The following banks are accustomed to international clients and are likely to have an English speaking agent:
- HSBC, 16 Boulevard Gambetta, Grenoble Tel. 04 76 86 60 00
- Banque Rhône-Alpes, 1 Place Vaucanson Grenoble Tel. 04 76 88 18 20
- BNP Paribas , Grenoble CEA, 17 Av. des Martyrs, Grenoble (located in restaurant building of CEA campus) Tel: 04 38 78 44 00
What you will need to open a bank account
- Passport or identity card
- Proof of address (justificatif de domicile)* – usually a rent receipt, water or electricity bill in your name. You can use the address of a temporary accommodation (residence hotel) by requesting a document called an attestation d’hebergement.
- Tax return indicating your income (or a contract, or certificate of employment)
*Until you have all of this information, you might be able to substitute the address of your employer, and a certificate of employment.
TIP: a model attestation d’hebergement can be filled out online and printed from https://www.service-public.fr/simulateur/calcul/AttestationHebergement
Once you have opened an account, the bank will send you your account details on a bank identification slip (Relevé d’Identité Bancaire or ‘RIB’). Keep your RIB because you will need them for any automatic payments you want to set up, for example, for your mobile phone subscription.
The bank will offer you various services: checkbooks, bank/credit cards (called Carte Bleue or carte bancaire - Visa, American Express, Eurocard / Mastercard, etc), investment advice, etc. Under certain conditions, you may also obtain a loan for potential purchases (car, flat, etc.). Most banks charge a small monthly fee for online account management. Your checkbook will probably also contain several copies of your RIB.
In France, the use of checks is still extremely common, if not essential. When you rent an apartment you will be asked for a deposit in the form of a check for example.
Most banks in Grenoble close for a period in the afternoon. Typical operating hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 or 9:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00 or 17:30. Some branches are also open on Saturday morning.
WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF THEFT OR LOSS
If you lose your checkbook or credit card, call of your bank immediately and send written confirmation. It is also recommended to inform the police. Banks typically offer insurance policies to guard against these risks.