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Moving PlannerFrench Bank Account

Looking for help setting up a French bank account? Then please see French Banking Made Easy with Paul Varley and Banque Populaire Méditerranée.

A French bank account is one of the starting blocks to getting your life in France off the ground. It's one of the basic things you need to do things like rent an apartment, write checks and so on.

It's possible for non-residents, for example an American using a US address, to open a bank account in France. It's even possible for it to be done from outside France, if you have someone represent you in France and that persons name is also on the account, not all banks will do this, some will refuse.

It's much easier to open a bank account in France if you are EU national, but not impossible if your not. You need to shop around and call each bank individually and see what they say.

When opening a bank account, the bank will want to know the purpose of the account. A letter stating the reason for the opening of the bank account can be demanded. You will also need to supply some type of ID and of course money. That's the short list. Like a lot of things in France the paperwork needed to open a French bank account will very from bank to bank and branch to branch. So to get a longer list you really need to contact banks individually and see what they say.

The types of French banks accounts very greatly. The basic is a checking account that of course lets you write checks. You will also receive with most accounts in France a debt card, called a carte bleue or CB for short. A CB is not a credit card, when you us it the money comes directly out of your account. Along with your CB you will receive a four-digit code. Every time you use your CB you will need to type in your code.

Inside the checkbook are Relevé d'Identité Bancaire's or RIB's. These are use for either direct deposit to your account or automatic withdraws from your account, for example to pay monthly bills.

If you write a check in France and it bounces your account can be closed and you could lose the right to write checks for a period of time. So be very careful when writing a check in France and make sure you have enough money in the bank or overdraft protection.

Also, it should be noted that once a French check is signed it's as good as cash and it is not possible to put a stop payment on it.

Related Links:
IBAN, BIC and SWIFT transfers explained
Opening a French Bank Account






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