When transferring funds to or from France, you will require a French bank account in order to send or receive the funds. Having a French bank account will also allow you to set up Direct Debits to pay for your mortgage each month as well as a range of utility bills and other expenses.
France’s state-of-the-art banking system is every bit as good as other leading European countries, including the UK. Therefore, whichever bank you select, you can count on finding a large network of branches and ATMs that you can use across France, not to mention online services enabling you to operate around the clock. Some tariffs and charges may apply as far as some banks are concerned.
Notably, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, BPCE and Crédit Mutuel are among the largest financial institutions in France and all provide a wide selection of services, including mortgages.
Should you choose the first bank you see in France? Of course you shouldn’t. There are many considerations to bear in mind before making your selection.
An individual must meet at least one of the following criteria in order to be considered a resident:
You are entitled to open a bank account in France whether you are a resident or non-resident, even if you do not own a property in the country.
However, while residents have an automatic right to a bank account, non-residents do not. But those who do qualify are entitled to open a ‘compte non-résident’, which are governed by strict rules, such as the need to maintain a minimum deposit, and limits on the amount you may be able to transfer each month.
There several different types of bank account available, but the main ones you’ll be considering are:
In order to open an account in France you should make a visit to the local branch office of the bank of your choice and complete an application form, called a ‘mandat’.
The following documentation is required:
Presenting all these documents at once should ensure that the account is opened almost straightaway. A cheque book and ATM/debit card should follow within a few days, though most banks instantly provide a bank book to allow withdrawals even before the ATM/debit card arrives.
Most banks will not send cheque books and ATM/debit cards to overseas addresses. So if you do not yet have an address in France to send them to, they can either be collected from the branch or sent to trusted French address belong to a friend or relative.
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