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You need to have a French bank account to be paid your salary, even if you already have a Euro account from another country (actually there seems to be counter-examples to this…). The quickest way to set up an account is either to deal with one of the two banks at the CEA Saclay campus (who are used to dealing with international applicants) or via a branch of Societe Generale (who have a special scheme arranged with Fnak for foreign researchers). Other banks may create hurdles, such as demanding 3 months of payslips (which is obviously impossible). You need to set up an appointment to create an account. The waiting time depends on the bank.

Science Accueil can set up your bank account before you arrive, and there is only need to come to sign upon arrival.


The French state has put together a website (in French) which allows one to compare banking fees of all known banks:


Bank branches at CEA Saclay:

  • Banque Populaire: Nothing amazing about it, but no complaints either - it works fine and the head of this office is extremely useful and nice. The online banking also works well and they have a decent security system in place.
  • BNP Paribas:
    • possible to open bank account with European ID, working contract (also UVSQ), and proof of residence at the representation at the CEA campus. Mme Kahn speaks English and is helpful (07/2018). I didn’t have a proof of residence with me when signing the papers, she was fine with me sending it later per email. Monthly fee for VISA card is 8,20 Euro (first 6 months for free), online banking and cheque are free of charge (01/2014). All documents are in French only, but there is an online banking system in English.
    • It takes about two weeks from first appointment till you have your credit card; RIB will be provided directly when signing the application
    • Service is bad. If problems occur it takes a couple of emails and ~1-2 working days to fix this for their office at the CEA campus. Re-occurring transactions to non-French bank accounts (including SEPA) are not possible.


  • HSBC: Online account in English. Lots of fees, poor exchange rate.
  • ING Direct: One of the few bank accounts in France with no monthly charges
  • Societe Generale:
    • Possible to open an account without prior appointment and with no need to show payslips at their Orsay branch once I had shown them the printout of my ‘carte de chercheur’ that you can receive for free at the Kastler foundation website (above) OK service - card and chequebook arrived within 7 days and they reply to all emails within a few hours. Online banking also works well.
    • quick account opening process for researchers:
    • Mme. Bouhet at the branch in Gif/Chevry was very helpful and opened an account the same day that I made an appointment with her. The documents she needed to open an account were: passport, rental contract, work contract and FNAK visiting researcher card. Also set up insurance for the apartment.
  • Credit Agricole: Insisted on seeing three months of French payslips before they would open an account, so I went elsewhere.
  • Transferwise: (foreign exchange) Usually have a very competitive exchange rate, especially for relatively small amounts, works well so far, as with all such services less protection than with banks
  • (foreign exchange): Works very efficiently, better exchange rates than the banks and lower fees, maybe less protection though

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utilisateurs/postdocs/banks.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/24 14:41 by rmonten

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