As you might have already experienced, French bureaucracy can be an absolute nightmare – un vrai cauchemar ! , as the French would say. It is especially difficult to open a bank account as a foreigner. Apart from a language barrier, and a million documents that get thrown your way, you might simply be denied access to one should you only stay for a limited amount of time. But not to worry, we at the Babylangues office have got you covered! This guide will present you with multiple options that are available to you, and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each!

We have chosen 4 options that are popular amongst our instructors. Some of them you might already know of, some might be new to you. However, there are of course many more options out there and we will try to assist you to the best of our ability with each of them.

On that note, happy spending in France!

The Babylangues Team

1) Open A French Bank Account With Bnp Paribas (Paris)

Should you wish or need to open a French bank account, Babylangues will support you and guide you through the process with our local BNP branch in Paris!

How It Works

You will have to go to our partner branch of BNP in central Paris. It is easily reachable by public transport, and it is THE ONLY BRANCH where our partnership is in place. If you would like a map, we can provide you with one per email.

  • Address: 10 Rue de Rivoli 75003 Paris
  • Metro stop: Paris Saint Paul (line 1)
  • Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00 during weekdays (it is closed on Monday!) | 9:00 – 16:00 on Saturday | closed on Sunday

The best way to swiftly and smoothly open your account is to walk into the branch and make an appointment in person. Don’t forget to mention that you work with Babylangues!

What You Need

The Babylangues Banking Guide


In order to open an account, you will definitely need:

  • (a copy of) your passport
  • (a copy of) your proof of address

You might also need (but NOT necessarily):

  • a residence permit
  • proof of income (for example, a pay slip or tax notice)
  • your three most recent bank statements
  • a foreign tax identification number

No address yet?

If you are based in Paris you do not have a permanent address yet, Babylangues can provide you with an attestation de domiciliation and our K-bis so you can use our office address to open your bank account!

  • Please note that this only works in the BNP branch (see above) where we have a partnership in place
  • You will need to be officially matched with a family and have sessions planned in order to be eligible for this.
  • If you would like to do this, please request it by emailing or calling our office: 01 42 74 23 34.

I have a permanent address – what does my proof of residence look like?

You will need to have signed an official contract or lease and bring this as your proof of residence. If you are, for example, staying with a family, this will not be possible for you. However, in Paris, Babylangues can provide you with the attestation de domiciliation as mentioned above!

What Is Available

  • The cheapest account which can be cancelled at short notice comes with a 20€ opening fee.
  • Want more information? There are lots of other options on the BNP Paribas website. They will likely go over them with you in your appointment. Most of our instructors opt for the 20€ account, however.
  • Here is their website:
  • Don’t forget to CLOSE your bank account at the end of your stay!
  • Should you not be based in Ile-de-France, the process of generally opening a bank account will be similar, and you will require the same documents.

BNP PARIBAS – the summary

– Your bank account will be from a French bank with a French IBAN and RIB

– If you encounter any problems, you can simply walk into a branch!

– We can help you should you not have a permanent address yet (only in Paris)

– There is a lot of choice concerning different accounts and benefits.
– Despite all efforts, this is a lengthy bureaucratic process

– You might encounter fees if you wish to transfer money from your home country

– It is unusual, but French banks can reject your request to open an account.

– It is usually not expensive but also not free

– Difficult to do without a permanent address!

2) N26: The Mobile Bank (based in Germany)

N26 is an online bank that skips all the hassle of setting up a traditional bank account.
Please not that we are not affiliated with N26 in any way, this is simply one of the options that are out there!

The Babylangues Banking Guide

All information about N26 can be found on their website:

  • N26 are official bank operating with a full European banking license based in Germany
  • They currently have over 3.5 million customers across 26 markets
  • The N26 standard account is free and comes with a free Mastercard Debit Card accepted worldwide!
  • It is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator and meets all European regulatory requirements. Funds up until 100.000€ are protected.
  • N26 has many features to ensure data protection.

How It Works

You put in your personal details, confirm your email, and put in your shipping address and select the type of account you want on their website

the standard account is free, there is also N26 You and N26 Business for which you need to pay

You proof your identity by scanning your identity document in the N26 app and connect your smartphone to your new account

As a new signup, you’ll be able to top up your bank account via Bank Transfer

After a few days, you will receive your N26 Mastercard per mail.

