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Opening a Bank Account in France

 I Am in Strasbourg

Opening a bank account in France might be very useful, mainly to pay your bills (electricity, phone bill, rent, transportation, Wi-Fi) but also to simplify the process of getting your potential wages and healthcare. A French debit card allows you to take care of the majority of your expenses without having to carry big amounts of cash around.

Having a bank account is a right recognized under French law. A foreign student living in France can open a bank account in any bank they want. In Strasbourg, you will find numerous banks specialized in managing foreign students accounts around the Esplanade campus.

Comparing different bank options: The cost of the debit card, of international transfers and of withdrawals can noticeably vary from one bank to another. 

Three documents are necessary to open a bank account in France: 

  • An ID;
  • Proof of address;
  • A certificate of enrollment or a student ID

When opening a bank account, you will at least get a debit card. Thanks to your relevé d’identité bancaire, shortened RIB (bank account number), you will be able to easily set up direct debits for your different subscriptions.

If you encounter any difficulty opening a bank account, there exists a procedure called ‘’droit au compte’’ which means that the Banque de France will order a bank of their choosing to open a bank account for you. Find the details of this procedure, the necessary documents and associations offering assistance on the Banque de France website

 Before My Departure

Closing my bank account

When leaving Strasbourg and France, it's important to proceed with the closure of your bank account.

Before initiating the closure, remember to stop any standing orders and direct debits set up on your account. Transfer your funds to an account of your choice in your future place of residence or home country, but ensure you retain sufficient funds for any pending expenses (checks or card payments awaiting clearance).

To request the closure, you only need to send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to your bank. No justification is required.

The closure can occur at any time, but be aware that some banks may apply a 30-day notice period if stipulated in your contract. Check your agreement with your bank and plan accordingly.

Closing a bank account is free of charge.


Most French banks have branches throughout metropolitan France.

Therefore, if you are leaving Strasbourg for another city in France, inquire with your bank to check if they have a presence in your future place of residence and what the procedures are for transferring your bank accounts.