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
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