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Is a French bank account really necessary?
Absolutely! While you may prefer the familiarity of your bank in your home country, having a French bank account will truly make your life a lot simpler while you're living here.
Many things in France require a French bank account, including:
- many landlords in Paris
- CAF housing benefits (all students may be eligible, regardless of origin)
- many mobile phone companies
- the Velib' public bike share system
In addition, transferring money (virements), making scheduled electronic payments (prélèvements), and getting reimbursed is extremely easy, and in some cases only possible with a French bank account. With your Carte Bleue (ATM card), making purchases almost anywhere in France and many places throughout Europe is fast, easy, and secured with a PIN code. Other examples of when having a French bank account is useful are:
- reimbursements from the Sécurité Sociale or mutuelle (French health insurance)
- monthly payments for gym memberships
- monthly cinema memberships
- paying your monthly metro/bus transport card
- e-payments for utility bills at home
- paying your renter’s insurance (required by law)
Finally, in France you can withdraw money from any ATM machine (even from banks other than your own) up to five times per month without a service fee. When traveling within the Euro Zone, life becomes a lot simpler when you use your French ATM card, which is also accepted almost anywhere major credit cards are accepted.
How do I open a French bank account?
To open a bank account, you should make an appointment with the bank of your choice and bring along the following documents:
- Pièce d'identité - national ID, passport or residence permit (a driver's license is not acceptable)
- Justificatif de domicile (proof of residence: phone or electricity bill, rental receipt, etc.)
- Carte étudiante - Your student ID card or certificate of registration from Sciences Po, to benefit from our partner offers
Until you have an established residence in France, you are welcome to use the address of Sciences Po's administrative offices: 9, rue de la Chaise - 75007 Paris
This temporary address may be used for your online registration, your medical insurance and other procedures until you’ve established residence.
Keep in mind however that this is a temporary solution, and you must be diligent about updating your address immediately upon finding your new home in Paris.
Important: Code TIN (Tax Identification Number)
As of 1 January 2016, OECD countries have adopted an interchange standard concerning banking information and foreign bank accounts. This new regulation applies to all French financial institutions.
When opening a bank account in France, students are now required to provide evidence of their Tax Identification Number (TIN). Students can obtain information on how to find their TIN through their consulate in France.
Are there benefits to opening a French bank account through Sciences Po?
Definitely! Several major banks in France also have partnerships with some of our main student associations, such as the BDE (Bureau des Elèves), the AS (Association Sportive), and the BdA (Bureau des Arts).
By opening a new bank account at one of these partner banks, you can get many advantages, including up to €100 free, deposited automatically into your new bank account!
Discover the offers from all of Sciences Po's partners by clicking on the "Partner Offers" tab above.