What You Need

  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • You are a resident of a supported country (in this case, France, so make sure to put your FRENCH ADRESS).
    • You can use the address of the Babylangues office should you not have a permanent one.
    • Please note, however, that you need to put a correct delivery address. If you put our address as your delivery address, your card will get sent to our office in Paris.
    • Should you wish to do that and pick it up from the office, YOU NEED TO email and let them know!
    • Please note we cannot forward ANY post sent to us. You will have to come in person/send a friend to come and pick it up!

What Is Available

For a standard account, you have the following benefits:

  • Free Master debit card and no opening or maintenance fees.
  • A certain number of free ATM withdrawals in euros
  • Free payments in any currency

Free App where you can set daily spending limits, lock or unlock your card and reset your PIN anywhere in the world.

  • You can also use the web application on a computer or other device.
  • You can chose your own PIN and password
  • Free, instant, real time bank-transfers
  • No minimum deposit or income required
  • 24/7 web support including Sunday and Bank holidays
  • If you wanna know more, check out their website! (link above)

N26 – the summary

– It is incredibly easy to set up, you can do it from home, and it is done in 10 min – no bureaucratic hassle

– Everything you need is accessible via your phone and a computer or other device

– You can use the many app features to budget effectively

– No exchange rate

– You don’t need to close your account at the end of your stay

– It is FREE
– There is no physical branch you can go to

– You will not get a French IBAN, it will be a German one.

– It works perfectly fine, but you need to verify with your employer etc.(any person who sends you money) if they need a French IBAN (Babylangues does not)

– If you are unfamiliar with apps, modern smartphones etc., this might not be for you!

3) Revolut: Another Mobile Bank (based in The Uk)

Revolut and N26 are both convenient mobile banking options.
There are some differences between them, which you can see down below.

The Babylangues Banking Guide

As we simply highlight what options are available, Revolut is another mobile bank that is an option to open a bank account!

The website for Revolut is linked here:

  • Revolut (contrary to N26) is NOT a bank, it is an ‘Electric Money Institution’ and is based in the UK and Wales
  • It has over 400 million users
  • It is authorized in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations. Any money you deposit has to be ring- fenced, which means if there are any problems your money should be safe.

How It Works

  • The set up process for Revolut is pretty much similar to N26 and happens via their app.
    • You will, however, need to transfer either £10 or 10 euros.
  • The main difference is that Revolut will charge you a £5 delivery fee for a physical card.
    • They also offer a free virtual card.
    • Check out their website for more info!

What You Need

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You need to be a legal resident in the EEA, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland or the USA (again, in your case, you are a resident in France!)
    • The same Babylangues policy concerning postage as for N26 applies!
  • You verify your identity by taking a picture of a valid government-issued photo ID (for example your passport).
    • They might need your visa or residence permit
  • You need a compatible smartphone

What Is Available

  • Free withdrawals up to 200£ a month
    • Anything over 200£ will come with a 2% fee
  • Free spending without exchange rate in over 150 currencies
    • They apply a small fee for anything above 5.000£
    • Free, instant, real time bank-transfers.
  • Card Control via the app including freezing and unfreezing your card, edit options (for example, you could turn off contactless) and enable location- based security (if your card gets used in a different location, it will automatically be frozen)
  • Instant spending notifications
  • Your spare change gets rounded up to the nearest whole number and the difference gets put into your savings if you want o Free, instant, real time bank-transfers.
  • Option to set up recurring payments
  • Possibility to exchange over 30 cryptocurrencies

We personally find this webpage useful in comparing N26 and Revolut. Please note that this is only a personal opinion and please also note that this person in based in Ireland.

Revolut – the summary

– Like N26, it is incredibly easy to set up, you can do it from home, and it is done in 10 min – no bureaucratic hassle

– Everything you need is accessible via your phone, but it is restricted to the app.

– You can use the many app features to budget effectively.

