Are you interested in opening a bank account? Read on to find out everything you need.
Requirements for opening a bank account
In this section, we want to detail some of the procedures and requirements for opening or contracting a bank account to carry out daily operations.
We must keep in mind that the requirements for opening an account may vary from one entity to another:
Requirements for opening a bank account as a resident
The first step in opening a bank account is to know the Minimum requirements requested by all banking entities, as well as the documentation that must be presented.
If you do not meet any of the personal characteristics or are missing any documentation, you must find out how to correct this fault to open the account.
To prove that you meet these basic requirements for opening a bank account, you must provide documents such as the DNI, a employment contract, past payroll collected and the last Income statements or the quarterly payment of VAT.
After making sure that you meet all the requirements and that you have all the documents to deliver, the second step is to find out about the procedure for opening each bank.
You may have to go to the agency and hand over the documentation to an agent to assess your situation and grant the vacancy.
Or on the contrary, as happens with entities that bet on technological advantages like BBVA, it is possible to take the steps virtually and open an account completely online in a few minutes.
Requirements for opening a bank account as a non-resident
Anyone considered to be a non-resident can go to a bank and request the opening a checking account, having to provide in most cases the Non-Resident Certificate.
For obtain the certificate of non-residence, you need to go to your consulate or any office of the Directorate-General for Police and, with your passport, apply for a certificate of non-residence (usually takes about 10-12 days)
After obtaining the certificate of non-residence, you can go to the bank and open the account.
Documents to open a bank account
The documents you need to open a bank account vary, depending on whether you are registering as a resident or not.
Some banks may also request more documents than others, so it’s a good idea to check your bank’s requirements in advance.
This will ensure that you have all the paperwork done before opening your account.
Documents to open a bank account as a non-resident
To open a bank account as a non-resident, you will need the following documents:
- Passport or valid national ID card not expired (if you are a citizen of the European Union)
- A document to verify your address, which can be a recent bank statement or an invoice from a domiciled service (issued in the last 3 months)
- A document that proves your current employment status (such as payroll, tax returns, or a letter from the government confirming your unemployment status or that you are receiving unemployment insurance).
- Non-resident certificate
- Some banks may also require a so-called «Non-resident Certificate», which is a letter confirming that you are a non-resident. You can obtain this letter by going to the police and showing your passport. Some banks may also offer it to you. Commission change: Each station has different responsibilities, so you should check beforehand if the nearest station offers this service.
In order for documents to be accepted, they must be translated by an official translator, also called a sworn translator.
Depending on where you live, it may be easier or more difficult to find an official translation service and have your documents translated before you travel.
Documents to open a bank account as a resident
To open a bank account as a resident, you will usually need the following documents:
- Your valid, unexpired passport or national identity document (if you are an EU citizen)
- A document that proves your address in Spain (such as a rent, a recent invoice for direct debit services, or a recent bank statement)
- your Spanish NIE number
- A document that proves your current employment situation (such as an employment contract, a student ID or a document that proves that you are unemployed).
- Apply to obtain your NIE (or Foreigner Identity Number), as it will be necessary for any official process, which includes getting a job, renting or buying property, connecting to public services and paying taxes.
Best banking options in Spain
There are dozens of banks in Spain, all of which offer very similar products.
However, the four largest banks are Bankia, BBVA, CaixaBank and Santander.
Here we explain what each of them offers.
This bank offers three types of accounts, Your Easy Account, The Youth Account and Business Account:
- Your easy account:It is a basic bank account that includes a free Visa debit card. You can apply for an account online and make an appointment with a financial advisor to help you collect your documentation.
- The Young Account:Similar to Easy Account, but aimed at young people between 14 and 26 years old, it has the main benefit of not charging a monthly fee, in addition to a free Visa debit card.
- Business account:It is a corporate bank account that grants a variable interest rate each month.
Whether you are a resident or not, BBVA is a good option, thanks to its free accounts.
In addition, the site was designed to be user friendly, facilitating its understanding and navigation.
