For sure, one of the main pillars of your life is money. How you handle that part is crucial. In that sense, moving and starting your new life in Spain poses some really important question. How to open a bank account in the country? Should I really open one or can I still manage my money overseas? Which are all the associated costs? Your doubts are over. In this article, we are set to answer all those questions.
After reading this, the Spanish banking and financial system will become something clear to you. What are we going to cover exactly?
SHOULD YOU REALLY OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT IN SPAIN?
The answer to this question is simple: you actually don’t have to.
The law does not make it compulsory for you to do it. In that sense, you can still manage your finances and money from an overseas account. And it will be okay.
Furthermore, you can easily navigate your day to day life in Spain paying with your Visa, Master Card or American Express credit cards.
And you wouldn’t find any problem there.
So, at first glance, it may seem that the issue of opening a bank account in the country is not that important.
But if you take a closer look at the whole picture you will see things a bit differently.
Because if you are planning to permanently stay in the country, and life in the long-run in Spain, things may get a bit difficult and costly if you keep on managing your money from your origin country.
Issues like paying the utilities of your property or getting a mortgage and get much more complicated without a Spanish bank account.
Besides, foreign credit cards may suffer a commission fee for every payment realized inside the territory.
OUR ADVICE? DO IT EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO
So our best piece of advice would be to open a bank account in Spain.
We are talking about a really simple procedure that will save you time and money.
Even if you are a non-resident in Spain, having your money inside Spain can yield better results.
HOW EASY IS TO OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT IN THE SPANISH TERRITORY?
As we mentioned in the section above, opening a bank account is really easy, no matter if you are a resident or a non-resident in Spain.
As we will see in just a few moments, the procedure will be a bit longer in the non-resident case. Nevertheless, both options are really straightforward.
You just need to go to the bank, present the required documents, and start transferring your money there. As simple as that.
You submit your documents and then you instantly have your account operative.
It is worth considering that resident bank accounts are more flexible than non-resident ones and can offer better conditions.
Nevertheless, if you are not planning to stay permanently in Spain, a non-resident bank account will be enough for you.
No matter the option you choose, you can always switch from one type to the other once you get your residency. You just need no notify it to the bank and bring your residency card, and the change will be done.
There is no minimum deposit to open an account in euros (€), which makes the process even simpler. Nevertheless, for other currencies there may be a minimum amount; so make sure you check it out beforehand.
THE ACTUAL PROCESS OF OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT: STEP BY STEP
As we said, this is a really straightforward process.
It slightly varies depending on whether you are a resident or not. Not only it is a simple process, but with the steps we are going to outlay next you shouldn’t have any problem:
HOW TO OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT IN SPAIN AS A RESIDENT
The best option is to go to the bank yourself. Bear in mind that not all the personnel will speak English there, so try booking an appointment with someone who does.
Besides, it will be also really beneficial for you to bring a Spanish-speaking friend or person whom you trust with you that day. Things will be much easier.
You will just need to go to the specific bank you choose, show your resident ID and have your account ready an open, instantly!
HOW TO OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT IN SPAIN AS A NON-RESIDENT
The process is exactly the same, but it includes an extra step: you will be required to submit a non-resident certificate. In order to obtain this document, you have two different options:
The first option is for those wishing to save some money and take an extra step themselves:
Go to Dirección General Policía with your passport and copy, and ask for a non-resident certificate. You will be able to pick it up after 10 days. Once you have obtained this document you will then be able to go to your chosen bank with your passport and have your account open. The account operative in the moment of opening it, immediately.
On the other hand, you can also skip this step and not request the non-resident certificate yourself: the bank can do it for you.
You will then go with your passport directly to the bank. The bank will sign an authorization in order to request the certificate on your behalf, but with an associated cost of 15€. Bear in mind that the account won’t be operative until they receive that certificate.
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT IN THE SPANISH TERRITORY?
In the former section we analyzed the exact process to open your bank account. But which are the exact documents you will need to submit once you visit the institution for the first time?
In general terms, some banks request more documents than the others. So the best thing would be to check specifically what does your bank require. Nevertheless, here you will find a general overview, again different depending on your resident status:
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR NON-RESIDENTS
- Valid passport or ID card
- Proof of your address. For this, you can use a utility bill that can’t be more than 3 months old.
