Are you thinking of making a significant move to Spain? It's simple to understand why: the country boasts lovely sun-kissed weather, delicious cuisine, and a high standard of living.
You'll most likely have a lengthy to-do list to complete prior to your move. However, opening a bank account should be at the top of your priority list. If you have the proper documents, this shouldn't be too tough. Because Spain has a big expat population, numerous banks cater to non-residents and newcomers.
If you live, work, or study in Spain, you are not required to have a Spanish bank account, but life can be difficult without one. You'll need a mechanism to get paid by your boss, as well as pay your bills and other necessities.
If you've recently returned to or are considering making Spain your next vacation destination, here's how to open a bank account in Spain.
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How to Open a Spanish Bank Account as a Foreigner
How does Banking look like in Spain?
Spain has a substantial and well-established banking sector, with several big-name multinational banks, most notably Santander and BBVA, calling the country home. Spain's banking and financial services business is mostly controlled by traditional big-name firms, while there has been a growth in digital-only banks, non-bank e-money fintechs, and other bank-like solutions in recent years, according to Banco de España (much like in the rest of Europe).
In Spain, banks are likewise severely regulated in terms of financial risk. As a consumer looking for the best banking offer, you'll almost certainly come across a one-to-six risk rating on each bank account's website, with 1/6 being the lowest risk and 6/6 being the highest.
Practically all basic current accounts at Spanish banks have a 1/6 rating, which means your money is safe from risky lending practices and financial instruments. Furthermore, the Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions, which protects deposits up to €100,000.001, is a member of the major Spanish banks. These two safeguards, when combined, make Spanish banks exceptionally safe and secure for their customers.
To live in Spain, it is not necessary to hold a bank account, according to Spanish legislation. However, because to the country's highly computerized economy (card payments and bank transfers are the standard in Spain), it will be tough to go about your daily business without one. Even if you're a foreigner, the Spanish banking system is easy to understand (yes, even for you).
How to open a non-resident bank account in Spain
The good news for newcomers to Spain is that both resident and non-resident accounts are available. While a resident bank account may offer more flexibility and benefits, a non-resident account is usually significantly easier to open.
Later on, you can change or upgrade to a resident account. You must follow the bank's requirements in order to open a non-resident bank account in Spain. All paperwork must be completed and forms must be submitted with your documents.
In a branch of your selected bank in Spain, for example, is one of the most popular places to begin the procedure. Make an appointment ahead of time and request an English speaker (or bring a friend as a translator). Your new account will normally be open and ready to use in 1-5 days if everything is in order.
What Documents are required to Open a Spanish Bank Account?
When opening a bank account, keep in mind that the law differentiates between residents and non-residents, thus the benefits offered by banking companies for accounts, the regulations, and the documents required will differ depending on whether you are a resident of Spain or not.
Requirements needed as a Resident
If you are a resident and want to open an account, you will be required to provide the following documents:
- Your National Insurance Number (NIE) (Identity Number for Foreigners).
- A utility bill, such as electricity or gas; a rental contract; etc., proving your address in Spain.
- An employment contract, a student card, or an unemployment certificate are examples of documents that establish your employment status.
- Your passport or, if you are from the European Union, your country of origin's Identity Document, which must be current and not expired.
Requirements needed as a Non Resident
If you are a non-resident and want to open a bank account, the process is a little more complicated, and you will require the following documents:
- Valid and not expired passport or national identity papers from your country of origin.
- A document confirming your address in Spain, such as a power bill invoice from the last three months.
- A paystub, income statement, or formal unemployment paperwork that shows your employment status.
- Certificate of Non-Resident: This document can be obtained by producing your passport or national document of your country of origin at any of the National Police stations that offer this service. Some banks will provide you a non-residence certificate if you pay a fee.
- The documents must be translated by a legal translator or sworn translator if the language is an impediment.
In addition, you must comply with the bank's other conditions in order to finish the contract.
Types of bank accounts in Spain
The first step in opening a bank account is to learn about the many types of bank accounts available.
Current Account Or Cuenta bancaria Or Cuenta corriente
Current accounts are the most widespread, and all institutions provide at least one type. They do not pay a return, but they do allow you to deposit money and withdraw it at any time. They can also be used to make payments by direct debit, transfers, credit and debit cards, and so on.
Remunerated Account Or Cuenta de depósito
The money deposited in this account earns a return. It also varies from a current account in that it does not allow you to make direct debit payments or perform routine transactions like withdrawing cash from ATMs.
Number's Account Or Cuenta nomina
This product functions like a savings account, albeit it often pays a lesser interest rate than a remunerated account. Its key distinction is that it permits bills to be paid by direct debit.
Housing Account Or Cuenta de ahorros
This account also serves as a savings vehicle, similar to an interest-bearing or salary account, but with tax benefits. To qualify for the tax benefit, the whole balance must be utilized to purchase a new home or renovate an existing one, and the funds must be available within a four-year period.
The Best Spanish Banks For Non Residents
There are numerous large Spanish banking organizations, all of which provide identical expat packages. Even though there are costs if you withdraw cash from an ATM that is not owned or operated by your bank or its partners, ATM networks are widespread and generally communicate with one another.
