(This article has been updated on 10/22/2022)
Whether you’re a new resident of France or if you intend on moving in the near future, the first thing that you should do is open a French bank account. It’s important to remember that even the cards that you used back home have daily international withdrawal limits, which can be inconvenient. Below we will discuss how to open a French bank account with the assistance of French language translation services and some of the most important tips to consider when opening a bank account in France.
Tip 1: Talk to Your Bank
Before you depart overseas, make an appointment at your local bank and determine if they work in coordination with other banks in France. You can also inquire about whether you can have any service fees waived if you open a certain bank account in France, in institutions like Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas, or Societe Generale. For example, HSBC is known to have an abroad partnership where you can open an international and local account. It will ensure that when you’re opening a French bank account, any transactions you will make with your previous bank and vice-versa will go smoothly.
Tip 2: Prepare Documents
In the event that your bank cannot help you overseas and you intend on opening a French bank account when you land in France, you will need a variety of pieces of personal information before receiving an account.
You must have all your official documents translated to make sure that it complies with public and private institutions in France. Ensure that you prepare the following documents: proof of identity, proof of residency, proof of home address, and a birth certificate. The document translation from French to English should be accredited by France’s governing bodies and ISO-certified. Not all French translation services can certify documents and provide certificates of translation accuracy that guarantee your translated documents are up to standards, so be sure to inquire about this before proceeding.
Tip 3: Finding English Speaking Banks
You would be surprised to learn that there are several banks in France that do not offer French to English translation services, which can be incredibly difficult for residents who haven’t grasped the language. It’s always preferable that you stick to the 4 biggest banks in the entire country, as they undoubtedly offer English to French professional translation for their customers. These French banks include CIC, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole, and BNP Paribas.
If you can’t find an English speaking bank, here is a short guide for opening a bank account in France:
Tip 4: How to Write a French Cheque
It’s because when you make bank transactions, like deposits and withdrawals, you are entitled to receive a monthly bank statement. If you’re still struggling with the French language, you can have it translated by a certified French translator specializing in financial translations so that you understand it thoroughly. Eventually, you will master the language after learning what information goes where. Writing future cheques will be easier than you could imagine.
“Payez contre cheque”: this section is designated for the amount of money you’re making the cheque for, you can choose to write the cents in either numbers or letters.
“€”: this is the spot where you’ll put the amount of money in numbers. France uses a comma instead of a decimal point, for example €40,20 for $40.20.
“A”: fill in the name of the person you’re making the cheque out to.
“Fait a”: fill in the place that you’re writing the cheque in, for example Paris.
“Le”: fill in the date that you’re writing the cheque.
“Signature”: sign your name in this spot.
As you can see, opening a bank account in France isn’t such a difficult task. If you still need help – shoot us an email!
For more details on online banking – check out our post on: Opening a French Bank Account Online.