In France, having a bank account is necessary to receive a salary. Opening an account makes it possible for you to receive money (grants, financial aids, wages…), to make payments, to withdraw money…
To open an account, you usually only have to go to the bank of your choice with your ID and a proof of residence. The obligation to “give access to basic banking services” makes it compulsory for banks to open an account for a person who requests it, as soon as they live in France (even for undocumented immigrants). Nevertheless, if the bank refuses to open an account for someone, it is possible to contact the Banque de France for assistance in this procedure.
Banking services vary depending on the bank. SEPA bank transfers (inside the European Union) are usually free when made online but international bank transfers come with a cost (between 0,1% and 1% of the transferred amount).
In France, it is also possible to open an account in a tobacco shop. The Nickel offer provides you with an account, a bank card and an IBAN for 20€ a year: for more information, go to compte-nickel.fr (website in French only).
Online banks ask for a French IBAN to open an account. In that way, they can check the identity of the client. For this reason, foreigners who don’t have a French account yet can’t open their first account in an online bank.