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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Can any members please recommend a good French Bank in the Flers Normandy region that my wife and I can open an account in and have my US Social Security monthly retirement check directly deposited into each month. To start off with we would just like to open the account with a deposit from here in the US and after we have arrived to stay and live we would have the direct deposit begin. We now use Sun Trust Bank here in the US and we use our debit cards to pay all our bills and everyday expenses. We hope that we can continue that once we are living in France with our new French Bank. I might add we already have a bank account with ING Bank in Belgium. Thank you in advance for your reply's. :ranger:
 

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Why not continue with ING? They have a presence in France, probably a lot cheaper than brick and mortar banks. You can have your SS directly deposited to ING, contact the US embassy in Paris.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. We were not sure if ING Bank was in France. If that is the case we will certainly check into that. Thank you for the recommendation.
 

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Thank you. We were not sure if ING Bank was in France. If that is the case we will certainly check into that. Thank you for the recommendation.
Provided, of course, ING are prepared to open an account for you. Worth checking.

If not, I believe Crédit Agricole generally accept US persons and have bricks and mortar branches in country areas - if you can open a non-resident account with them prior to arrival, that might be an alternative. Non-resident accounts can be easily changed to resident accounts (without any change in account numbers) once you are established and it can be handy to have a local branch where you can withdraw cash should the need arise. However, there are fees involved with bricks and mortar accounts in France.

Edit:

I assume though that ING allows you to withdraw cash from certain banks.

Bear in mind that once in a while you need to be able to write a cheque in France.
 

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If you're talking about ING online, I wouldn't get my hopes up. Many (if not all) the online banks in France generally seem to require that you have an existing account in a French bank. For someone just coming to France (especially from the US - more on that in a moment), that usually means you'll need to start with a bricks and mortar bank.

If you look up banks in Flers, you'll find that there are quite a few in Flers: Banques à Flers ( 61 ) ouvertes le samedi 03 octobre, le lundi 05 octobre


To start out with, it's normally a good idea (sometimes very nearly a requirement) to start with a bricks and mortar bank - thanks to KYC (Know Your Customer) laws, you generally need to make an in person appointment to go in and set up a new account. After you have held that account for a while, you can look into opening an online account, but most will require you to transfer funds from an existing French bank account. (So they know you've already been vetted by some French bank.)

Then there is the matter of having to disclose your citizenship(s) and your place of birth. For several of the online banks, admitting that you are a US citizen or have a US birthplace means they won't open an account for you. Period. That's because of the FATCA laws, which mean more work for them due to the need to report your accounts and balances to the US government (via the Banque de France). With a bricks and mortar bank, you're better able to convince the conseiller (or the bank manager) that you're not a money launderer or whatever else they think might cause them problems.

The banks here are getting used to FATCA, but for starting out it's better to have a "face to face" acquaintance with your bank.

As far as having your US SS direct deposited to your French bank account, you just need to contact the Federal Benefits Unit at the US Embassy and provide them with a RIB (a paper from your bank that gives them all the necessary account information). The staff at the FBU in Paris is really good at handling these sorts of things - not to mention they can get it set up really quickly. https://fr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security-administration/
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you EverHopeful and Bevdeforges. That is really good advise and we thank you!!!
 

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... and have my US Social Security monthly retirement check directly deposited into each month.
I'm sure you've thought this through, but as an alternative...

My wife and I have our money sent to TransferWise. Then each month we transfer an amount to our French bank, and we make memos, such as, "Paiement mensuel de la sécurité sociale" to meet annual visa requirements. This memo shows up on our French bank statements.

We do this for several reasons:

1. Normal bank exchange rates and fees are -- in my view -- exorbitant. TransferWise's costs are very small in comparison.

2. We still want to maintain an address and residence in the U.S.

3. It provides more flexibility if we decide to change banks (which we are seriously thinking about).
 

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A slight variation on your alternative rwjones:

I have both US SS and an IRA back in the US. I have the SS direct deposited in my French account each month (and I have been tracking the effective exchange rates - Transferwise net of charges). The FBU at the Consulate does seem to get an excellent rate with no fees involved (at least not for the recipient).

So I let the FBU do the direct deposit, and then I use Transferwise to transfer a monthly "distribution" from my IRA. Am finding that I can pretty much give up my US bank account (though I haven't yet) if I have the IRA pay distributions directly into my Transferwise account in US $ and then pay that into my French account. Kind of the best of both worlds - at least for me. Personal circumstances can make a huge difference, obviously. If you need or want to maintain a US bank account and/or a US address, it may not work for you.
 

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We thank each of you for your good idea's and thoughts.
l just remembered that you are planning to set up a small business (you could do so by establishing yourself, at least initially, as a micro entrepreneur which is perhaps the simplest regime to adopt when starting out) - for that you will need a French bank account.
 
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