How to open a bank account in Spain

How to open a bank account in Spain

David Pelayo

How to open a bank account in Spain as a resident?

Are you planning on settling in Spain and wanting to know a little more about how to open a bank account in Spain?

Do you have a plan to start a business in Spain but opening a Spanish bank account is necessary and you need to know which documents are required?

Read the following to find all the answers to your questions.

What are the steps for opening a bank account in Spain?

Firstly, you should know there are two types of accounts in Spain: The accounts for residents and for non-residents.

A account for residents is meant for tax residents in Spain, spanish or foreigners, but for those who can prove their residence (with a Certificado de Empadronamiento) and those who pay taxes in Spain.

A account for non-residents, on the other hand, is intended for non residents but still with a property in Spain (e.g. a holiday home) or working in Spain but not as spanish tax-resident, so they don’t spend more than 183 days in Spain nor do they pay taxes.

Note that commissions are higher for a non-resident.

Regardless whether you’re resident or not, to open an account just head to the bank of your choice with the required documents. To help you with choosing, here is a ranking of the best Spanish banks based on their reputation.

  • Santander
  • La Caixa
  • BBVA
  • Bankinter
  • ING Direct
  • Banco Sabadell
  • Banco Popular
  • Banesto

Some small pointers with regards to Santander, La Caixa, BBVA and Sabadell: Santander is one of the largest banks in Europe, but proves to be a little inflexible, La Caixa is a mutual fund, BBVA works primarily with Latin American whilst Sabadell is a business bank for entrepreneurs and is most suited to foreign investors.

So, if you are planning to start a business in Spain, we recommend you head to Sabadell since they are used to dealing with foreign business owners.

Which documents are required to open a bank account?

If you aren’t a Spanish resident, go to the bank branch of your choice with your passport or ID card as well as your NIE number. Be aware that banks are obliged to ensure that their customers always have this non-residency status every two years. Banks in Spain require no minimum deposit amount to open an account in EUR but may request one if you wish to open one in a foreign currency. As for management fees, most banks charge a small amount for the annual management of the account of around 15 to 25 €.

Opening an account as a Spanish resident

You will need your NIE for this but once you have obtained it, take it to the bank with a piece of ID, a residency card and proof of address in Spain.

Opening an account as a non-resident

The difference between the two accounts for a resident and a non-resident is that for non-residents the account is not taxable. It is therefore completely possible to open an account as a non-resident.

How to open a bank account in Spain as a non-resident?

Despite the economic crisis that occurred in Spain in past years, banking culture allows non-residents to take advantage of a number of benefits.

Whether it’s for business or for a holiday, opening an account at Spanish bank is very simple and has many advantages:

  • Management of your account online.
  • International transfers.
  • Some banks offer services without fees or commission too.

It’s also worth nothing that the economic recovery in late 2013 has allowed the Spanish banking system to solidify and has attracted many foreign investors.

You arrive to Spain and it’s time to open your bank account but you’re unsure about several different things:

  • What type of bank account?
  • What are the conditions for the account etc?

Here are the answers to your questions.

What are the necessary documents?

According to banks, several types of documents may be requested.

To ensure that you’re not stuck in the bank trying to open an account, here are the documents you must have:

  • A certificate of non residence that can be obtained by going to a national police station, it should take around 2 weeks to get it. Sometimes, the bank may charge for this.
  • A passport or ID card.
  • Proof of employment status.
  • Proof of address NB.

It is mandatory that you renew your certificate of non residence every 2 years and that you notify the bank if you become a resident.

Can I open a bank account in Spain as a non-resident from abroad?

You can’t open a bank account in Spain from abroad. You must be in Spain and meet the banker in order to do so. If necessary, you can hire an interpreter or a consulting firm to assist you.

Do I need to make an initial deposit?

Traditionally, Spanish banks do not require a large deposit, a few hundred Euros are sufficient. Opening an account itself is free of charge. Note that non-resident travellers in Spain must declare all sums in excess of 6.010 € in cash.

With which bank should I open my account?

In Spain there are universal banks and savings banks. The services offered by each of these are very similar though. It may be best to go with a bank with account management such as Banco Sabadell or La Caixa.

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