- Employment status proof. Valid proofs are payslips, tax returns or government letters confirming that you are unemployed or receiving financial help from them.
- As we explained above, some banks do require the non-resident certificate.
If you are a student, pay close attention. Because maybe there’s a bank at your campus with a special agreement with your host university. You should check there which documents are requested, as you may be able to open an account without the certificate by just showing your university ID.
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR RESIDENTS
- Valid passport or ID card
- A document that confirms the source of your income: like your student card, employment contract if you are employed, or unemployment paperwork otherwise.
- Spanish address proof, like a recent utility bill, bank statement or rental contract, for example.
- NIE (foreigner identity number).
- In some cases the bank can request the property reservation agreement.
You should bear in mind that all the documents you submit must be translated into Spanish. If you would like to translate them in your country of origin, you can do so. But make sure that they are all notarized with the Hague Apostille.
CAN I OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT IN SPAIN WITHOUT A NIE?
There are many banks that won’t require you to have or present your NIE number in order to open an account. Nevertheless, the process can be much fast and simple provided that you have one.
Furthermore, having an NIE is essential for your new life in Spain, as you will need it in order to buy a property, buying a car, getting your residence permit, etc.
So getting that part done beforehand can be really beneficial.
CAN I OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT ONLINE RESIDING OUTSIDE SPAIN?
Yes, there is that option. And you have two different ways of doing so:
First of all, if you are not planning to visit Spain anytime in order to open the bank account, you can do it by designating a representative. You will need to provide notary powers to a law firm so they can open the bank account for you. What they do is to request a tax id number on your behalf, and then open the account with it.
At Balcells Group we can manage the whole opening a bank procedure and do it for you.
The second option is for those who would like to visit the country just for a while and take advantage of that time. If you can come to Spain while on your 3-month legal tourist visa period, you can apply for a temporary NIE, and then go to a bank and open your bank account.
Once you obtain your residence card you can submit it to the bank.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF HAVING A BANK ACCOUNT IN SPAIN?
In general, you will find that banking costs in Spain can be a bit higher than in the rest of European countries. Nevertheless, the exact costs will depend and vary from bank to bank, so doing your research and comparing the perks and conditions each offer will be a crucial step.
In general, the different costs that holding a bank account generate are:
Opening charges and maintenance fees
Even though some won’t include this expense, many banks will charge you a small fee when opening a bank account. Besides, yearly maintenance fees can be also added. We are talking about a modest 10€ cost.
ATM withdrawal fees
When withdrawing money from your own bank account in Spain you won’t be charged any withdrawing fee. You can do it an at cost of 0€ provided that you do it on your bank’s ATM.
Nevertheless, if you withdraw money in an ATM different than the bank in which you have your money, you will then enjoy a fee of about 2€. You shouldn’t have this problem as every single city has plenty of ATM’s evenly distributed.
Finally, transfer fees. And here you should really dig deep and analyze all the different banking options in the country. Then, depending on your future plans, choose one accordingly.
Because some banks have free international transfers. But some can charge you a percentage even when transferring money to another Spanish account. So make sure you have that into consideration when choosing the bank that best adapts to your situation.
But you will also enjoy important discounts
Not everything is as bad as it may seem: there are also several discounts.
The ones presenting more discounts are current accounts. These accounts are usually offered to specific groups such as students or young people. They offer various discounts, so, again, make sure you compare banks.
But, in many cases, if you would like to benefit from those conditions, you need to deposit your salary there. (You can access more information on payrolls here).
Furthermore, banks usually have special discounts for under 26 individuals.
WHICH IS THE BEST BANK IN SPAIN?
Where exactly should you put your money?
There is no denying the fact that this is an important decision: you want safety.
Which one should you choose?
Even though our advice would be to go with one of the big ones, like Sabadell, at the end the best strategy is to analyze and find the bank that offers you the best deals and perks.
In order to help you out with the comparison process, click here in order to access a current account comparison.
GET SPECIAL OFFERS WITH US THAT WILL REALLY BENEFIT YOU
Hope you know have a general overview regarding the banking system in Spain and you have a deep understanding of how should you operate.
Nevertheless, if you would like to receive help to open your expat bank account and enjoy some of the special offers we can get you due to our partnerships, do not hesitate to contact us! We will be glad to guide you through.