Expatriates in Paris
Posted at July 2, 2020

How to rent an apartment without a French bank account?

Rent an apartment in Paris
With no French bank account

 

For an expatriate who recently arrived in Paris, renting an apartment in France without having a French bank account can turn out to be quite an ordeal.
Since to open a bank account, you must provide proof of address, and that to establish your domicile, you must first attach a bank statement to the rental file, it makes it impossible!

Opening a bank account in France is relatively simple for a French resident, but this approach is practically impossible for an expatriate business comer since proof of address is mandatory.
By definition, INSEE tells us that "a non-resident can be a natural person, of French or foreign nationality, whose main domicile is abroad". https://www.insee.fr/fr/metadonnees/definition/c1741

Classic procedures for opening a bank account in France

 

In general, to open a bank account in a French bank, the applicant must provide several official documents proving his identity. Depending on the applicant's situation, the documents required to open a deposit account are:

  • a valid photo ID (identity card, passport, driving license, etc.)
  • proof of address less than three months (energy bill, rent receipt)
  • proof of income (last three payslips, retirement pension)

For people staying free of charge:

  • a handwritten statement from the host
  • proof of address
  • the identity of the host

For an expatriate who is not a French resident:

  • an official identity document with a valid photograph
  • proof of address
  • evidence of income that the bank is required to verify (origin of revenue, reported assets).

Any French bank in which a French resident or an expatriate wish to open a bank account can refuse the request with no valid reason other than the principle of contractual freedom.
If you get such a refusal, you can have recourse to the Banque de France insofar as you justify having a French domicile! After studying your request and with a favorable opinion, the Banque de France will designate a banking establishment in charge of opening your account.

How to open a bank account?

 

Once the essential elements for opening a French bank account are gathered, you have several possibilities. Some options may be more suited to your situation, especially if you want to open an account when no rental is in progress to justify your residence on the national territory.

Opening a French bank account in a physical agency

 

The majority of French banks offer the possibility to open a bank account directly with a bank advisor. These banks often have multilingual advisers and can provide assistance to expatriates in their own language. Advisers analyze your entire financial situation in order to provide personalized solutions.
Example: BNP on Boulevard Saint Germain where advisers speak English, German and Spanish. https://mabanque.bnpparibas/fr/nous-contacter/nous-trouver/agences-internationales/agences-paris-international

Once the bank account is created, the account holder can manage their account remotely via an application or on the agency's website. However, being physically present is essential for opening the account. So, for those expatriates who have not yet arrived in France, this option is not possible.

Opening a French bank account online
 

An online bank is necessarily linked to a traditional bank, so the offer is as qualitative as that of a physical bank branch and often has lower banking costs. Opening a bank account in an online agency is possible because most do not require their new customers to provide proof of address. Yet, to be consistent with the security rules of street agencies, online agencies ask for a RIB (relevé d’identité bancaire) from a French bank.
An expatriate can give his “bank details” ou “Bank account number” from his own country.

Opening a French bank account with a neo bank
 

By definition, neo banks are payment establishments with a banking license offering all of their services on 100% mobile access. These neo banks mainly provide free traditional banking products such as a credit card, a RIB, and all necessary banking operations, but they provide no insurance of any kind. Opening a bank account with a neo bank may seem "easier" for expatriates wishing to open a French account. These new banks have drawbacks: it is impossible to deposit checks or cash, and overdrafts are not authorized, even in force majeure. Thus the neo banking remains incomplete than traditional banking and is often more costly. https://www.jepargneenligne.com/neo-banque/banques-mobiles-comparatif-detaille-des-meilleures-offres/

Opening a bank account in Paris: the Paris Rental solution
 

Specialized in corporate furnished rentals for expatriates since 1987, Paris Rental has developed easy and rapid methods to help its expatriate customers getting a domicile. Paris Rental accepts international transfers for renting a furnished apartment in Paris, therefore establishing a lease for the expatriate client. Once provided with a French home address, the expatriate tenant can open a bank account with any bank.
Also, thanks to its privileged networks, Paris Rental can introduce their client to their partners and speed up the procedure for opening a French bank account.

Thus, we invite expatriates looking for an apartment in Paris to contact Paris Rental, who accompanies and advises its customers throughout the preparation of the rental dossier for a furnished apartment and facilitates banking procedures.
Similarly, our partner, GarantMe, can act as Guarantor for the rental of a Parisian apartment, when guarantees are not sufficient. With the promotional code "PARIS RENTAL," the guaranteed tenant gets an exceptional discount of € 35 on GarantMe service's costs.

Build your rental file
 

The prestigious Paris Rental real estate agency specializes in furnished rentals for Corporate Expatriates and International Companies. Since 1987, Paris Rental has welcomed and housed more than 20,000 expatriates from around the world. To become one of these happy tenants, here are our tips for a perfect rental file with owners of Parisian furnished apartments:

  1. Proof of identity
    A passport, an identity card or a driving license for French and European citizens + a visa for non-European citizens are required.
  2. Proof of income
    Three recent salary slips or if the position is less than three months, an employment contract. The Payslips (last three months) or an employment contract guarantees the future tenant's ability to pay his rent to the owner of the chosen apartment. A landlord is not legally authorized to request your bank account statement, but may request a bank's recommendation that you are a trusted customer. For those with freelance jobs, a resource certificate for the current year provided by a chartered accountant will do.
  3. A Reliable Guarantor
    Your Guarantor must be a responsible person, authorized to replace the defective tenant to pay his rent. The same guarantees will be requested from the Guarantor who will need to provide his identity card, his last three payslips, his tax assessment, and, possibly, his employment contract. The Guarantor writes a letter of guarantee in which he undertakes to pay for the tenant in case the latter is no longer able to pay his rent. The tenant's bank can also act as an institutional Guarantor for a fee. Finally, GarantMe offers a guarantee covering the entire rental to the owner, for his tenant (https://www.garantme.fr/);
  4. Proof of an old address
    The following elements are also good guarantees: Last three rent receipts (or owner's certificate serving as reference) of the last domicile, and recent dwelling tax.
  5. Proof of professional activity
    A work contract or an attestation from the employer indicating professional status, salary, and date of entry into the company are additional guarantees. For students, the student card or certificate for the current year is necessary, and for the self-employed, a copy of the INSEE identification certificate.
  6. Documents demonstrating your right to stay abroad
    It would be best if you had a temporary residence permit, a national card from a member state of the European Economic Area, or the European Union.

For more details on building a rental file, we recommend that you read the Paris Rental blog How to build a rental file”.

There are several ways for you to rent an apartment in Paris and open a French bank account. The most comfortable option is to contact a professional Real Estate Agency specializing in furnished apartment rentals to expatriate corporate clients.
With 33 years of experience in relocating expatriates to Paris, Paris Rental and its multilingual team will be happy to assist you during your search and through your installation in Paris, including opening a bank account.
Moving to Paris can be an easy and pleasant experience. Try us!

Credits Picture  @jeshoots

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