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Dear Expats,

I will be moving to Marseille soon (next month). People in this forum have already given me quite nice suggestions on where to live there in another thread. Thank you all for that.

Right now I have another doubt, that I think deserves a new (related) thread: in which bank should I open an account.

I don't know anything about French banks in terms of fees and service quality.
I hope I can count on your experience to help me to chose where I will get a RIB from.

I'm looking for a bank with a good ATM net, reasonable fees, and good investment options. If I could get the service in English, that would be great as well (although not strictly necessary).

Thanks again,

CB
 

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I would suggest you look for a bank that is handy to where you live, or alternatively where you work. A bigger bank with international links (eg. BNP) is more likely to have English speaking staff, but I would think that in Marseille many banks would have someone on staff who speaks English. I personally bank with Credit Agricole and have reduced fees by investing in additional 'parts sociales'. French banks do charge fees for certain services, but it's pretty hard to compare without knowing individual circumstances and needs. If you will be back in Marseille before you move, I would suggest you call into a couple of branches for a chat and to pick up a copy of their fees. Usually (not always) you can only open an account by making an appointment, but when you do so they will give you a list of the documents you need to provide in order to open the account. However, they would normally also give you that list of documents if you go in to make an enquiry.
 

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It's really difficult to give someone a bank recommendation - in large part because French banking is very much branch based. Whether it's the bank manager or the level of discretion granted to the individual branches, the services and general "customer friendliness" can vary tremendously from one branch of the same bank to another.

If you're looking for banking services in English, you normally need to go into the bank itself and ask if they have any conseillers who can speak English. Some branches make a point of hiring multi-lingual staff, while others don't bother.

OTOH, you can generally use any ATM machine with your bank card - at least for up to 4 or 5 transactions a month. And as far as investment options go, I think just about all the banks offer pretty much the same types of accounts and investment instruments.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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As far as ATM withdrawals via your carte bancaire are concerned, most banks automatically put a limit on those transactions, however you can either request that the ceiling be lifted, or go into the bank to make the withdrawal (for large withdrawals though you may need to give 24 hours advance notice at some banks). I simply asked my bank to lift the ceiling.
 
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