At the moment INSA has connections with two major French banks – BNP Paribas and LCL. The choice you make is entirely up to you. Most students choose BNP Paribas but that does not mean that you should choose this bank. Both banks are good choices. There might be difficulties if you decide to choose a bank that is not working with INSA.
When it comes to the creation of a bank account and a credit card there are two options:
- The first and the easiest option is to go to an office of the chosen bank with the teachers from the summer school and complete several documents about your age, your specific card choice etc. In order to create a bank account you don’t need any specific documents. An identity card should be sufficient for all students. The creation of the bank account and the card will take several days. Depending on the organization of the procedure you will be able to retrieve your card directly from INSA or from a bank office. The closest office of BNP Paribas is located right next to the metro stop “Ernest Renan”. If you take the metro from the stop “Technopôle”, that is basically in front of the Madrillet residence, it will only take you around 7 minutes to go to “Ernest Renan”. Once you are at the metro stop you should be able to see the bank in front of you. When you obtain your card you should be able to deposit and withdraw money from your bank account. If you decide to withdraw some cash from an ATM machine, using your French card, there shouldn’t be any tax for the transaction. Your card may get delayed or another problem might occur so having a card from your home country is highly encouraged. ATTENTION! Withdrawal from a card that is from a foreign bank is possible but there will be a tax taken as a function of the sum that is being withdrawn by you. Last but not least, there is an option to consult your bank account on-line. It should be mentioned as an option somewhere in the documents. All you need is your client number and password that will be provided to you from the bank. It is a really good way to consult your account and manage your finances. When you obtain your number and password you can consult your account on this site: https://mabanque.bnpparibas/ /. When you are connected to your bank profile you might be a bit surprised because there are actually two, let’s call them sub-accounts. The first one is called “Compte de chèques”. When you make a purchase, withdrawal or a deposit the money will come and go from this particular account so try to always to have some money in this sub-account because if you go negative for a while there might be some penalties for you. The second sub-account is called “Livret Jeune” it is for students with ages between 12 and 25 years. In this sub-account you can deposit up to 1600 euros and it is characterized by a relatively high interest percentage. You can exchange money between the two sub-accounts by clicking “VIREMENTS ET SERVICES” (TRANSFERS AND SERVICES) button located on the left of the BNP Paribas page. You will see a very useful menu that consists of eight boxes.
The first one is called “Virements” (Transfers). This option will allow you to exchange money between your two sub-accounts and other bank accounts. You have two options for the transfer “Virement unitaire” and “Virement permanent”. The first transfer will be executed only once at a certain date while the second transfer indicates periodicity, meaning that the transfer you desire to make will be executed every month or week, depending on your choice.
The second box is very important. It is the RIB/IBAN information list. Many French establishments will require from you RIB and IBAN for various reasons. Sending this information sheet to them is sufficient.
The third box is called “Oppositions”. You can signal that your card is stolen, lost etc from this option.
The fourth box is important too. It is called “CHÉQUIER”. From here you can order a cheque book. Many establishments and shops in France still use cheque so you may need a cheque book at some point during your stay in France. The cheque should cost you around 10 euros.
The other boxes are not so important, they represent information about your account. If you want you can print your account history from there, for an example, over a chosen period of time.
Of course, you can do all this by simply going to the corresponding bank office and by asking the accountant. However, using the site saves a bit of time
Piece of advice:
During the account creation phase, at some point the bank might propose some options that are related to the payment of the rent of your apartment. I hope you remember “Virement permanent” that we talked about. The bank might ask you if you want your rent to be paid using this transfer method. This means that every month the bank will withdraw the sum corresponding to your rent at a certain date regardless of the state of your account. I would personally advise you not to choose this option.
The bank might as well propose an insurance for your apartment. Read carefully your contract before signing to be certain about the terms and conditions in it.
- The second option is to do the account creation procedure mentioned above all by yourself. That is go to a bank office, speak to the accountant in French or in English, explain what you want and start the procedure all by yourself. This is a viable option. However, all this takes more time than the first option and time is precious when you are a student in INSA. In the end it is all up to you to make the choice in correspondence to your arrival time in France, language skills, state of mind etc.