1. Open a bank account in France
Due to strict national bank regulations you may only open a bank account in France upon your arrival in France.
Thanks to our partnership relations with banks located in Cergy, near ESSEC, as an international student you'll be required less documents than what you may face if you go to another branch in Paris or another city.
You have to provide
1.1. Your ID, passport with your student visa
1.2. Your enrollment certificate at ESSEC or your ESSEC student card
1.3. Proof of address in France. This may not be a hotel address since valuable information will be mailed to that address.
2. Manage your account
Make sure that you take advantage of your Accounting course at ESSEC to understand fully what debit and credit mean. Luckily, the word for debit in French is..."débit" and the word for credit in French is..."crédit". See how quickly you can become fluent in French! Then, the word "balance" translates into a more difficult word, "solde".
If you receive an email or a letter mentioning "solde débiteur", it means that you had more expenses than revenue, hence are in trouble. Beyond a certain level of debt, you'll be charged interest fees. Do not wait until it is too late to contact your bank advisor. Otherwise you may be forbidden to have a bank account in France for a long period of time. If you happen to get a job in France upon graduation or in a few years, it'll be difficult to get your salary in cash.
When you go abroad, outside France, make sure that you update your telephone number and your coordinates so the bank can contact you easily. All this can be done easily online. Or you may find out after a few months that your bank account has been locked.
3. Closing your account
For obvious safety reasons, no one else but the customer may close his/her bank account.
You should call your bank counsellor or preferably go to the agency prior to leaving France. Indeed verification must be made on your identity as well as your most recent transactions (online pending payments, expected debits, etc.).
Trying to close your account remotely might be more complicated.
On the other hand, keeping your account open will generate accrued handling fees, which you must not ignore. Indeed this kind of debt can arise years later in your professional life when you have totally forgotten about it.
If you have your bank account at BNP, you can log in to your personal account via
Then you can email your counsellor.
Or, you can contact your counsellor direcly by regular email, but it is less secure.
At Société Générale: