2014-07-30 07:12:00

Spanish residents and non-residents are allowed to open a bank account in the country. Non-residents, however, have to produce a non-resident certificate.

European citizens and holders of residence permits can easily open a bank account in Spain. The majoy hurdle will be obtaining a NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero), an identification number for foreigners in Spain. Non-residents will be required to provide a non-resident certificate in order to open an account.

If you already have a NIE then all you have to do is select a bank, complete the necessary forms, and submit valid identity documents including:

  • your passport
  • your foreigner identification number: NIE
  • proof of funds (employment contract, payslips, student card, pension statement),
  • proof of address in Spain or, equally, your local residency registration (empadronamiento) may be helpful

Opening an account in Spain as a non-resident

Non-residents can open bank accounts in Spain provided that they submit a non-resident certificate (certificado de non-residente) 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 a copy of your passport. You will then be called to collect your certificate within 15 days. Once the certificate is issued, you can go ahead with the opening of your bank account, which will be immediately activated. Note that most Spanish banks don’t require a minimum deposit. 

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. 

If you become a Spanish resident afterwards, make sure to inform your bank regarding your change of status. Moreover, the bank will make necessary checks every two years. 

Transactions and bank charges

A debit card will be delivered by post without difficulty. Please note that cheques are hardly used in the country nowadays and are not usually supplied as standard. Credit cards are available, however they come with various conditions.

Most Spanish banks charge current operations and maintenance of bank accounts for up to €5 monthly. Online banks without monthly fees (such as ING Direct) are harder to find and tend to be more restricted in terms of which ATMs you can use.

In Spain you'll find many national banks, such as BBVA, la Caixa, Sabadell, Santander and provincial banks - you can choose from among more than 150 of them. 

In general, Spanish banks allow you to make national and international bank transfers by producing your IBAN, which is found on bank statements. You may also request a direct debit (domicilación bancaria) to settle your electricity and phone bills.

ATMs are available everywhere in Spain. However, make sure to check which network is the most appropriate for your card, else additional charges around €2 will apply on cash withdrawals. 

 Important:

You may be surprised to see the level of bank charges in Spain, which tend to be higher than in most European countries. When choosing your bank, check for monthly fees, cash withdrawal fees and transaction fees. Note that international transfers can get expensive. Since most ATMs carry withdrawal fees, make sure to choose a bank that offers free ATMs near you – provincial banks can be an unpractical choice when travelling or moving within Spain.

 Good to know:

Paying by cash or debit card is very common in Spain; at the same time, the rate of payment by credit card is one of the lowest in Europe. 

Opening hours

In general, banks are open from Monday to Friday from 8.30am or 9am to 2pm or 2.30pm. Some of them remain open till late once a week or on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. 

 Useful links: 

Banco de España www.bde.es
List of banks in Spain www.bde.es/webbde

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.