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Bank account for foreigners

Johannesburg, South...
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Bank account for foreigners

Hi guys,

I have a convention de stage (training contract) with one of the big 4 accounting firms and will be on secondment in Lyon for 3 months from January 2012.

I was wondering if it is possible for foreigners to open a bank account in france? I know that the UK is very strict on their banking requirements and do not allow foreigners to open bank accounts.

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Bank account for foreigners

For just 3 months, the extensive documentation and bureaucracy just isn't worth it.

Perpignan, France
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for Languedoc-Roussillon, Perpignan
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2. Re: Bank account for foreigners

"I was wondering if it is possible for foreigners to open a bank account in france?"

It is possible but conditions vary according to banks. I would ask the French company you will be working for in Lyon. In the meantime see www.labanquepostale.com and www.caisse-epargne.fr

They are the easiest to deal with.

Lyon, France
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for Lyon
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3. Re: Bank account for foreigners

Yes it is possible to open a bank account as a foreigner, but for a stay which exceed 3 months. For a shorter stay, it seems that Caisse d'Epargne and La Banque Postale only will do it. You need to be able to prove :

- your identity (passport)

- that you are legally in France (residence permit ? or your training contract ?)

- that you have an address in France (rent bill or electricity bill)

You will have a 8/10 days delay to get your account open, and you will pay somes fees : the check account is generally free but you pay for the credit card.

I second Pvoyageuse suggestion: you should ask your accounting firm rather than this forum as they probably have previous experiences with foreign trainees.

Berkshire, United...
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for Avignon
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4. Re: Bank account for foreigners

I'd be surprised if your accounting company didn't sort out arrangements for people on secondment. For a start you may not have a rental agreement and won't have an energy bill, which is what our banks demanded in the last few years. Unlike years ago when accounts could be opened easily, there are all the money-laundering problems etc to be overcome.

Hope you enjoy your 3 months experience, and hope you'll return here to report on your stay and how you managed about banks - very useful for others following in your footsteps.

Johannesburg, South...
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5. Re: Bank account for foreigners

Thank you for your responses.

Only-Lyon, which bank out of the two would you recommend more in terms of reliability and service quality? I would like to go with a bank thats reliable, accessible, and has good service quality.

My intention of opening a bank account in france is so that I can have an overseas euro bank account. I think it would come in handy for when I come back to France or Europe for a holiday or work plus also to avoid currency fluctations between the rand and the euro.

Gardengirlie, the accounting firm told me that they will not open a bank account on my behalf as we are only working there for 3 months, therefore they will be paying our salaries into our South African bank accounts. I would then have to incur costs foreign exchange gains / loss as well as transaction fees when I withdraw the cash from french ATM using my South African visa bank card. I'm sure they will recompensate me for the charges incurred, but that is still to be discussed.

I'm staying at Citadines long term rented apartment for 3 months which the company has paid for. I wouldn't be able to get an energy bill which could be a problem...But i think you are right, I will ask the firm for assistance anyhow to see if I can open an account privately, and not for the purposes of them depositing my salary therein, as that was not what was agreed on my contract.

Thank you!

Berkshire, United...
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6. Re: Bank account for foreigners

Both the Caisse d'Epargne and La Banque Postale are reliable, have many branches and seem to offer good service. They are to be found country-wide, so much can depend on how good the local staff are. We have several neighbours and friends who are with them rather than other 'proper' banks.

Good luck with your secondment and with your future French bank.

7. Re: Bank account for foreigners

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