If you choose any of the four main banks in the country: Bankia, BBVA, La Caixa, and Santander, you will have lots of alternatives when it comes to free accounts, online applications, mobile banking, phone service, and many other bonuses.
Bankia: This Spanish bank offers a variety of account options, including the Cuenta Facil, a basic current account that comes with a free Visa debit card and can be applied for online. They also have a youth account called Cuenta Joven, which is for people between the ages of 14 and 26.
There is no monthly cost for this account. There are a variety of business accounts to choose from, as well as several ATMs and branches.
Santander: This bank is recognized for its 1|2|3 account, which offers 3% cashback on selected bills and 3% interest on balances of 3 to 15 thousand euros. Unfortunately, Santander's primary focus is on residents, and their website is in Spanish, making it difficult to begin the procedure unless you know Spanish or have a friend who can assist you. Their network is one of Spain's largest.
BBVA: BBVA is an excellent option because of its extensive network and the variety of accounts available, all of which are free of monthly fees. Their website is available in English, which is convenient. The BBVA Online Account and the BBVA Blue Online Account with fast registration are their top two online accounts.
There are a variety of business banking choices available, including all of the usual conveniences like overdraft protection and business finance. According to Forrester Research's 2019 study, its mobile app was voted the top banking app in the world for the third time.
Banco de Sabadell: The fifth largest Spanish banking group provides a page dedicated to non-residents, offering two types of accounts: Key Account and Expansion Account. The Key Account is designed to assist overseas consumers with their day-to-day financial management.
It provides free debit and credit cards as well as transfers, as well as a translation service to make life easier for expats who do not speak Spanish. There are no administrative or maintenance fees with the Expansion Account, and it comes with debit and credit cards. When a consumer deposits their pension, salary, or makes a regular deposit, it is free of bank costs.
La Caixa: Their current bank account for non-residents is also a wonderful option because it includes a number of extras such as legal assistance, emergency services, and something that could come in handy: a free translator that you can use for anything.
Furthermore, its Cuenta Estrella is free and includes a credit card. If you deposit your pay into this account, you'll receive a tablet, TV, or smartwatch. Their network is quite extensive.
What banking fees are involved?
It's important to keep in mind that costs can vary greatly from bank to bank, so it's wise to shop around to locate the bank that best fits your needs and budget. You should, however, anticipate paying at least part of the following fees and charges:
Fees for creating and maintaining an account
Although some banks offer free items or reduce monthly fees if you satisfy specific criteria, most banks charge a maintenance fee for keeping a bank account. This fee might range from €8 to €10 each month, depending on the bank.
To activate your account, you may be needed to pay an account opening fee as well as make an initial minimum deposit.
Fees charged by ATMs
If you use your bank's ATM machines, withdrawing money from an ATM is usually free. When withdrawing money from another bank's ATMs, however, you may expect to pay around €2 per transaction.
Fees for transfers
On their non-resident accounts, many banks offer free international transfers (or transfers at reduced rates). However, in most circumstances, there will be a restriction on the number of transfers you can make (after which you'll be charged the standard rate) or a maximum amount per transfer. In any case, the foreign bank may slap you with a hefty fee.
Transferring money between two Spanish accounts may potentially incur a cost. This fee is frequently a % commission with a minimum payment, typically in the range of €1.50 to €3.50 per transaction. Make sure you understand your bank's fee schedule so you know what to expect.
Online Banking Options in Spain
If you wish to use your new bank account in Spain to send money back to your home country, you're likely to overspend because banks don't always utilize the mid-market rate when transferring money on your behalf.
Because this rate, which is the currency conversion rate used when a bank transfers money to another, is so low, banks charge a premium over it, plus the SWIFT fee, in order to earn a profit. In some areas, fees might amount to as much as 10% of the overall transfer amount. This is a fact with any financial transfer.
But now, Online banks have made things easier for people to do their transactions. And there are several online or virtual banks that you can see outside now that will make things easier for you with the likes of Wise, Cash App, Chime, Venmo, and many others. And so, to get a bank account in any of these, you can see the below article and learn how to Create an online or virtual bank account for free.
MUST READ: How to Open a Bank Account Online for Free
Opening a Bank Account in Spain From the UK
It is absolutely possible to open a bank account in Spain from the UK, regardless of whether or not you are a resident there, as we'll go over in more detail below. To create a bank account in Spain from the United Kingdom, you'll need either an NIE number (which confirms you don't live in Spain but yet want to do business there, such as open a bank account) or proof of residence.
Opening a full-fledged bank account in Spain from the United Kingdom will almost always necessitate a personal visit to the country. If you want to stay in the UK and open a non-resident account, several banks enable online registration.
BBVA, for example, offers a Basic Payment Account to new customers who complete an online application and video chat. (We'll go into basic accounts and their benefits and drawbacks later.)
Ending Remarks on how to Create a Spanish Bank Account for Non Residents
All Spanish banks now make it simple to open an account online, thanks to technological advancements. In fact, they provide a wealth of information regarding the benefits and prices they charge on their separate websites and applications. This information will surely assist you in selecting the type of account or financial service that is most appropriate for your needs.
Well, we have provided all necessary info above for you to create your Spanish account as a Non Resident and we have also provided some requirements you will need as a Resident. Check them out and know how you can open your Spanish account.
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