions, you may find less options in terms of internationally renowned banks.

France is a part of the Eurozone, and therefore the local currency is the Euro. This should be considered as an option if this is not your native currency, and the implications of the FX rate (Foreign Exchange) if you are converting your native currency into Euro to enter into your bank account.

The biggest and most favoured national French banks are:

On top of the big banks, there are regional specific institutions around France. They provide a similar service to the main big banks, however, they are likely to offer less expat specific options. Therefore, it is always recommended to go to the bigger banks if available, unless you’re in a very rural area where you may only have small regional branches such as the below:

There are also your conventional large international banks that can be used too. These are likely to only be found in the cities, and most branches will have English speaking staff. These banks will also offer various expat specific options for your banking:

There are also some alternative options too. For example, it is encouraged in France to utilize online banking. This allows you to have access to your account and payments 24/7 as well as control everything from the palm of your hand. Some popular online banks used in France are:

Another alternative is using something called ‘Expat Services’. This is a service you can get in France which is available to all expats moving to France. They will look around the main banking providers for you in France and see what tailored services can be offered to you as an expat. This may include certain expat-specific benefits such as cheaper international money transfers, or multi-currency accounts. It is worth noting that availability of multi-currency accounts can be a big benefit to expats, which many of the online banking options can provide as a much simpler solution than conventional banks.

The process of opening a bank in France is no more complex than your native country. However, you just need to plan ahead and know your plan of attack for starting your account. Know which banks you would prefer to use, and book appointments in advance if necessary. You do not want to rely on cash only for any longer than you have to when first arriving.

 

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gralion torile
7 months ago

Some really fantastic articles on this site, thanks for contribution.