Online Banks for Students in France: Offers, Fees and Services
As a student in France, you may wonder which bank will be able to provide you a reliable offer, with services and fees that adapted to your situation. With a limited income and the inability to work full-time, students in France will often find their best bet to be to subscribe to an online bank. Find out all about them in this guide.
- To sum things up
- For students in France, online banks are a particularly good option.
- These banks often don't request minimum income requirements, but some conditions (minimum deposits...) still apply.
- If you can't meet these conditions, as a student, digital banks could be a good alternative.
List of the best online banks for students
A large number of online banks exist in France, so here is just a rundown of some of the banks with the cheapest fees and the most advantageous services and welcome offers for students.
|Under 25: copy of your student ID
Over 25: hold a Masters and earn under €1000/month
|Open to all, no income conditions||Free||Free if used at least once per month
(otherwise it costs €5/month)
|Open to all, no income conditions||Free||€2/month||Up to €120|
|Open to all, no income conditions||Free||€2/month||-|
Which online banks have offers for students in France?
One of the biggest advantages of opting for an online bank as a student is that they work out a lot cheaper that traditional French banks, since they induce very low annual banking fees. What's more, these banks seldom require you to meet a certain level of income, making them accessible to young people who don't yet have a stable income.
This said, most online banks still maintain barriers to entry mainly in the form of a minimum income requirement. So if, as a student, you don't have significant savings or work part time (and even then it may not always be enough), chances are you will have a hard time finding an online bank that'll agree to sign you up.
With this in mind, here are a few of the online banks with student-oriented offers in France.
Hello bank is a subsidiary of the BNP Paribas group. It targets young people and students under 25 years of age. This bank gives you free access to a French current account and a Visa Premier card. A great bonus is that you won't have to justify the "standard" income conditions (typically €1,000/month) or make any kind of deposits on your savings account.
Note that you need to present a photocopy of your student card during the subscription.
If you are a student over the age of 25, it is a little harder to sign up as there are some barriers to entry exist, although these aren't as strict as what traditional banks typically set. The student must have a level of education at least equal to "Bac + 4" (4 years of study after your high school diploma) and a monthly income of under €1,000. What's more, if you wish to avoid the set fee to open your account, you will need to deposit at least €1,500 € in your Hello bank account upon opening it.
Boursorama's welcome offer
Boursorama Bank is regularly awarded the title of cheapest French bank - although it does not offer a special offer for students.
For a long time, this bank would only grant free access to a current account and a Visa Classic bank card for those who could prove an income of €1,000/month or who could deposit €2,500 on a savings account online banking. But since 2017, Boursorama' Welcome offer has put an end to this.
Today, there are no fees associated with the account, so long as you carry out one transaction per month with your card (otherwise you pay a month fee of €5). Withdrawals are limited to €200 per 7 sliding days, and payments to €600 over 30 rolling days. Overdraft are capped at €100, while the bank card is systematically authorized.
Monabanq is a subsidiary of the Crédit Mutuel CIC group. It puts forward a paying offer, but without barriers to entry. It doesn't have any student-specific offers, but as a student you can sign up to a Monabanq account like everyone else, and get a Visa Classic card for €2/month.
While Monabanq imposes a €24 fee per year to its clients, it also offers a welcome bonus of €120 - one of the highest among the competition.
It is interesting to note that the online bank offers banking products tailored to young people, such as:
- A checkings account for 16-18 year olds (costing €12/year if the minor opts for a Visa Classic card)
- A youth savings account for 12-18 year olds, with a withdrawal card and a remuneration of 1.2% up to €5,000 (0.40% beyond that)
- An account for 12-18 year olds, with a 2% annual interest, but capped at €1,600
- An account for 18-25 year olds (continuation of 12-18 account above).
Like Monabanq, the online bank ING Direct has removed its income requirement criterion since 2016. It is thus now easier for students to sign up to an ING Direct account, whose offers come with a high-end Gold MasterCard.
To avoid any fees though, you will have to put at least €1,200 per month on your ING Direct account, or place at least €5,000 on an ING savings account - criteria which might block students.
This said, students can still fall back on ING Direct's offer, by instead of meeting the above conditions, paying €5/month. With this option, by paying €60 per year, students can get a Gold MasterCard, which is a convenient means of payment especially when travelling abroad, since it includes extended guarantees in terms of insurance and assistance.
Fortuneo offers access to a current account and a free MasterCard for 18-26 year olds, on the condition that you pay € 5,000 on a savings account a life insurance account upon signing up with the online bank.
A subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole group, BforBank may be one of the least accessible online bank for students, as it imposes high barriers to entry which are among the highest among online banks. Indeed, students and regular clients alike have to justify a monthly income of €1,600, or a net income of €1,200 if they initially deposit €10,000 on their BforBank savings account.
How about digital banks for students in France?
Over the past couple of years in France, a new type of bank has been gaining popularity: digital banks. Also known as "neobanks", these are also very attractive for students - especially Erasmus and exchange students in France - since they don't induce high fees, when transferring other currencies for instance.
What's more, as opposed to online banks, these banks seldom require you to meet a certain level of income, making them accessible to young people who don't yet have a stable income.
Eko by CA
Eko by CA was founded by Crédit Agricole in 2017. Its particularity is that it is at the crossroads of the neo-bank, the online bank and the traditional bank. For €2 a month, as a Eko by CA customer, you will get access to a bank account, a MasterCard International card (but no possible overdraft), and the My Bank mobile app through which you can manage your accounts.
Besides, you will be able to withdraw cash from all Crédit Agricole ATMs (7,000 branches in France), which you can geolocate using the Eko by CA app.
If you ever have a problem or request to make, the Crédit Agricole bank advisors are available to help you by phone, in agencies or via the application.
Created in 2017, Orange Bank is a great choice for students as it doesn't require you meet an income requirement. Maintaining an account will be free as long as you carry out at least 3 banking operations per month, else you will be charged a €5/month fee.
All this makes it suitable for a young, hyper connected population eager to save money. What's more, Orange Bank offers a solid welcome bonus of up to €160, peer to peer refunds, instant balance updates, customisable bank cards, payment by smartphone, etc.
The neobank can also provide savings products and a cheque books, unlike some other banks of its kinds. Just note, however, that you won't be allowed any overdraft, and that there are caps set to your payments and withdrawals.
Other digital bank offers
If you want to open a bank account in France, but don't need credit or savings products, you can opt for one of the following banks, which offer limited services but for unbeatable prices:
- N26, which comes with a free bank card.
- C-zam, which charges €5 to open an account, then charges €1 per month
- Nickel, with a charge of just €2/month
All in all, neobanks are probably your best bet for travelling and for trips abroad. Not only are payments and withdrawals in foreign currencies free or almost free of charge, but they also provide a powerful and innovative user experience, through their ergonomic, easy-to-use and pleasant mobile apps.