How to open Spanish bank account ?

First of all, if you plan on staying in Spain for longer than six months, you will probably need a bank account. For foreigners in Spain, there are two types of bank accounts: resident and non-resident accounts. Banking and payments will be easier once you open a bank account in Spain, especially if you don’t have a ‘chip and pin’ debit or credit card.

Requirements for opening an account:

  • applicants must be aged 18 or over
  • photographic proof of identity (passport or National Identity Card from the country of origin for each of the applicants)
  • proof of occupation or status (employment contract/payslip, letter from accountant/lawyer, pension or disability payment confirmation, student card). This is an extra requirement introduced in 2007 by the Bank of Spain as a measure to combat money-laundering
  • residents also need to produce their Foreigner Identification Number and certificate (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros or NIE)
  • confirmation of address (utility bill, driving licence or council tax bill; proof of address must have been issued within the last 3 months)


Baking fees in the Madrid

Most banks charge an annual fee for administration of a current account (cuenta corriente). This is more or less EURO 15–30. There are often additional charges for credit (tarjeta de crédito) and debit cards (tarjeta de débito); additional account holders; savings accounts (cuenta de ahorros) and other items like cheque/check books. Expect to also pay a number of small fees, such as a charge of EUR 0.50–3 for withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs.

It is possible to avoid many of these fees by shopping around. A paycheque account (cuenta nómina) typically has lower charges but must be the account your salary is paid into. Special offers available at time of writing include free credit and debit cards with a no-fee salary account and no-fee online-only accounts with major institutions. Students, young people (30 or under) and those over 55 may also qualify for discounts.


Opening a Spanish bank account before you move

Many Spanish banks accept non-resident accounts, so it is possible to set up an account in advance of your move. It’s easiest to do this in person, though, as credit cards and cheque books typically can’t be sent internationally. Many banks have websites and phone services, and a few even offer these in English. Internet-only banks are typically only available for residents. A bank with a quick turn around can open an account and provide a card, cheque book and PIN (to collect from the branch) within a week.


Money Transfer to Abroad

Moving money from your account in Spain to an account elsewhere may result in a fee from both banks. Spanish banks usually charge fees of around 3€–15€ for outgoing payments, and may also charge for receiving funds. Find out your bank’s fixed rate (probably not published on their website) as it will normally be cheaper than a wire service for large amounts but likely more expensive than online systems (eg. PayPal) for small amounts. Banks will often refuse to send funds to certain countries, eg. USA. You might also see what rates private money transfer companies offer, although be sure to include any commissions in your cost calculations.