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Opening a bank account in Italy

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You may need to open a bank account if you are settling in Italy. Here is some information on steps to be taken to open a bank account.

Opening a bank account can be quite difficult for an expatriate in Italy although the Italian banking system is highly developed and globalized. Moreover, most Italians do not have a current account, unlike in other European countries. You are thus advised to inquire on the banking system well in advance to avoid surprises. Take the time to search for required documents. You will also have to be patient.

Each Italian bank has its own rules and fee schedules. Do not hesitate to compare the different offers. However, bear in mind that the country's banks are relatively expensive for consumers.

Types of accounts

Like in most foreign countries, Italian banks provide several types of bank accounts to their customers. Thus, the bank agent will ask you if you prefer to open a:

  • simple current account
  • joint current account, if you are a couple (you will have to specify whether one or both spouses' signatures will be required for any transaction request). The first option is called Conto Corrente Cointestato, and the Conto Corrente a Firme Congiunte.

The Conto Estero is reserved for non-residents.

In all cases, you have to be more than 18 years old.

Requirements for opening a current account (conto corrente or conto di base) are:

  • a valid identity card for each client in case of a joint account
  • each holder's tax code if it is a joint account
  • proof of address (any bill on which your name and address are listed)
  • a certificate of residence according to some banks' internal regulations.

Different ways to open your bank account

You may open a bank account in any bank of your choice. But you are advised to choose the nearest bank to your home or workplace as banking schedules are quite restrictive.

You may also obtain a bank account opening request form which you can fill in and send by post to the concerned bank. Internet banking is also very widespread in Italy. Make sure to read and understand existing conditions and regulations and to compare services.

Rates

Each bank is free to set its own fees for the various services it offers to its customers. Note that credit cards are charged between 4 and 6 euros. As for ATM, it is preferable to withdraw cash from your own bank's machines. Otherwise, you will be entitled to penalties varying between 1 and 3 euros.

Moreover, check cashing and bank transfers are subject to taxation which is proportional to amounts received or issued.

 Useful links:

UniCredit www.unicredit.it
BNL www.bnl.it
Intesa Sanpaolo www.intesasanpaolo.com
List of major banks in Italy www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca

Online banks: Ing Direct Italia www.ingdirect.it
CheBanca www.chebanca.it
IWBank www.iwbank.fr

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