French Bank Account?

We're looking to by a permanent in the Charente/Vienne region and during our visit next week we would like to open a French bank account. Can anyone tell me what we need to bring with us to do so?

Hi Sue we are with CA centre france, but suggest if you decide what place you are buying first so you open an account near to your new home, we found that most staff will converse in English if you try to talk french no matter how bad to them first, we have a village branch that is only open on a Wednesday and had to get head office to pay the balance for our purchase as they hadn’t the clearance for over 50 k! Also note we are only allowed 500 euro cash withdrawal in a rolling 7 day period unless we go in and ask the staff for cash , asked for 1000 euro once and they hadn’t got it! Had to go back 2 hours later when people had paid money in, best of luck, take a utility bill as well they require that on top of everything else, original not a copy,
Regards and good luck. Joe and Angela

Thanks, Peter, glad to hear it's not that complicated.

Starting the account locally will make life easier for you that's for sure. You can usea UK address (your son ?) or, the campsite or an address of a friend for mail to be delivered to etc etc It's nit as complicated as you may imagine Roger. There are various banks not too far away at Rochechouart.

As an update to this, I spoke to Britline who can't help us since regarding my son's address we will not have any utility bills in our name there. The helpful lady suggested we do it face to face in France.

The campsite owner will write that we are living there which of course we are on a 3month rental contract.

We will be living @ Champagnac-de-la Riviere so I guess we'll have to look for a good fairly local bank!

Nothing seems as simple as it might be so perhaps that's the reason for the existence of this network!

I know when I used to watch my lad play football for Langtoft St. Germaine on a Sunday morning, folks at work would ask if I'd been away on holiday I was so tanned. It was the 'fen blow'-the wind off the North Sea-boy that was cold!

Ooh, sounds nippy Roger, those cold northeasterlies straight off The Wash !

It's a bit coolish here this morning but at least there is no wind ! As a born & bred East Norfolk lad I can promise you I don't miss those blinkin' cold winds...

Thanks Veronique,

I think we're pretty well OK with that-we are using my son's as our UK address for bank accounts, log book address etc. According to the campsite owners lots of UK bods have done what we are intending to do without problem. We will only live in Hettie the Hymer until we've found a house in France.


It might be a bit complicated because a motorhome etc cannot qualify as a 'residence principale ' unless you have a document called a livret de circulation - have a look at this:

Source :
Extrait (page 16) :

<< Est-il permis de vivre en permanence dans un camping-car ?
Rien n'interdit de vivre continuellement à bord d'un camping-car. Toutefois, il faut savoir que celui-ci ne peut pas être considéré comme lieu de résidence principale
En conséquence, il faut soit conserver une adresse de domicile, soit faire établir un livret de circulation
Pour obtenir ce document permettant à son détenteur d'être rattaché à la commune de son choix, il faut effectuer des démarches auprès de la préfecture ou de la sous-préfecture dont dépend la commune choisie, en présentant une pièce d'identité, trois photos d'identité et des justificatifs de ressources (bulletins de salaire, titre de pension).
Commentaire :
Faute de conserver un vrai domicile, le mieux est de se faire domicilier chez un membre de la famille ou chez un ami, qui pourra éventuellement faire suivre le courrier.
Il faut savoir que certaines garanties d'assurance du véhicule, liées par exemple à un crédit de financement, peuvent être invalidées lorsque le camping-car est utilisé tous les jours de l'année. >>

Voir aussi :

Thanks Bob.

I'll ring Britline tomorrow BUT I think we can't meet their 'must be resident' requirement until we get to Parc Verger in Limousin since our only 'residence' is a motorhome!


Britline make it easy for non-resident to open an account, which is identical to their high st local banks in every way, but with English staff… very helpful… i opened my account in 2005 and it’s still active 10 yrs on, i do pay .60cents each month fees to use the account… i also have a locl account with credit ag- charente perigord… i run my house billing d/d from britlie, and other expenses from the local account… so i always have money in one, the french do like to “Fine” you for non payment of d/d… i made an error some time ago and EDF went for the money that wasn’t there, and fined me for failed transaction, then went again 10 days later and fined me again for failed transaction, the bank also fined me for not having the money and wasting their time. 50é lghter in the pocket. i learned the hard way…
Britline site says Livret A savings plan is open to non-resident, and is paying 1%… the gov have decided to maintain this rate for the time being… but each account holder can have 22k€ and it’s tax free interest… hope it’s of some use to you

Thanks, Peter, I will.

