Can I open an account in an online bank without a bank account number?

25 septembre 2020


Are you planning to open an online bank account soon? Well.., Did you know that to open an account, online banks require their new customers to have a RIB (Relevé d’Identité Bancaire)? It’s pretty binding, isn’t it? It would mean that people who don’t have an account at a conventional bank will never be able to open an account online.

But why is the RIB compulsory when opening an online bank account exactly? Is there really no way to open an online account without having a RIB? Well, this is precisely what we propose to discover here.

Opening an account in an online bank is a little more complicated compared to opening an account in a traditional bank. Yes, it is, the procedures are more complex and the eligibility conditions do not necessarily correspond to all profiles. And the best part is that the necessary files are not at all easy to assemble.

The conditions


If you want to open an account in a French online bank, you will already have to be resident in France for tax purposes. You will then have to prove by any necessary means that you are legally of age. You must also meet all the income or savings conditions required by your bank.

In general, online banks do not accept customers with a monthly income of less than €1,000. That said, there are of course online banks with no income requirements. To be able to open an online account, you will also need to have an old account at a traditional bank.

Parts to be supplied


Are you sure you can meet the eligibility requirements to open an online bank account? If so, you can can begin to gather all the necessary supporting documentation.. In particular, you will need a valid proof of identity (identity card, passport, etc…). You will also need proof of residence. Normally, a simple electricity bill should do the trick.

You will also need a copy of your last pay slips and possibly your last tax notice. If you are a student, you will only need to present a copy of your school certificate.

Finally, you will need to have a bank account, or more exactly a RIB, in your name. Please note that the RIB requested must be that of a French bank or at least a European one.



Generally, online banks make registration forms available on their official websites. Don’t forget to fill it out completely before sending your application.. You will probably be asked to fill in your personal information in this form. For example, the bank may ask for your contact details, marital status or details of your occupation.

You may also be asked about the banking offers you wish to choose (type of card, amount of overdraft, etc …). Once you have finished everything, all you have to do is sign your contract by electronic signature. Otherwise, you can always use the good old method and sign a blank page that you will send by post to the bank’s head office.

Why do I need to have an old bank account before opening an online account?


When someone wants to open a bank account on the internet, it is very difficult for an online bank to verify the true identity of the applicant. Here, identity and proof of address are no longer sufficient since there is no direct contact with the person concerned.

At any time, it could be identity theft. Well, that’s exactly why online banks are forced to tighten up identification measures. So they’re going to ask the new customer to present a bank account number. This RIB will be able to prove that the identity of the customer in question has indeed been verified and validated by a conventional physical bank.

But it doesn’t stop there! Your online bank will also ask you to make a first payment from your old bank account to your new online account. In general, you will be asked to pay an amount between 150 and 300 €.. It is a kind of « confirmation » that the GNI you have submitted is not a false document.

This payment will be used to activate your new online bank account. Please note that this procedure also comes into play in the fight against fraud, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Is it still possible to open an online account without GNI?


Please note that if you do not make the first payment required by online banking, your new account will never be activated. That’s why it’s more than essential to have an old bank account in your name before you consider opening an online account..

So the answer to your question is « no »! It is simply impossible to create an online bank account without RIB. That said, there are effective solutions to help you obtain a RIB quickly and validate your registration:

Open a classic bank account

It may not be the fastest way to open an account online, but at least it’s the most common. Simply go to your nearest branch and ask to open an account.

You will simply have to show proof of identity, proof of address. Normally, you will be able to benefit from a RIB a few days after the opening of your account.

Open an N26 account

To subscribe to this mobile bank, all you need is a smartphone and a good internet connection. Here, the applicant’s photo and ID are photographed directly on the mobile phone. In just a few minutes, you will have a free bank account with RIB.

Open a Nickel account

The Nickel account is a bankless account that works like a prepaid card. All you have to do is go to a tobacconist’s and show valid identification. Your account with RIB is opened in only 5 minutes.

However, to open and use a Nickel account, you will have to pay a fee of at least 20 € per year.

Using the GNI of a savings account

In theory, banks do not issue GNIs for savings accounts. There are, however, booklets such as the Livret A or the youth passbook, on which you can obtain a RIB free of charge on request.

You can first try to log on to your personal online space to see if it is possible to edit your bank details directly. If this is not possible, you can ask a customer advisor to do it for you.