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Opening a French bank account

Opening a French bank account

Old Oct 21st 2020, 5:18 pm
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Question Opening a French bank account

Hello, hope you are all well and stay safe in this second COVID wave.

I finally made my move to France and did everything I can - at least I feel - to prepare and set things up. I find myself in an chicken-and-egg problem when it comes to open a bank account in France.

I have made application to HSBC France when I am in the UK, and after this long process to submit documents etc, now they wanted me to provide a utility bill of the French property I am living in - this is the exact reason I am needing a bank account in order to register my name on the utility bill.

I checked the FAO information, and it has not been updated since 2015. I am just wondering if there is any advise or update about opening a bank account please?

Many thanks
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

There are various options and opinions as far as French banks are concerned on here. For our part we opened a Britline account, an English speaking subsidiary of Credit Agricole, which allows you to open a French account using a UK address and UK utilities statements. There are no branches and everything is handled via the internet or by phone. We have held the account for 2 years now and have always found the them easily available by phone, the advice has been sound and they have helped us with anything we needed. The standard costs are comparable to the other banks as far as I can see, I haven't looked at anything like mortgages.
Many on here prefer a local branch and a local manager and have the relevant level of French to handle the complexities. For our part we are extremely happy with our choice.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 5:47 pm
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

I just reread your post and suspect that my advice is useless if you have already moved to France and cut your ties with wherever you lived before. Others here will have more relevant input and should be along shortly.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 5:58 pm
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

Britline.is certainly one option.
Another option is to toddle in to one of the banks in your nearest town, tell them you would like to open an account and ask if you can make an appointment.
If there are several banks in your nearest town, choose which you fancy - look at their websites, ask the neighbours, read reviews.
La Poste also does bank accounts.
That's what I did, in fact I opened an account with the local Credit Agricole branch before I moved in. All I had was a copy of the compromis de vente, not even the acte, but they were happy with that - plus of course several months of UK bank statements etc etc etc.
I'm saying that because I like doing things face to face but if that doesn't bother you particularly, do as Alianco suggests
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 5:59 pm
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

Hi Alianco,

many thanks for sharing your experience. It is helpful because I was a bit in doubt with the Britline bank. I will certainly look into that.


I have made my move to France, literally yesterday and got the call from HSBC which I have deal with them for a couple of months just trying to open a bank account. This new requests confuses me as I have talked through my circumstance to them in particular with the utility bills.

thanks for you advice again
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 6:07 pm
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

I was just wondering why you want to use HSBC,, when there are so many French banks in France?
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 5:44 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

Definitely follow EuroTrash’s advice and do the rounds of your local French banks.

Have you signed a rental contract (un bail)? Take lots of documentation with you. UK bank statements maybe, to show you’re solvent.

Another option which has received very favourable mentions on this forum is the Transferwise Borderless account. It might do as a stopgap until you get a French bank account set up.

Courage!

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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 7:33 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

I would add the Caisse d'Epargne to the list of local banks. Nothing against La Banque Postale, but when La Poste is on strike, the counter is also closed. FWIW and without wishing to denigrate the Crédit Agricole, we transferred all our accounts from them to the Cd'E long ago, purely because the Manager and staff were more customer-friendly and less robotic... My Conseiller even filled in my Déclaration de Revenus this year, for nothing....
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 7:40 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

I'm having a terrible time with HSBC France right now - customer service and their competence is appalling, although I suspect in part it's down to the particular branch that I have to deal with.
I would also add that Caisse d'Epargne is a good bank, as is banque tarneaud.
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 8:28 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

I started asking questions on this forum long before my wife and I moved to France and read every thread in case there was something in there I could use (I still do). From all the threads I read on banking, including one or two I started myself, the vast majority are happiest with their bank if the staff in their local branch are welcoming and competent no matter the bank itself. Were I to want to open an account again I would base my decision on how I felt I was treated when I walked in.
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 8:55 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

Hi again. Having reread an earlier thread, I'm wondering whether a high street bank would accept to open an account for a (non-French) person living at a friend's address?
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 9:24 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

deleted - no longer relevant in the light of dmu's comment. Would be nice if posters gave relevant info...

Last edited by EuroTrash; Oct 22nd 2020 at 9:41 am.
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
Hi again. Having reread an earlier thread, I'm wondering whether a high street bank would accept to open an account for a (non-French) person living at a friend's address?
Good point.
If you already had an account and you moved in with a friend, they would likely require an attestation d'hébergement from your host along with the usual - copy of ID, utilities bills in his name at that property etc - in order to do a change of address.
But whether they would set up a new account on that basis is less sure. To comply with money laundering and KYC regulations they need verifiable proof of address before accepting anyone as a new customer.
I thought when this was discussed earlier you were going to set up a rental contract for you to occupy the property "à titre gratuit", did you do that? If you have, I would think that should satisfy a French bank.

Last edited by EuroTrash; Oct 22nd 2020 at 10:00 am.
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 10:25 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
But whether they would set up a new account on that basis is less sure. To comply with money laundering and KYC regulations they need verifiable proof of address before accepting anyone as a new customer.
I thought when this was discussed earlier you were going to set up a rental contract for you to occupy the property "à titre gratuit", did you do that? If you have, I would think that should satisfy a French bank.
The OP didn't give any feedback at the time. Now that he's here, maybe he can elucidate, so that we can give advice relevant to his situation?
(And some feedback would be welcome on his non-EU partner's UK-residence/employment status, and whether a separate rental contract à titre gratuit would be made between the friend and her? We can't know whether they've got married meanwhile....)
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Old Oct 22nd 2020, 10:46 am
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Default Re: Opening a French bank account

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
(And some feedback would be welcome on his non-EU partner's UK-residence/employment status, and whether a separate rental contract à titre gratuit would be made between the friend and her? We can't know whether they've got married meanwhile....)
Is the partner relevant? As I understood it, she needs to stay UK resident for now. I imagine having the right to reside in the UK will allow her to spend 90/180 as a tourist in the EU if she wishes, without the right to work in France. If in the future they want to get married while the OP is resident in France, that will be a separate issue.
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