Slightly off topic, but I find the experience of temporarily full-timing in a motorhome fascinating.

We don't pay council tax & still get Winter Fuel Allowance that has exceeded our LPG top-ups. Interesting conversation with the TV Licence office-we'll only be at Tallington 'til my leg's better do you want our reg plate?! No just the address-we move next Wednesday to Canterbury for a few days but I won't bother with the address change.

However, my Mac sits on the dashboard & refuses to 'wake from sleep' 'cos it's so cold & on occasions my blood-sugar meter (insulin-dependant diabetic) refuses to work 'cos it's so cold!

My daughter bet son-in-law a tenner that before Christmas we'd buy a static caravan here. They're £60K & are very pretty BUT suffer massive depreciation!

I'm rambling so I'll shut up-can't wait to get moving....


I think most banks have very similar rates of interest depending on the type of account you open. None of the rates are brilliant, probably a bit like UK banks although some ccounts will give a bit more than others of course. Let me know if I can be of assistance with translating etc Roger

Thanks Peter.

The transfer company will happily hold our euros until we have a French a/c-I guess I was thinking the sooner I can get them into an interest earning a/c the better! All being well it will only be a matter of weeks assuming they don't burn the Tunnel...but still!


Thanks Howard,

Perhaps the campsite owner will say that we are resident there so we can open a bank account-I guess I got the carte thing wrong. We do & will just pay site fees-perhaps a kind of 'rent'.

Probably best to open an account in France Roger. Most towns have a selection of all the popular banks. As mentioned before on this thread banks like La Poste, Credit Agricole, BNP, Tarneaud, Credit Lyonnais etc etc are all pretty competitive nowadays.

Don't understand about the campsite owner issuing a Carte de Sejour ! I thought they were not required any longer ? You used to have to apply at the Prefecture.

Bon voyage


If you rent, you presumably have a rental agreement, which shows your address, so you show that. Your landlord's utility bill proves that the address exists. That's what happened in my case and the bank accepted this.

The French banks want your money like all banks but they are perhaps more pedantic in wanting proof that it's legit.

Incidentally, carte de sejour can only be issued by the government, presumably this means that the owner will provide some of the paperwork required. If you are Uk citizens, carte de sejour is optional.

Interesting discussion about opening a French bank account.

We are in a strange position since we completed our house sale in September 2014 & have lived in our Hymer Motorhome since due my #tib & fib in April 2014. So no utility bills.

We are using my son's address as our UK address until we can buy a French property. No utility bills there!

However, we've just done our £:€ exchange at €1.30 & need a French bank a/c for the euros. In early February we will be Hymering at a campsite in Limousin where I believe the owner will give us a carte de sejour.

Is CA Britline our best bet, should we wait until we land in Limousin to open a local account or is there a better plan? We do have quite a few euros to deposit.

(In UK banks seem to be falling over themselves to get you to open an account, but sounds quite different in France. We will keep our Nationwide Flexplus current account for € withdrawals & their Select Credit Card for purchases & internet banking.)



We moved in July 2014 to the Charente Maritime, did loads of research and decided with Credit Mutuel who have been very helpful with fast quick service and our own designated member of staff. The account was easy to open. I transfer funds from the UK via Transferwise straight into the bank and I have not found anyone that gets close to them in terms of rates and they are very fast. Good luck.

If you are with HSBC in UK you might consider HSBC France. You can manage both UK and French accounts together through Global View, which is very convenient. They have an English-speaking helpline. When I applied (on line) I was allocated an English-speaking account manager, in Limoges which is 100 miles away. I didn't find this particularly useful. My account is now with the Online branch (Champs Elysées) as the nearest branch is 40 miles away in Le Blanc and has reduced opening hours - the only drawback really is the limited number of branches. I have to pay in cheques by post, always a nailbiting experience.

We also have a Britline CA account - again paying in cheques is fun in our local branch because CA Normandie and CA Poitou Touraine are actually different banks. It would be far too easy if CA was a single bank with an integrated computer system, but no, it's more fun this way. CA provide a teeny plastic envelope and you use the machine to print a paying in slip (bordereau). Both the bordereau and the cheque hang out of the envelope even when folded and there's no way of sealing it. The package goes down a chute into the void. The only way for the money to reach your account is by a human being typing the details into another machine at CA Normandie. I have the horrors of the bordereau and the cheque becoming separated. ALWAYS write your name, address and bank account details (the one you're paying the money into) on the back of your cheque! Keep the receipt that's printed alongside the bordereau, and nag your account until it appears as much as three weeks later.