Bank­ing on a new life

A French bank ac­count is es­sen­tial if you’re plan­ning to buy a prop­erty in France or live there. Lau­rent Galy ex­plains what’s what in the world of per­sonal bank­ing

Living France - - Les Pratiques -

Whether you’re mov­ing to France per­ma­nently, pur­chas­ing a sec­ond home or in­vest­ing in a prop­erty, it’s prefer­able, and most of the time es­sen­tial, to hold a bank ac­count in France.

Peace of mind is what we’re all look­ing for; know­ing that our util­ity bills and mort­gage will be paid on time. On top of that, we just want to get on with en­joy­ing la belle vie in France. Even in­vest­ing in a lease­back scheme or some­thing sim­i­lar can be made eas­ier and more has­sle-free when you hold a French bank ac­count.

OPEN­ING AN AC­COUNT

Set­ting up your bank ac­count can be a very sim­ple process and in some cases you don’t even need to leave the UK to get one or­gan­ised. Once your ac­count has been opened, the bank will give you your relevé d’iden­tité ban­caire, or ‘RIB’, which you’ll soon be­come very fa­mil­iar with.

This doc­u­ment gives you all of your bank de­tails, in­clud­ing your in­ter­na­tional ac­count num­ber (IBAN). When get­ting your­self es­tab­lished, you’ll need this RIB to get di­rect deb­its set up with util­ity com­pa­nies.

Most util­ity bills can be paid by set­ting up di­rect deb­its, as in the UK, but there are al­ter­na­tive meth­ods too, such as the ‘ TIP’. You’ll see the tear-off slip on the bot­tom of your bill, and you just need to sign this and send it back to the ser­vice provider with a RIB (there it is again!) and a one-off pay­ment will be deb­ited from your ac­count. This is a good way of keep­ing an eye on how much you’re pay­ing for your bills.

For those ev­ery­day needs while in France, you can ap­ply for a card and cheque book when set­ting up your ac­count. You’ll find Visa and Master­Card debit cards in France, and they

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