It is not difficult for an expat to open a bank account in Spain provided you fill in related formalities. Here is some useful information on the steps to follow.
European citizens and holders of residence permits can easily open bank accounts in Spain. All they need to do is select a bank, complete the necessary forms, submit a valid identity card or a residence permit, a passport and proof of residence in Spain.
Non-residents can open bank accounts in Spain provided that they submit a non-resident certificate delivered by the "Dirección General de la Policía" (local police station). To apply for a non-resident certificate, simply go to the nearest police station and submit your passport ( photocopies). You will then be in a position to collect your certificate within two weeks. Once the certificate is issued, you can go ahead with the opening of your bank account, which will be immediately activated. Note that a minimum deposit is not required by most Spanish banks.
If you're not in possession of your non-resident certificate, some banks will agree to open your account provided that you submit your certificate within a prescribed period of time. Your bank account will only be activated upon receipt of the certificate. In this case, additional charges apply.
A debit card and a checkbook will be delivered without difficulty. Please note that checks are seldom used in the country. Credit cards are delivered upon conditions. For more information about credit cards, contact your bank in Spain.
Spanish banks charge current operations and maintenance of bank accounts for around €30 per year. You'll find many banks in Spain (provincial or national), and you can choose among more than 150 financial institutions.
Good to know:
Paying cash is very common in Spain; at the same time, the rate of payment by credit card is one of the lowest in Europe.