The French right to an account and the European Union’s provision for a “basic payment account” offer significant opportunities for e-residents with companies in Estonia. This article will explore how these systems can facilitate banking for such businesses.

Understanding the Right to an Account in France

France’s right to an account is a legal system that ensures individuals who do not have a bank account can open one with a credit institution designated by the Banque de France. This right extends to:

  1. Individuals domiciled in France: Regardless of nationality, if you have a domicile in France, you can avail of this right.
  2. French citizens living abroad: French nationals residing outside France can also benefit.
  3. Foreign nationals in the EU: Individuals of foreign nationality legally residing in any EU country other than France are eligible.

Eligibility Criteria

To benefit from this right, individuals must:

  1. Not have any individual account in their name or have an account that is being closed.
  2. Have been refused the opening of an account by a bank.

In all cases, you must be able to justify a refusal to open an account by a bank.
This procedure works for both a private account and a professional account. It also applies to legal entities (companies, associations, etc.) who are unable to open an account.

How It Benefits E-Residents with Estonian Companies

Estonia’s e-Residency program allows non-residents to remotely run businesses registered in Estonia. However, banking can be a challenge due to high-risk activities or the lack of a physical presence in Estonia. Here’s how the French system can assist:

  1. Facilitating Banking for E-Residents: E-residents, who often face hurdles in opening bank accounts due to their non-resident status, can leverage this French system if they meet the criteria.
  2. Enhancing Business Operations: Having a bank account in the EU can simplify business transactions within the Union, particularly for e-residents managing Estonian companies.
  3. Legal Compliance: By ensuring access to banking facilities, e-residents can better comply with financial regulations and reporting requirements in Estonia.

EU’s Basic Payment Account Rules

The EU mandates that legally resident individuals in any EU country can open a “basic payment account”. This right:

  1. Cross-Border Availability: Cannot be denied based on the applicant’s non-residency in the country where the bank is established.
  2. Exceptions: Denial is permissible only in cases of non-compliance with EU anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations, or if the applicant already holds a similar account in the same country.

Consider obtaining a residence permit in the EU to get access to the EU banking system.

The Role of Local Directors in Estonia

E-residents might choose to hire local directors in Estonia for various reasons, including enhancing local business connections and legal and tax compliance management and qualifying with the right-to-account system. While this can be beneficial, the right to an account in France remains a separate and valuable option for banking needs in general.

Conclusion

The right to an account in France offers a unique opportunity for e-residents with Estonian companies. This provides a solution to one of the major challenges faced by e-residents: accessing banking services. The system emphasizes the importance of financial inclusivity and the growing interconnectedness of European financial systems, benefiting entrepreneurs and business owners across the EU. This demonstrates the EU’s commitment to financial inclusivity and support for international entrepreneurs.

 

References

https://www.banque-france.fr/fr/a-votre-service/particuliers/faire-valoir-droit-au-compte-bancaire

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/financial-products-and-services/bank-accounts-eu/index_en.htm#:~:text=Right%20to%20a%20basic%20bank%20account,-You%20may%20want&text=If%20you%20are%20legally%20resident,where%20the%20bank%20is%20established.

Estonia (EU) Residence permit or Visa for business (intra-corporate)

 

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