Being accepted to ESCP Europe means being entitled to a Premier card from BNP Paribas for free! Scratch that, BNP wants Grandes École business so much they’ll pay you 70€ for opening a bank account with them. Sweet. So this comes with a concierge and a private jet right? Not exactly. The card is a standard higher withdrawl/monthly limit (not ludicrously sky high) with no fees for 3 years (average time for a masters student). Nonetheless, everyone dons the gold card.
But you can only open a bank account after you have a housing contract.
To get setup you’ll have to book an appointment at either the Parmentier or Oberkampf BNP branches with your ESCP Europe acceptance letter, housing contract and passport. My housing rental contract didn’t suffice so I had to receive and sign a registered letter from the bank at my flat to confirm my address.
What’s awesome is those crafty Europeans have combined the power of debit and credit into a single card. It’s like Gillette Fusion. North America needs to get on it!
Some quibbles with the banks:
- There are weekly limits, not daily limits on how much you can withdraw from ATMs. Plan ahead for paying rent.
- If you want to withdraw money from a teller, you need to bring your bank card, an ID card – a Passport for non EU-residents, and a cheque. You go have to write a cheque to yourself to withdraw money. Very French.
- Branches with tellers are few and far between.
You’re probably wondering if it’s worth it to open a French bank account if you’re only staying for a couple months. It definitely is. You’ll need a bank account to receive CAF – housing subsidy from the French Government – and getting a cell phone plan amongst other things. It makes withdrawing macaron money a breeze. And how can you say no to 70 free euros?