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France: bank account for students

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Student Bank Account in France

Graduate studies are often a milestone in a student’s life: the time to learn to manage their budget. Opening a bank account in France can be very useful, especially to pay your bills (electricity, telephone, rent) and your subscriptions (transport, Internet).

You will also be able to collect your possible salaries more easily and have your health costs reimbursed directly. A French payment card also allows you to pay the majority of your expenses and saves you from carrying large sums of cash.

If you are coming to France, whether for a few months or several years, you will need a French bank account.

To start managing your money, it is essential to open your first bank account. The best solution for French and foreign students is to opt for a student bank, where they can benefit from tailor-made offers.

Besides, the procedure for opening a student bank account is very simple and requires very few supporting documents.

Required documents

Owning a bank account is a right that is recognized by French law. A foreign student who resides in France can open a bank account at any bank in France. The various banking establishments are represented in the majority of cities; just open the door of an agency and make an appointment with an advisor.

Therefore, three documents are necessary to open a bank account:

  • An ID;
  • Proof of address;
  • A certificate of education or student card

By opening a bank account, you will be entitled to a bank card and a checkbook. Thanks to your bank identity statement (RIB), you can easily set up automatic debits for your various subscriptions.

Choosing the right student bank

The best solution to make sure you choose the right bank is to compare the offers available on the market and compare them to your needs and expectations.

It is therefore important to select the bank that will offer an offer adapted to your needs. The most frequently cited motivations for opening a “private” account are accessibility. The interest rate, the cards offered, and services such as online banking.

First of all, you should know that most traditional banks have offers tailored to students. Indeed, they offer bank packs: these are adapted and cheaper formulas, which may vary according to your age group and which cover the entire period of your studies.

Some banks, like BNP Paribas, offer a student offer with special advantages, such as a free overdraft or even reduced fees. These formulas include several adapted services, which you pay via a periodic contribution (monthly, quarterly, or annually).

Why choose an online bank for students?

Online banks are ideal for foreigners living in France for a long time: in fact, they are the cheapest banks since most online banks are conditionally free. Besides, online banks accept everyone, regardless of nationality, as long as the few basic conditions are met.

Indeed, online banks offer cheaper offers than traditional banks, or even 100% free services.

The only downside is that they are not necessarily suitable for students: they do not accept first bank account openings, and sometimes have income conditions. To get around this problem, the solution is to subscribe to a traditional bank the first year and switch to an online bank the following year, using your RIB.

Also, this strategy will allow you to take advantage of student specials, which often have a limited duration of one year.

What if the bank refuses to open an account?

In the event of difficulty in opening a bank account, there is a so-called “right to account” procedure. The Banque de France will automatically appoint a bank that will be obliged to open an account for you.

Details of this procedure, the documents to be provided and the associations offering assistance are on the Banque de France website. You should know that you have the right to a French bank account according to the law. So if your request is refused by a bank, you can ask for a “letter of refusal”.

Bring this letter and the necessary documents to the Banque de France. They will select another bank and provide you with a “right of account” letter that will force that bank to accept your request.

How to open a bank account without student paperwork?

If you don’t like paperwork and want to open a bank account right away, go to one of the 4,600 licensed tobacconists across France and open a Nickel Account. All it takes is an ID, a mobile number, and € 20 as a one-time payment. The account gives you a Mastercard to withdraw money (€ 1 / withdrawal), make free transactions, and make and receive payments online.

How to open a bank account in advance?

Normally, it takes around 10 working days to access the services of a French bank account. So how can you be operational when you arrive in France? Some banks allow you to open an account from abroad. Britain (Crédit Agricole), La Banque Postale, and HSBC are the best plans for international students in France.

There are also several online banks, such as Boursorama, Hellobank, and Fortuneo, which offer sponsorship offers. In any case, it is better to bring a few euros and an emergency bank card for your arrival in France!

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