Right to an account: a decree simplifies the procedure

The right to a bank account, a system that gives everyone access to a bank account, has come in for some criticism because of the complexity of the procedure. This will soon be simplified thanks to a decree due to be published in mid-March.

Right to an account: a long and complex procedure

The right to an account procedure applies to all individuals who do not have a deposit account, whether or not they are over-indebted or have been banned from banking. The right to an account also applies to French nationals living abroad, as well as to legal entities.

Currently, to exercise your right to an account, you need to compile a file comprising 4 documents:

  • a certificate of refusal to open an account provided by the bank concerned,
  • the right to account application form,
  • proof of address,
  • a copy of an identity document.


The person wishing to initiate this procedure must indicate the bank where he or she would like to open an account, then send his or her file to the Banque de France, which then designates an institution. The designated bank is not necessarily the one indicated by the customer.

According to the Cour des Comptes' 2021 annual public report, only 34% of people who have exercised their right to an account have been successful. The institution has issued several recommendations, including the dematerialization of the procedure, deemed too complex, to shorten processing times for cases.

Towards a system of implicit refusal by banks

A decree aimed at simplifying the right to account procedure is due to be published in March. It provides for the introduction of a system of implicit refusal by banks. Indeed, it can be complex to obtain the certificate required by the Banque de France from the bank that has refused to open an account: timeframes are sometimes very long, and the most vulnerable members of the public encounter numerous difficulties.

In future, if a bank does not respond to a customer's request to open an account, the customer will no longer have to obtain a certificate, but simply wait 15 days. Once this period has elapsed, the bank's failure to respond will be considered as a refusal, and will entitle the customer to exercise his or her right to an account with the Banque de France.

The decree will also require banks terminating a deposit account agreement to systematically inform the Banque de France. Banking establishments designated by the institution to open an account, as part of the right-to-account procedure, and which refuse to do so, will also be obliged to inform the Banque de France.