Opening a bank account in Spain for a non-resident

Spain’s golden beaches call to numerous holiday goers worldwide, yet the country is also a popular destination when it comes to studying or working abroad, as well as property purchasing – and when it comes to the last three, a bank account is definitely a requirement. Fortunately, opening a bank account in Spain, even as a non-resident, is relatively easy. There are just a few vital factors to keep in mind first…

Why do you need to open a bank account in Spain?

Not only does opening a bank account in Spain make day-to-day living in the country much simpler, it is also required for more major transactions, such as buying real estate, which requires a local bank account number.

Even though resident bank accounts tend to be more flexible, opening one as a non-resident will be much easier. And you can always switch over to a resident account should you decide to make your stay in Spain more permanent – simply make an appointment at your local branch and ensure you have the necessary documentation.

What types of bank accounts are available?

When it comes to opening a bank account in Spain, there are various options to choose from, with the three main ones being:

  • Current/checking account (cuentacorriente): the most typical type of account for undertaking essential, day-to-day banking activities. The interest rates for current accounts that remain in credit are usually quite low, if any interests are paid at all.
  • Savings account (cuenta de ahorro): this option offers higher interest rates, but with a limited range of banking services and/or limited access to money, particularly at short notice. An ATM/debit card is provided for a current account, but not for a savings.
  • Deposit account (cuenta de depósito): as with savings accounts, these are aimed at customers who want to earn a higher rate of interest on their money; however, this type of account does not permit day-to-day banking operations.

What documentation is required to open an account?

For opening a bank account in Spain as a non-resident, you will need the following:

  1. Proof of identity, such as your passport;
  2. Foreigneridentificationnumber and certificate (número de identificación de extranjerosor NIE);
  3. Non-residence certificate;I will probably remove it although I saw one article listing it.
  4. Proof of address in Spain (less than 3 month old empadronamiento, utility bill, etc.) where correspondence might be sent. Note that most banks allow clients to either pick up the correspondence at the bank or exchange their correspondence by electronic means via e-banking systems;
  5. Proof of employment status or place where the funds have originated (employment agreement, income tax certificates, or a letter confirming your unemployment status,receiving state benefits, etc.).

All documents that are not in Spanish or issued by Spanish authorities need to be translated into Spanish. A legalized translation is sometimes preferred by some banks.

Please note that some banks may require more documentation than others, which is why it’s advisable to check with your relevant bank ahead of time to ensure you have the necessary paperwork.

What banking fees are involved?

Note that fees can vary significantly from bank to bank, which is why it is advisable to shop around to find the bank that best suits your needs and budget. However, you should expect to pay at least some of the following fees and charges:

Account opening and maintenance fees

Although certain banks do offer free products or waive their monthly fee if you meet certain criteria, a standard monthly fee is implemented in most cases for holding a bank account, which is called a maintenance fee. Depending on the bank, this fee can be upwards of €8 a month.

An account opening fee may also be required, as well as an initial minimum deposit in order to activate your account.

ATM fees

Withdrawing from an ATM is usually free providing that you use your bank’s ATM machines. However, you can expect to be charged in the region of €2 per transaction when you withdraw money from another bank’s ATMs.

Transfer fees

Many banks offer free international transfers (or transfers at advantageous rates) on their non-resident accounts. However, in most cases there’ll be a limit placed on the number of transfers (after which you’ll start being charged the normal rate), or you’ll be limited to a maximum amount per transfer. Either way, the foreign bank may still charge you a heavy fee.

You may also face a fee for transferring money between two Spanish accounts. Quite often, this charge is a percentage commission with a minimum amount payable, often in the region of €1.50 to €3.50 per transaction. Be sure to read your bank’s schedule of fees carefully so you know what to expect.

Where to open your bank account in Spain

There are various Spanish domestic banks that are adept at working with non-residents, including:

Please keep in mind that not all banks in Spain are working with non-resident clients, which is why some research beforehand is definitely advisable.