Today we opened a bank account in France. We went to Rue Grande (the main street of Fontainebleu), and went to BNP Paribas, one of the many banks in the street. We waited for 10 minutes for the guy who works with INSEAD students, Shafik, and in 30 minutes we had a bank account. Apparently it is essential to deposit 4300 Euros for the Card De Sejour, so we will do it soon.
We should receive Visa Debit Cards (which is like Credit Cards, but the amount is deducted on the spot). And it is possible to put the money in a Savings Account – 2.5% interest. Not much but it is better than nothing. Since I am not a French citizen I cannot invest in stocks – I guess the 2.5% will have to do.
You pay each month a discounted sum of 5 Euros. If a friend names you as a referral, you will not have to pay even that. A student volunteered to arrange a list of all people coming to the bank, and so with this arrangement everybody will be refered to.
The most amazing is the loan deal. You can get a loan up to 45000 Euros with 2.7% interest rate, with grace for 1 year, and you can pay it in 24-72 month. I wasn’t planning on taking this loan, but it is so cheap so I might take it just in case. Put the money in the Savings account and if all goes well, you will pay 0.2% interest. It’s like the bank gives you money for free and tells you to pay it back whenever you can. Better – you can put the same amount of money (or slightly more) in an Israeli savings account for 4% or so, and actually make money!
All I needed to do in opening the account was to give my attestation form from INSEAD and my passport (my wife’s also since this is a joint account). I had to sign some papers and write some words in French in several places, and that was it. I am now the proud owner of a bank account in France. Too bad I wasted all of money on INSEAD…