– No exchange rate and limited free ATM withdrawals

– It is FREE apart from getting the card delivered

– Real-time conversion rates without interest
– There is no physical branch you can go to and it is not a real bank

– You will not get a French IBAN, it will be a EU one. It works perfectly fine, but you need to verify with your employer etc.(any person who sends you money) if they need a French IBAN (Babylangues does not)

– If you are unfamiliar with apps, modern smartphones etc., this might not be for you!

NOTE: N26 and Revolut are two popular options used by our community, BUT there are, of course, many other banks that work in a similar way. Essentially, what you need is a EU/EEA IBAN. Do your own research, and pick the bank that is right for you!

4) Compte Nickel

Compte Nickel is a very simple online bank account that you can open in 5 min at any partner shop that has a “Compte Nickel” Machine.

The website for Compte Nickel is linked here:

The Babylangues Banking Guide
  • Compte Nickel is a service bank account alternative and means of French Payment.
  • It was created in 2010 by the company Financière electronic payments (EPF)
  • It is based in Paris

How It Works

  • You can also sign up online and then pick up your card and details
    You buy the coffret Nickel at the counter (it costs 20€ including your yearly fee) and pick up your debit card.
  • You open the bank account at the “borne Nickel” (machine in the shop)
  • You get your bank account opening validated by the person in the shop and will receive your bank details straight away.
  • After you have opened your account, you will have 15 days to validate your address. You will get a verification code sent to you per mail. You will have to send that code per SMS to their phone number.
    • You can also send a justification de domicile to them

What You Need

  • Your identity piece, which needs to be from a EU or EAA member country o
  • A phone number to receive your confidential code
  • 20€
  • If you are under 18 years old: your identity piece and that of a guardian

What Is Available

  • It costs 20€ per year
  • You will get both your bank-details and card on the spot in their partner
  • shops
  • You can access your bank statements and be able to transfer money online through the Compte Nickel Website, the Compte Nickel Mobile App and the Compte Nickel text service
  • You can pay 250€ into your account straight away free of charge (a first payment deal)
  • Find out more on their website (linked above)

Compte Nickel – the summary

– It is a one-time effort to set up your account and you get to leave with your card and details straight away!

– There is a physical partner-shop you can go to for support

– You can use the website, app and SMS to access your account

– You get a French RIB
– You have to be a EU or EAA national

– It costs 20€

– You need to have a partner shop in your vicinity

– You might not get the best deal with international transfers

NOTE: If you prefer the traditional banking route, a few non-Parisian banks to consider are: Société Générale, Credit Agricole, Credit Lyonnaise, Credit du Nord, LCL etc…

What You Need To Know in Order To Get Paid – Cordially, Hr



The Babylangues Banking Guide
  • If you have an European IBAN (International bank account number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code), the Babylangues HR team can use these details – it does not have to be a French one!
  • Your IBAN is alphanumeric code consisting of up to 32 characters (most will be 22/27 digits long).
  • Don’t forget the country code at the start of your IBAN, for example FR for France
  • The BIC is an 11 digit code eg. a BNP code will look like this: BNPAFRPPXXX
    • NOTE: this will not be your account number and sort code (for people with a UK bank account)
    • N26 and Revolut IBANs are always 22 digits long.
  • If you are a EU/EEA citizen you may already have an account that has an IBAN or you can likely request one from your bank. However, be aware that exchange rates/international transfer fees may apply – speak directly to your bank about this.

FRENCH Bank Account:

  • RIB (‘relevé d’identité bancaire’): This is attached to a French bank account. If you open a French account, we will NEED your RIB (not just your IBAN!)
  • It includes a ‘Code banque’, a ‘Code guichet (Agence)’, a ‘Numero Compte’, and ‘Clé RIB’.
  • The IBAN of a French account will be 27 digits long.



We hope that you find the 4 options we presented to you in detail useful in deciding how and if you want to open a bank account for your stay in France.

Remember, we can outline their general services and present them to you, but it is your responsibility to do your own research. There are many more options out there! You need to consider what you need and what works for you. We always recommend you consult the website of any service you find promising in addition to this guide, and we want to stress that we are in no way qualified banking advisers!

If you have any further questions or queries, we are here for you at

Wishing you a lovely stay in France and all the best

The Babylangues Team

The Babylangues Banking Guide

Here The Babylangues Accommodation Guide!