Bank Accounts in France

French Mortgages

France is in an increasingly popular destination for investors from the UK who are looking to purchase abroad. The country’s popularity is partly due to accessibility and partly to the comfort that British people feel with the French legal and financial structures.

Bank Accounts in France

Get a Free Quote Introduction to French Bank Accounts

Whether or not you obtain a mortgage from a French or English provider, it will still be necessary to open a French bank account. If you select a mortgage from a French provider, a French bank account will, in practice, become essential; but, it will still make life a lot easier even if you opt for an English mortgage provider.

Prime Differences with French Bank Accounts
The main difference to note with French bank accounts is that the treatment of cards is hugely different. Credit cards are used routinely in France, as they are in the UK, but banks will not offer a minimum payment option. So even if the payments are not made until the end of the month, it is still important to ensure that there are sufficient funds in the relevant account to cover the balance on the card.

Cheques are still commonly used in France, much more so than in the UK. There is no equivalent to the cheque guarantee card in France. Therefore, you will need to ensure that you have some proof of identity with you when you are paying by cheque. Always make sure that there is sufficient cash in the bank account to cover the cheque, as any bounced cheques could mean that you are entered onto the Banque de France blacklist which would have a negative impact on your ability to open further bank accounts.

Opening a French Bank Account
In order to open a bank account in France, you will require certain documentation. If you are not resident in France, you will require at the very least proof of your address in the UK. This can be a bank statement or a utility bill that is less than 3 months old. Some banks will ask for a letter of reference from your UK bank stating that you are resident at your current address.

It is possible to open a bank account in France without actually being in the country, although this normally means that you will have to provide additional identification such as a certified copy of both your passport and driver’s licence (or other similar identification) and two proofs of address, also certified.

What is a RIB
When opening a French bank account you will hear reference to the RIB, which is the relevé d'identité bancaire. This is a slip of paper that includes all the vital information for your bank account including the account number, sort code and the name of your relationship manager.

Summary
Bullet Point Opening a bank account in France is a relatively straightforward process and can even be organised remotely;
Bullet Point credit is dealt with very differently in France and it is essential to make sure that there are sufficient funds in the relevant account whenever a card or cheque is used as payment;
Bullet Point many French banks will also ask for a letter of reference as additional proof of identification from your UK bank.

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