Basics of banking in France



Opening a Bank Account in France 

As an expatriate moving to France you can open a current account (compte courant) as a 'résident'. Documents required include your passport, residency permit (titre de séjour or carte de séjour) and proof of address (e.g. your telephone bills, electricity/gas bill, rent contract/receipt, etc.) including your name and address. 

Those of you who do not have proof of residence or a residence permit; you can open a non-resident account (compte non-résident). Both resident and non-resident accounts are similar in terms of fees and services; the only difference being that the bank may not issue a credit card or provide an overdraft. You can also open a savings account (compte d'épargne), but this does not give you a credit card or overdraft. Setting up automatic payments for utilities is usually more convenient.  

Compare the services offered by banks in France and the post office before you opt for one. Normal banking hours are 8:30-9:00 to 16:00-17:30 with some banks extending hours on one day a week, while others close for the day at 12:00-14:00. Some branches are open on Saturdays 9:00-13:00 in which case they are closed on Monday.

Post offices work Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 18:00-19:00, and on Saturdays between 8:00 and 12:00 except for the post office in the Rue du Louvre, Paris which is open 24 hours a day every day. 

Credit Cards & Cheques in France 

Credit cards are popular in France and are widely accepted in shops and restaurants with Visa or MasterCard being generally accepted everywhere. American Express and Diners Club cards are not accepted everywhere except in up market hotels and restaurants or shops in tourist areas. Using a credit/debit card if it is from another Euro-zone country does not attract additional charges for payments and withdrawals in France. 

Cheques are widely accepted in France and it does not cost you anything to pay.

ATM's in France 

ATM machines (distributeurs/guichets automatiques) in the country can be found at most shopping centers, train stations, bank branches, post offices, train stations, airports and are accessible 24 hrs/day. Most banks charge a commission on withdrawals, especially if it is from the network of another bank.



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Banking Guide