Commercial Banks

Here are the major French banks that you can find easily in Paris

This list is non-exhaustive. Other prominent banks include : Crédit du Nord, CIC, La Banque Populaire and La Banque Postale among many others. Also consider an exclusively online savings account, such as ING Direct.

There are also a number of International banks with outposts in Paris. Again, the following list in non-exhaustive, but here are a few major ones:

Opening an Account

Here are the documents you will need to provide in order to open an account:

A photo ID: meaning passport, (French) driver’s license, or your carte de séjour.

A proof of address: this means either your most recent EDF bill (with your name on it), your rental contract, an attestation d’hébergement, your housing insurance, or your quittance de loyer.

A proof of residency: this would be your carte de séjour, European ID card, or any other visas.

These documents will allow you to open a checking account (un compte courant) and a savings account (un compte d’épargne or livret A).

Opening an account is pretty simple, but if you feel a bit uneasy speaking to your banker in French, or if you’re not 100% sure if you’ve got the right docs, then try one of the following banks that have an English speaking staff who are familiar with expats wants and needs.

Crédit Agricole
Espace Diderot
20, rue Hector Malot
75012 Paris
(metro: Gare de Lyon)
Tel: (+33) 01 44 73 30 00

Crédit du Nord
Agence Clientèle Privée Internationale
59, boulevard Haussmann
75008 Paris

CIC Banque Transatlantique
26, avenue Franklin Roosevelt
75008 Paris
(metro: Franklin Roosevelt)

Of course, the big international banks in Paris usually have brochures in English, but not all of them provide special services to expatriates.

International Bank Partners

Your bank in your home country may very well have a partnership with a French bank. This is good to know. Depending on the terms of the partnership, you can sometimes transfer money between the two banks without paying extra fees, or withdraw from an ATM without the steep foreign transaction charges. Check with your home bank to see if there are any such partnerships. (Note to Americans: Bank of America and BNP Paribas have one of these partnerships).

Banking Online

Sam and Brenna do the vast majority of their banking online—by and large all major French banks are set up for standard Internet access. They also have bankers that they can choose to see as often as they would like.

Online-only banks are catching on in France. Every year, it seems a major bank opens a special online-only branch. If you already have a French account in a brick and mortar bank, ask your banker to see if they have an online incarnation. If you’re interested in opening an account in an online bank, here are a few available in France:

Closing an Account

There is no charge for closing a bank account in France. Generally, you meet with your banker, and you give him your new bank’s information—usually in the form of a RIB. A French banker friend of Brenna and Sam reminded us that most banks will try and find ways of low balling departing clients (for example, making clients pay a fee for closing an account). Remember that it is your money. Don’t be afraid to negotiate or to flat out refuse anything that seems fishy.


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