Banks in France
How to open a bank account ?
With most banks in France, you can open up an account in person at a local branch or online via the bank website. Branches are typically open around 9am–5pm Monday to Friday and close over lunch hours.
To open an account you will need:
An ID card or passport
Your residence permit (except for European people)
The proof of residence in France (electricity bill, rent slip, certificate of accommodation, etc.)
If you are a student : the photocopy of your student card
Which type of bank account should you choose?
There are three main types of bank accounts at traditional French banks. Here’s a quick overview of each of them.
Current account (compte courant) : most likely, this is the account you’re looking for. It's a basic bank account for everyday use. This allows you to withdraw money from the ATM, pay bills, and make purchases with a debit card.
General savings account (Livret) : this is a savings account that also allows you to easily transfer money in and out of your current account.
Long-term savings account (Compte à Terme or Compte d’Epargne Logement) : this savings account offers higher interest for those saving money for a house or another large purchase.
National French banks
There are several banks in France that have branches across the country. Here are the biggest and most well-known national French banks:
Banks with Spanish speakers
El CIC Iberbanco apoya a las comunidades ibéricas y latinas de Francia. Los empleados del CIC Iberbanco son trilingües (frances, español y portugues). En Lyon existe 3 agencias CIC IBerbanco :
CIC Iberbanco Lyon Saxe, 6 Avenue Jean Jaures, 69007 Lyon
CIC Iberbanco Lyon Bellecour, 25 Place Bellecour; 69002 Lyon
CIC Iberbanco Villeurbanne, 52 Cours Emile Zola, 69100 Villeurbanne
Banks with English speakers
Here is a list of French bank with English-speaking customer service :
You also can have a look of N26 : a neobank easy and quick to set up, with English-speaking customer service.
If the bank denies your application
If the bank denies your application once you are a resident in France, you can ask for a "lettre de refus" (the bank has to provide the letter by law).
If your financial history is respectable you can contact the "Banque de France" (with your letter of refusal, your ID and proof of residence). The bank of France will ask you to complete un "droit au compte" and will designate a bank that is obliged to accept you.