Open a bank account in France
We can assist you to open your bank account in France!
In principle it is possible to open a bank account in France without actually being in the country however there is a lot of paperwork involved and French banks usually require that you visit a branch in-person to complete the account opening process. Some French banks allow the shareholders/directors to finalize the paperwork without coming to the bank to sign but generally French banks favor face-to-face initial contact and will reject requests to open accounts from a remote location.
Foreigners that want to set up a business in France should be aware that there are several banking options in France and the fees vary considerably. Many French banks are willing to devise tailor-made solutions for foreign businesses in France.
For Individuals and Companies
Although the requirements vary from bank to bank there are a few standard documents needed to open any business bank account in France. Your paperwork, including utility bills and pay slips should be up-to-date. Documents that are in a foreign language must be officially translated or notarized. Some French banks will ask for your financial history or a one-on-one interview.
Check with your chosen French bank about their specific requirements for opening a corporate account but expect to show proof of:
There are many banks in France so you need to shop around and find the one that best suits you and your business. There are online options that suit business owners that don’t speak French or are living outside of major French towns. Compare the French bank fees and charges which may be different to what you are used to.
Britline is an Internet/phone-based banking service operated by the French bank Crédit Agricole. With Britline you can conduct your banking in English and open an account online or by phone before even arriving in France. This bank’s fees and documentation are available to the public in English.
BNP Paribas is a large high street bank offering a comprehensive range of traditional banking services including basic current accounts and savings products.
ING Direct is France’s largest Internet bank offering a wide range of banking services however you must be a resident in France in order to open an account. The application process is in French only.
What Non-residents Should Expect from a French Bank Account
As a foreigner living in France, your money management will be a lot easier if you have a French bank account. You can choose from a wide range of banking services including international banks operating in France. As France is a member of the EU it is possible to transfer funds between France and other EU countries without paying international transfer fees (where SEPA applies).
You will find that banking in France is more regionalized than in other countries like the UK. This means that services and fees vary from bank to bank and region to region. If you are not in one of the major cities then confirm your charges and fees as these can vary by region. Banking hours also vary according to their location; some rural bank branches close for lunch other banks in larger cities open on Saturday mornings.
Foreigners will also notice that French banks do not provide consultation and financial advisory services as in many other countries. The charging structures in French banks are also different from what you may be used to. French banks may offer “free” basic accounts but these often come with restrictions like a minimum deposit, charges for bank cards etc. Monthly “handling fees” are usually low in France unless your account is left inactive for an extended period. Many French banks have strict policies on dormant accounts.