How to open a bank account in Spain


The benefits of opening a bank account in Spain

5 minute read

While you can manage all transactions from your international payments account, it can be simpler to manage many aspects of your finances from a local account. There are two different types of accounts: a resident and non-resident account. The principal difference relates to your tax obligations, but it will depend on how much time you spend in Spain as to which you will be appropriate.

Moving to Spain, whether on a part time or full time basis, will require that you open a Spanish bank account to receive payment either from your salary, pension or from your holdings in the UK and abroad.


Can I open a Spanish bank account as a non-resident?

If you are planning on opening a bank account in Spain as a foreigner, applying for a non-resident account tends to be the best option. Non-resident accounts are for people who spend up to 183 days (6 months) each year in Spain, and they are well-suited to people who spend the winter months in Spain and return to the UK for the rest of the year.

Alternatively, if you become a resident in Spain, opening an account with a Spanish bank is a relatively straightforward process. Provided you live in the country full-time, you’ll be entitled to a resident account which comes with fewer charges, although you will be taxed on the balance.


Can you open a Spanish bank account from the UK?

Yes, in some instances you’ll be able to open a non-resident account with a Spanish bank before you move there, although this will of course depend on the bank you wish to open an account with. This can either be done online or over the phone, and will most likely require you to submit identification paperwork by post or email.

While you can start the application process online, there are many advantages to applying in person. One of these is transparency as, unless you’re fluent in Spanish, you’ll find that the English translations provided may not be as accurate as you need them to be to make the right decision. Applying in person means that you can talk through your requirements and ensure that you’re getting the right account for you. It also gives you an opportunity to shop around and find local branches that are convenient and meet your requirements.


What do I need to open a bank account in Spain?

So, what do you need to open a bank account in Spain? The documents and identification that you need to open a bank account in Spain depend on the type of account you wish to open, as well as the policy of the bank you choose. However, most have similar requirements. For a resident account, the following items are required:

  • A valid, current passport or national identity card if you’re an EU citizen.
  • A document that proves your address in Spain, such as a utility bill that is less than three months old, or a recent bank statement from another Spanish bank.
  • Your NIE number, or Número de Identidad de Extranjero, an identification and tax number for foreigners in Spain
  • Proof of your employment status (such as an employment contract, a student card or unemployment paperwork).


Additional documents needed for a non-resident account with a Spanish bank

If you’re applying for a non-resident bank account, you will be required to provide the same items for registration as a resident would, however you will also need to collect a ‘Certificado de No Residente’. This can be obtained from your local police station or you can request that the bank provides this for you, although there will be a charge of around €15 for this service.


Which Spanish banks can I open an account with?

Spain has a wide variety of banks that allow for both resident and non-resident accounts. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Banco Santander
  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA)
  • CaixaBank
  • Banco de Sabadell
  • Bankia
  • Banco Popular Español
  • Bankinter

Even if you have a UK bank account with an international bank that operates in Spain (such as Santander), you will still need to apply separately for a Spanish account. Although it may speed up the process and have additional advantages to have both UK and Spanish accounts with the same organisation, it’s important to research the advantages and disadvantages. Another organisation may have an account that is better value or better suits your needs, so research all your choices just as you would with any other provider.


Can I open a student bank account in Spain?

Many of the major banks have branches on campus in Spanish universities. You’ll need your student card as proof of your student status, and in addition you can enjoy various additional benefits and special offers. In some cases, enrolment fees are waived, or different bank accounts will offer the chance to pay fees in instalments or offer free benefits that are charged on some standard bank accounts such as online banking.

Bear in mind that in Spain, you will be charged by any ATM which is not run by your bank, so you might want to check which banks have ATMs conveniently on campus.


Sending money between the UK and Spain

All banks within Spain will allow you to send and receive money from the UK. However, you may incur significant transfer fees and a less favourable exchange rate when converting money with your high street banks. Making frequent payments to and from your home country can exacerbate this, which is why working with an overseas payment specialist such as moneycorp is crucial to help you get the most out of your money.

Sign up for a free account today and make your overseas payments go further.


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