Open a bank account

Open a bank account

In short
Last update25 août 2022

What is it?

A bank allows you to keep your money in a safe place (wages, social benefits, social security reimbursements, etc.). Opening a bank account in a bank allows you to receive money and pay recurring expenses (rent, taxes, water, internet, transport card, etc.).

Good to know: For this process, it is strongly recommended to be accompanied by a French-speaking person.

Several payment methods are available with the opening of a current account: bank card, checkbook, direct debit, transfer . Be careful, the banker does not have to grant them all to you.

Through a checking account, you can also pay in cash, by withdrawing money at the counter of your bank branch or at an ATM.

Who is it for?


France entière


France entière

What to do?


Go to a bank agency

To open a bank account, you can go to the bank of your choice.

At the counter, you can request an account opening form. Using this form, you will be able to create a file and request the opening of an account.

This file will include:

  • The completed account opening request form.
  • A letter of request to open an account.
  • An identity document issued by the French authorities.

Complete the account opening request form

You must first complete an account opening request form.

Depending on your profile, your needs and your projects, the bank can offer you different formulas:

  • Youth account,
  • Professional account,
  • Paid account,
  • Specific account managed remotely ...

Good to know : Please note, some of these formulas may be chargeable. Do not hesitate to request an appointment with an advisor. Together, you can define a solution adapted to your needs.

In addition to this form, you will need to submit supporting documents.


Present your identity document

In addition to the form, you must present your identity document issued by the French authorities: valid residence permit or residence permit application receipt.

Expired documents will not be accepted under any circumstances. However, if your residence permit has expired, you can present a certificate proving the request for renewal of the document.

Good to know: Your residence permit must be valid and must include a visible photograph.


Submit your letter of request to open an account

In addition to your valid ID, you must submit a letter requesting the opening of an account.

This letter makes it possible to formalize the request to open an account.

This letter must have your signature clear and legible.


Wait for the validation of your file

Once your file is completed, you must present it to the bank. The average time to open an account is 15 days.

Good to know: Banks are based on the principle of "commercial freedom". This means that each bank has the right to accept or refuse a customer.

If the bank refuses your application to open an account or if it does not reply within 15 days of your application, you can ask the Banque de France for help. This free procedure is called the "right to an account".

For more information: click here to read our sheet "Accessing the right to an account procedure".

And after?

Several payment methods

You can request several payment methods from your bank:

The credit card

There are several types of bank cards:

  • The withdrawal card only allows you to withdraw from a cash machine,
  • The debit card makes it possible to pay for purchases directly with the money intended to fund the current account,
  • The credit card makes it possible to pay for a purchase either on credit or immediate debit, by withdrawing the money directly from the customer's current account.

The checkbook

Direct debit is an authorization given to a creditor to withdraw directly from the amount due from the bank account.

The transfer is an operation consisting in giving the order to his bank to transfer sums from one account to another account.

Good to know: Be careful, the banker can refuse to issue them, without justifying his refusal.

Through a checking account, you can also pay in cash, by withdrawing money at the counter of your bank branch or at an ATM.

Remember to check your accounts regularly

To avoid being "overdraft" (i.e. running out of money in your account), we advise you to regularly check your accounts using the online applications offered by the various banks.

Good to know: Being overdrawn can result in significant bank charges. It can also cause your checks to become invalid. A "bad check" can lead to the initiation of the banking prohibition procedure.

Receive your account statement

An account statement informs you of all transactions (withdrawal, deposit, transfer) made on your account during the past month.

The account statement is usually sent by paper mail, but you can choose to receive a statement by email.

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