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Important information

Target audience

AudienceAsylum seekers, Statutory refugees, Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, Beneficiaries of temporary protection, Stateless people, French citizens


Free of charge


Be in possession of a residence permit or a receipt

Where is it?

Open a bank account

Updated on il y a un mois

What is it?

An account in a bank allows you to receive money (salary, financial aid, social security reimbursements, etc.) and to pay regular expenses (rent, taxes, internet, transport card, etc.).

Thanks to the bank account, you can have a card to withdraw money in cash, pay in stores or on the internet.

It is advisable to ask a French-speaking person to help you with this process.
You must be an adult or an emancipated minor to open an individual account on your own.
If you are an unemancipated minor or protected adult, you must have the authorization of your legal representatives (parents or guardians) to open an account.

How to do it?

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.

At the bank counter or on its website, you must complete an account opening form . Following this form, you can prepare your file with:

  • The account opening request form,
  • A valid identity document:
    - Identity card or passport,
    - Residence permit with a visible photograph (resident card, residence permit),
    - Receipt for renewal of residence permit application.
If your residence permit has expired, you can present a certificate of renewal request (for example, a certificate of extension of instruction (API) or a certificate of favorable decision).
  • Proof of address less than 3 months old (internet bill, telephone, electricity, water, gas, rent receipt or property title)
  • OR a certificate of accommodation if you live with another person (with an identity document from the person hosting you and proof of address in their name less than 3 months old).
  • An electronic signature deposit: you must deposit your signature which will be recorded by the bank.
Some banks may ask you for your employment contract to find out if your income is regular, that is to say if your salary will arrive each month in your new account. It is also possible that banks will ask you for your tax notice.

When your file is ready, you must bring all the documents to the bank. The average time to open an account is 15 days .

If you made the request on the bank's website, you must also wait around 15 days.

Banks work on the principle of “commercial freedom”. This means that each bank has the right to accept or refuse a customer.

If the bank accepts

If the bank agrees to open an account for you, it will confirm this to you by email and post. It informs you of the conditions of use of your account and you then sign the bank account agreement (contract between the bank and you, from opening to closing of the account).

As soon as your account is officially opened, the bank sends you:

  • a RIB (bank identity statement) to receive or send money
  • the identifier to connect to your personal space online or on the mobile application
  • the means of payment (card, checkbook, etc. see below).
Consider downloading your bank's app.

If the bank refuses or does not respond

If the bank refuses to open an account for you or if it has not responded to you 15 days after your request, you can benefit from the right to have a bank account and file a file with the Banque de France. This free procedure is called the “right to account” .

To read: the Réfugié sheet “Apply for the right to an account”

It happens that the bank opens a savings account instead of a current account. The booklet also has a RIB and generally a withdrawal card (not always payment).

What happens next?

You can request several payment methods from your bank.

Please note, the bank advisor may refuse to give you certain payment methods.

The credit card

There are several types of bank cards:

  • The ATM card only allows you to withdraw money in cash from an ATM. You can't pay with it.
  • The debit card allows you to withdraw money and pay directly with the money in the current account. The debit is immediate, this means that the money is taken from your account the same day.
  • The deferred debit card allows you to withdraw money in cash and pay with the money that is in the current account. But the debit is “deferred”, that is to say staggered: all payments are accumulated and the money is taken in one go at the end of the month.
  • The credit card allows you to pay with money lent by the bank (you must then repay this money to the bank).

The checkbook

The check allows you to pay with money in the current account.

You must write the amount you want to pay (in numbers and words), write the order (the name of the person or organization to whom you are paying), and sign.

Do not forget to write the same information on the small piece of paper you keep.

This method is used less and less in stores and administrations, but sometimes requested for deposits and guarantees.

Direct debit

It is a payment that you authorize directly from the current account, without using any other payment method.

It is a method often used by businesses and administrations, for example to pay rent, internet package, taxes, etc.

You must first sign a SEPA direct debit authorization, to authorize a one-off (once) or automatic (regular, every month) direct debit.

The transfer

It is a payment between your account and another account, without using any other payment method. Before making a transfer, you must record the RIB of the other account in your transfer “beneficiaries”.

To avoid being “overdrawn” (i.e. no longer having money in your account), it is necessary to check your account regularly:

  • on the internet in your personal space
  • or on your bank's mobile application.

The overdraft generally appears in red with the words "negative balance".

Each time your account is overdrawn, you must pay bank charges that are taken directly from the account (these charges are called " agios" ) and your checks may bounce. A “bad check”, i.e. no money in your account, can result in a banking ban .

If you see direct debits that you don't understand, do not hesitate to contact the bank.

An account statement allows you to know all the actions (withdrawal, deposit, transfer, direct debit) on your account during the last month.

You receive it by mail, but you can request to receive it by email. You can also download it to your personal space on the internet or to your bank's mobile application.

You must keep all account statements for at least 5 years.

If you want to change banks, you can use the bank mobility assistance service .

Your new bank is responsible for carrying out the administrative procedures with your old bank.

Everything is explained here .

You will have a new RIB.

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