BBVA has two main accounts: BBVA Online Account and BBVA Online Blue Account, especially for people between 18 and 29 years old.
As their names indicate, you can only apply for these accounts online.
However, you will first have to register as a customer.
This is very simple, just provide an existing bank account number.
Or, a courier service can come and collect your documents as soon as you finish the registration process.
The main attraction of both accounts is that they will not charge a monthly fee for the account and you will also receive a Visa debit card at no cost.
BBVA also offers specialized commercial banking services, adapted to your particular circumstances, as well as products for self-employed workers.
These services include free wire transfers and free check deposits.
CaixaBank’s Hola Bank for non-residents is a basic and uncomplicated bank account and ideal for foreigners.
You will receive a good number of ideal complementary services if you are new to the country.
This includes legal advice in your language, 2 free hours of emergency services (for locksmiths, electricity and plumbing) and free unlimited phone interpretation service.
The Estrella Account comes with no monthly commission plus a free credit card.
You can also get a Tablet, TV or Smartwatch if you deposit your payroll on it.
Alternatively, you can open a youth checking account, free of charge for students aged 18-26.
There are also two types of business account to choose from: the business account and the business account.
- Commercial account, which includes 10 free transfers per month, two credit cards and unlimited check deposits
- Business Account, a similar product ideal for freelancers. With an approach for uninterested entrepreneurs.
If you are from the United Kingdom, you have probably heard about Santander.
Santander ‘s financial products in Spain are very similar to those offered in the United Kingdom.
In particular, the 1/2/3 account is virtually identical to the UK account, where they return up to 3% for some service accounts, in addition to giving you 3% interest if you keep a balance of between 3,000 and 15,000 EUR in your account.
They also have personalized accounts for students and companies.
Unfortunately, Santander products are mainly for residents.
Other banks worth considering
Although one of the four banks mentioned above is probably your best bet if you plan on staying in Spain permanently, it is also worth considering Sabadell, especially if you are a non-resident.
Sabadell is Spain’s fifth largest bank.
He owns TSB, so the name may sound familiar to you if you’re from the UK.
Sabadell Key Account is made specifically for non-residents and comes with a free credit and debit card.
Inbound and outbound transfers within the European Union are free for amounts below EUR 50,000, which is unusual for a bank account.
You will also have a free service of 10 translations per year for documents of up to 500 words.
Bank fees of each bank
Although the market is quite competitive.
The cost of banking services in Spain is relatively high compared to other countries in the European Union.
Fees can also vary considerably from bank to bank.
Therefore, we advise you to compare the options to find the best price.
As a general rule, checking accounts are cheaper to open than other types of accounts.
However, you must deposit your payroll into your account to benefit from more advantageous commissions.
Some banks launch offers from time to time, so maybe you can get a better product according to your needs.
Either way, remember that even with all of this, you may have to pay some extra fees and charges.
Commissions for opening and maintaining accounts
While some banks offer free products (or reduce the monthly fee if you meet certain conditions).
You will almost always have to pay a monthly fee simply to maintain a bank account, called a maintenance fee.
Depending on the bank, this commission can reach 8 euros per month.
You may also need to pay a commission to open your account and deposit a minimum amount to activate it.
Withdrawing money from an ATM is usually free if you use your own bank’s machines.
However, expect to be charged around € 2 per transaction when withdrawing money from ATMs belonging to other banks.
Many banks offer free international transfers (or low-fee transfers) to their non-resident accounts.
That said, in most cases, you will have a limited number of transfers. After that, you will start to have the normal types. Or the maximum amount you can transfer will be limited.
Either way, the bank can still charge a hefty commission. Most importantly, favorable transfer fees usually apply only to non-resident bank accounts.
Making an international transfer via your resident account is rarely the best option. You may also be charged for transferring money between two Spanish accounts.
Most of the time, this charge is a percentage commission with a minimum amount to be paid, usually between 1.50 and 3.50 percent of each transaction.
Always read bank fees carefully so they don’t take you by surprise.
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