When you’re first getting set up in Paris, everything is interconnected. In order to open a bank account you need proof of housing. In order to get a cell phone plan you need proof of housing, and a bank account.. You get the picture. So it is helpful to knock out all these things as soon as you can, in the midst of taking in your new surroundings, starting school or a new job, and trying to make Paris your new home. There are several banking options, and during the beginning of the academic year (September) many banks will have introductory deals, and student bank account rates.
In order to open a bank account you will always need to present the following documents:
- Your passport / ID card
- Your residence permit/ visa (if you are non- EU)
- Proof of residence: telephone or utility bill in your name; a rent receipt; or a declaration by the owner stating that you live there, in combination with the lease.
However, sometimes you will be asked to provide:
- Proof of earnings or status: contract of employment, student card (or proof of enrollment);
- Financial status: the amount of money you have in other bank accounts;
- Birth certificate.
Banks differ in the services and products they provide. They might have specific products for students, or for those of a specific age. So it is a good idea to shop around and compare the different offers before opening account.
It is sometimes possible to open a bank account from abroad at certain banks. This is very convenient since you will need a bank account to make use of many services in France, so the earlier you open an account, the better. HSBC is an example of a bank that allows you to set up an account from abroad. Contact your local bank to find out about the possibilities.
Possible websites of banks to look at:
- LCL – I signed up with this bank when I first arrived. They have afordable student rates and deals. In France it is required to have housing insurance, I was able to get a deal for 1 euros a year for housing insurance with LCL.
NOTE: When you do open a bank account it is a good to open your account at a branch that is close to your house, work, or school. Bank operations in France are very branch specific, you can’t just go to any branch to do certain things like deposit money, or make changes to your account. So it is more convenient to open an account that is close to a location you can easily access if need be.