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The Best Way to Open a French Bank Account and Transfer Money to France

Posted on the 19 February 2019 by Forex News Shop @forexnewsshop

If you have a second home or are considering purchasing one you will be familiar with the array of means you can use when looking to transfer money to France. Services can vary from using over the counter retail banks transfer services to transferring money quickly via an online App. However, for those looking at making significant transfers to France it can pay dividends to speak to a specialist provider such as Currencies Direct. They have a strong knowledge of the French market and an excellent grasp of the process, notably when a property acquisition is part of the money transfer.

Setting an FX broker account will only take a few minutes and you can be sending funds internationally within hours. However beforehand you will have to tackle a French banking application which can be challenging when done from overseas. Fortunately, AXA Banque offers an English-speaking service allowing you to open an account from your current location before the purchase or relocation takes place.

Opening a Bank account – leading banks

Whether you are treating yourself to a city ‘pied-a-terre’ or a beautiful home in rural France banking coverage is comprehensive with leading banks having a presence in most small towns.

The leading French banks include Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Société Générale. These banks will offer many of the services required when moving to France including Mortgages, investment vehicles and insurances. They will however be very limited when it comes to advising on internal money transfers, and advices should be sought the moment you have an account open or find your future residence.

In order to open an account locally or via the English-speaking service provided by AXA Bank you will require the following as a minimum. Although please be warned requirements can vary with each branch setting its own parameters.

  • Photo ID – passport or photo ID drivers’ licence
  • Documentation on your residency status
  • Your address or future address – you can use a copy of your compromis de vente if you haven’t completed on your property transaction
  • In some cases, you may be requested to provide a cash deposit for the account or reference from your French employer

To qualify for a French bank account, you will have to fulfill the following criteria to be accepted.

  • Be over the age of 18 years old
  • Resident in a country where applications are accepted by the bank – many for example choose not to deal with those based outside of Europe.
  • Visit France on a frequent basis or are intending to purchase property in the near future

Releve d’Identite bancaire – French bank account details

From country to country bank details will change in format and different terminology will be used. However, add in a foreign language and banking internationally and it can soon become baffling. In France this is very much the case, fortunately the vast majority of French banks issue a check book and your account details can normally easily be located within this check book.

Your French bank details or RIB (releve d’identitie bancaire) can be passed on to your bank or international payments provider to send money quickly and easily to your account. Likewise, if your Notaire or French estate agent provides you with their beneficiary accounts these will almost certainly be provided in a RIB format and can be passed onto your international payments provider who can route funds within 1-2 days.

Why use an FX Specialist when Transferring money to France?

When purchasing a home in France seeking out the best advice is key, the same is true about finding the best way to transfer money to France. Whilst Banks can offer great general services making a large Euro purchase through them is the equivalent of having your Ferrari serviced at the local garage. Put simply they just aren’t equipped or set up adequately.

A specialist such as Currencies Direct can advise appropriately, the guidance on offer is based upon over 20 years of assisting 250,000 clients; the vast majority moving to mainland Europe, many to France.

In comparison to traditional retail banks a specialist international payment provider or FX broker can offer a number of favourable terms and benefits, improving your overall experience when transferring money to France.

Dramatically improved levels or service

Where as service levels in retail banks appear to continually deteriorate leading FX brokers and international payments providers continually look to improve. Many such as Currencies Direct offer intuitive online platforms, app’s and extended telephone dealing hours allowing you to trade at your convenience.

Whereas navigating a banks switchboard can test your patience, when you open an account with an FX provider you will automatically be coupled with an expert who will proactively manage your requirement. Many providers pride themselves on offering private bank levels of experience, offering excellent rates and incredible service.

Excellent rates coupled with transparency

The rates on offer from leading providers such as Currencies Direct are rarely rivalled by retail banks and the saving on larger money transfers can be significant. Supplementary to these great savings is the transparency offered by providers. Upon completion of a currency transfer you will be provided with a deal notification which will depict the base currency amount, the amount to be sent in France in Euros and the exchange rate you verbally agreed or booked online. Once the deal is done and funds have been sent the Euros will typically be visible in your French bank account within 2 days.

Opening an account with an international payment specialist

Whereas your application for a French bank account might take a while to be approved, opening your FX broker account will only take a few hours.

Your application can be submitted online and will take roughly 5-10 minutes subject to your typing speed. Typically, you will need to submit your address, an overview of your money transfer requirements and some personal details. In some case you will need to provide documents such as

  • Photo ID – a passport or photo driver license should suffice
  • Address proof that’s less than 3-month-old – Tax document, utility bill or bank statement will be accepted by many providers. Mobile bills almost certainly won’t.

Once your account is activated by your chosen provider you will be able to experience the difference in services levels and market knowledge offered by a specialist in this field.


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