France bank RIB

The first time I was asked for my RIB shortly after I moved back to France, I was very surprised (and a little wary). I soon realized that a bank RIB is one of the most commonly requested documents in France. That’s the reason why you need to get a French RIB as soon as possible when relocating to France.

Disclosure: This site is sponsored by ads and affiliate programs. I may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post.

What is a bank RIB?

The word RIB stands for Relevé d’Identité Bancaire or banking ID details. RIB refers to the document that holds your account details and it also refers to the actual national bank account ID or RIB number.

Why are you asked for your RIB?

The person or administrative service asking for your RIB wants to have access to your bank account for one of two possible reasons. They either need to:

  1. wire money directly into your account.
  2. withdraw money directly from your account (only if you authorize them to – more on this later). 

How to get a RIB?

You systematically get a RIB when you open a bank account in France. When you need a RIB, check at the end of your checkbook if you have one. You can also easily download a RIB from your online bank account (espace client) or your bank cell phone app.

If you need a paper RIB, you can print a bank RIB from one of your bank’s ATM machines.

What information contains a bank RIB?

A RIB slip contains the following information:

  • RIB: National bank account number
  • IBAN: International bank account number
  • BIC: Bank identifier code, also called a SWIFT number
  • bank account holder’s name and address

BIC or SWIFT number

A BIC or SWIFT code identifies a bank and it consists of:

Bank code (établissement) – 1-4 digits
Country code (code du pays) – 5-6 digits
City (ville) – 7-8 digits
Branch (succursale) – 9-11 digits

RIB number

The RIB number is a 23-digit number that identifies a French bank account in France. It consists of:

Bank ID (établissement) – 1-5 digits
Bank branch (guichet) – 6-10 digits
Account number (numéro de compte) – 11-21 digits
RIB key (clé RIB) – 22-23 digits

French IBAN

A French IBAN number is a 27-digit number that identifies a French account internationally. It consists of:

FR country code for France (code du pays) – 1-2 digits
Check digits (clé IBAN de contrôle) – 3-4 digits
RIB number – 5-27 digits

All French IBANs start with the letters FR. You use an IBAN to transfer money between bank accounts, both nationwide and internationally.

What does a French bank RIB look like?

Here’s what my RIB looks like.

A bank RIB in France is the banking detail ID for a French bank account.

Is it safe to give someone your RIB?

I was wary at first to hand out my RIB when I came back to France. A RIB is not a confidential document and it’s totally ok to provide it as it is not enough to withdraw money from a bank account.

For the same reasons, it’s also safe to give someone your IBAN for legitimate purposes, such as receiving a transfer.

Withdrawal authorization

For someone to be allowed to take any money from your account, you need to authorize the withdrawal on your bank account. You do so by signing a withdrawal agreement (mandat de prélèvement).

When you set up monthly debits with a mutuelle or any another company, the withdrawal agreement is part of the application package.

When do you need to give someone your RIB?

You’ll be asked to provide a RIB in many situations in France. Most institutions in France require that you provide a RIB with a French IBAN even though, by SEPA regulations, all businesses in Europe should accept any European IBAN.

If you’re having a difficult time opening a French bank account because of Fatca, try opening a Revolut account as Revolut now provides French IBANs.

Renting a place

You have to include a RIB in your rental application (dossier de location) when you use a rental agency.

Paying utility bills and insurance premiums

Most utility bills in France are paid via monthly direct debit: electricity, phone bills, water bills.

Any insurance you take out will need your RIB for recurring payments: mutuelle, home insurance, car insurance.

Enrolling into French healthcare system

Assurance Maladie‘s reimbursements are credited directly into your French bank account and this is the reason why a French IBAN is mandatory with your application.

If you haven’t joined the French healthcare system yet, read Apply for carte Vitale in 3 steps.

Receiving your salary or pension

Your employer will ask for a RIB when you start a new job as your salary is deposited monthly into your bank account. French pensions are also automatically credited to your bank account every month.

Paying taxes

When it’s time to pay taxes, the French government takes out the money directly from your bank account.

Do you need to use someone’s RIB?

You’ll probably have to ask someone’s RIB at some point when living in France.

Renting a place

If you’re not using a rental agency, ask your landlord for his/her RIB after signing a lease so you can wire the rent onto their bank account every month.

School cafeteria

You can pay for your child’s cafeteria (cantine) via direct deposit using the school’s RIB.

Between friends

Asking anyone you owe money to for their RIB to transfer money directly into their bank account is pretty common in France.

Paying for services

Whether you had some work done on your house or you hired someone to cut down trees, you can ask for their RIB to directly wire the money onto their bank account.

If you’re not comfortable giving out your RIB, you can use Paylib, which is a free service provided by most French banks. Paylib allows you to transfer money to a friend’s account without his/her IBAN, only the person’s phone number. Both the sender and the payee must register with Paylib in order to use it.

If you’re more familiar with Paypal, this is an option as well in France.

RIB and IBAN

As you now know, RIB and IBAN are almost the same thing but non-French institutions and non-French companies will ask for your IBAN rather than your RIB. This is the case for instance when you want to transfer money from your Wise account into your French bank account.

Now that you know what a bank RIB is, get familiar with another French document that you will certainly have to provide called Justificatif de domicile.

Nathalie Nahmani

About Nathalie Nahmani

Nathalie is the creator of ma French Life. She moved back to France after living in Los Angeles for 20 years. She writes practical articles to help expats in France. Nathalie lives with her family in the French Alps near Grenoble.

Related articles

Leave a Comment