Open Bank Account

Bank account – Opening conditions, rates and operation

99% of European people have a bank account, how to open a bank account ? A bank account is used to receive and deposit money, and to carry out transactions such as transfers or direct debits. The downside is that it can be expensive. This is at least the case in traditional banks, whereas online banks offer the possibility of obtaining a free bank account. Find our guide to understand how a current account works.

The different types of bank accounts

There are several types of bank accounts:

  • The classic current account, also known as a current or deposit account, held by a large majority of the population. It is possible to hold one or more current accounts, but also a joint account.
  • Professionals and businesses can also have a professional bank account.
  • The savings account, which allows you to earn interest on a deposit of money.
  • The securities account, intended for clients who wish to invest in real estate securities.

Conditions for opening an account

Who can open an account?

Holding a bank account is a right in Europe. Therefore, all Euopean residents, regardless of their nationality, but also expatriates, have the right to open a bank account and to own one. Anyone can therefore approach the bank of their choice (traditional bank or online bank) to request the opening of an account. However, the bank has the right to refuse a customer without having to justify itself, which it often does if the customer is banned from banking.

Minors can also hold an account from the age of 12. To open a bank account for minors, however, they must be accompanied by a legal representative. Parents can open a bankbook and life insurance in their name from birth.

Mandatory supporting documents

The law obliges banks to know their customers in order to fight against money laundering and fraud. It is therefore impossible to open a bank account anonymously.

The banks ask, at least :

Proof of identity (identity card, passport, residence permit)
A proof of residence of less than three months (electricity or gas bill, telephone bill, home insurance…)
However, even if it is not mandatory, some banks ask the customer to provide additional information:

Proof of income (tax notice, last two pay slips…)
A RIB in the name of the customer from another French bank
In the case of a joint account, clients must provide supporting documentation for each of the registrants.

Conditions of income, savings and expenses

New conditions have emerged with neobanks and online banks. Indeed, in order to open an online account and keep the bank account free of charge, they have set up conditions of income, savings and expenses, which differ according to the bank.

Rates for a bank account

The different bank charges

It is possible, today, to subscribe to a paying bank account or a free bank account. A current account usually includes the following bank charges:

Banking package: the client pays a monthly fee to access a list of services, such as bank card and insurance means of payment.
+ Services not included in the package (if the customer wants additional services)
+ Charges for payment incidents, in case of bank overdraft

Account maintenance fees
Credit card contribution
+ Additional services according to the customer’s needs: payment means insurance, SMS alerts, bank check…
+ Charges for payment incidents, in case of bank overdraft

Closing a bank account

There are two possible ways to close a bank account :

  • The closing is at the initiative of the bank.
  • Closing is at the client’s initiative

Just as the bank can refuse to open an account for a customer, it can also decide to close his bank account without having to justify itself. However, the bank must give two months’ notice. If the account has a credit balance, the money will be returned to the customer. If it is in debit, the customer will have to replenish the account before the closure.

The customer can also decide to close his account, free of charge, by sending a closure letter. He must also either return his means of payment or destroy them.