Online Banks, known as Neobanks, make it very easy to open a bank account compared to more traditional banks. You can skip the in-person appointment, carrying a bunch of paperwork with you and struggling with language. Because most online banks are international and most have an option available for you!
What is a Neobank?
A Neobank is a fintech-based financial provider that started appearing from 2014 challenging the banks in existence at the time. They came with apps, real-time bank balances and less paperwork. Neobanks include online banks, internet-based banks, digital and virtual banks.
Is a Neobank better than a
This entirely depends on what you need your bank for. To receive payments, make payments and save some money on the side, Neobanks are perfectly sufficient. Some even let you play around on the stock market or buy Bitcoin (Revolut). If however you want to start properly investing or apply for a loan, traditional banks remain your best bet.
Are Neobanks safe?
Yes, however we strongly recommend researching the Neobank you want to join before signing up. Chances are that some people in your circle are using one of them, they may be able to provide feedback and answer your questions.
What are the downsides to
Downsides include the banks being run in other countries (see our tax article about this), not having a physical point of contact and sometimes not even being able to speak with someone, just text chat via a website or app.
Here are some of the popular online banks with users in France today (that are available in English):
- N26 (English + French + German)
- Information needed: Gender, Job title and industry, City of birth, Nationality, Tax residency (the country where you pay tax) andTax ID number where you’re a tax resident (optional). The ID verification is super simple: You just need to take a selfie and a photo of your ID document with the N26 app. Click here to find out which nationalities are accepted by N26.
- Revolut (English + French)
- Information needed: Gender, Job title and industry, City of birth, Nationality, Tax residency (the country where you pay tax) andTax ID number where you’re a tax resident (optional). The ID verification is super simple: You will need to take a picture of a valid government-issued photo ID and a picture of your face. Revolut may request a copy of your legal right to remain in your country (e.g. visa). Click here to find out which nationalities are accepted by Revolut.
Here are some of the popular online banks with users in France today (only available in French for now):
Most traditional banks also have an online equivalent, the banks listed above are 100% neobanks, for more traditional banks please read our article French Banks and Opening a Bank Account for even more options!