For me one of the biggest worries about moving abroad was how I was going to set up a safe place for all of my phat internship wages to go into (haha). Setting up your bank account an integral part of getting settled in a foreign country, especially since there will be numerous occasions which may actually require you to have a bank account registered in your host country (e.g. mobile phone contracts, paying for accommodation, receiving your salary… all the important bits). There are a couple of options available to you which I’d love share, as the sooner you can get these horrible nitty gritty bits out of the way the sooner you can get on with enjoying your year abroad 🙂
Option 1: Britline
This is the option that I went for and I have absolutely NO complaints so far! Britline is a bank account from the French company Crédit Agricole, who make it fairly easy to set up a French bank account without being in France. My fab course mate managed to sniff Britline out and set up her account relatively easily, leading a few others of us to do the same (find her blog here!). The nice thing about Britline is that you can set up your account before you leave, meaning you have your account and debit card ready to go and it’s one less thing to sort out once you arrive. As a bonus, their advisors are bilingual English/French, so there’s no confusion with terms and conditions and if you’ve any questions it’s easy to get a straight answer.
Option 2: LCL – Le Crédit Lyonnais
Alternatively you can wait until you arrive in France, and then visit your local Crédit Lyonnais to set up a student account in France. This a tried and tested method by my two fellow British house mates who went into branch and opened a student account, needing a few documents and a completed form from our landlord. It took a few weeks for their bank cards to come through and they found it relatively simple, although one of my house mates accounts went into minus and she’s only just got her new card so she had a little more trouble! To open an account in branch my house mates needed to show their passport, then they were issued with a form for our landlord to complete to prove that they have an address, and they also needed a copy of a household bill and our landlords passport also. I expect this to be the same process with other French banks.
Option 3: La Banque Postale
Another on-line option is with La Poste, although unfortunately not a service that I am familiar with to give any sort of review! If you decide to set up your bank account online with La Banque Postale it may be worth sitting with your lecturer to apply for this bank account as the website is completely in French and it would be awks if you got something terribly wrong.
There you are, a fairly brief run through of how you might like to set up your bank account when you move to France! If you’d like to probe me some more about my experience or have another method yourself to opening a bank account in France, then please please let me know and let’s help out those about to begin their year abroad journey!