Buying French Real Estate: How to open a French Bank account and definition of special terms

When you are buying French real estate you will most likely be asked by your French bank to open an account. The benefit of having this account is that services you will use for your French property like electricity, gas, telephone and internet are typically all paid for in France by an automatic bank transfer each month – a direct debit. The document the bank will give you to set up this payment is called a RIB  which is Relevé d’identité Bancaire

To set up a French bank account in general you will need the following documents: (you will need to verify at your bank of choice)


Official proof of identity with your photograph and signature, for example, a passport, an identity card or resident card


Proof of address which is typically a phone bill or another utility bill but if you are opening a French bank account to pay your phone bill or utility bill then typically you can use a copy of a property rental agreement to show you live in France or get a letter from a friend you are living with long term to show you have residence in France. Again, you will need to check with your bank of choice.

Some Extra FAQ with answers

What is a compte courant? this is the French term for a current account

What is a compte d’epagne? this is a French savings account

What is a Livret A? this is a French tax free savings account

Don’t be surprised if you get to the bank and they tell you that they need more documentation since your French bank may have slightly different rules.

If you are looking for guidance to find a bank that has English speaking services you can contact us and we will do our best to help you find one. Contact us.


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