If you are planning to purchase a property in Spain then it’s a good idea to open a Spanish bank account. As a foreigner you can open a non-resident bank account – this will make life easier for you as you will be able to manage your transactions from a local account. Although it’s by no means a legal requirement, if you need a Spanish mortgage or if you are planning on renting out your property in Spain then ultimately a Spanish bank account will save you from having to pay high exchange rates and banking charges.
Choosing a bank in Spain
The banking system in Spain is regulated by Spain’s national bank – Banco de Espana. There is a wide variety of national and international banks to choose from in the country, so it is worth shopping around for the best deal. Some things you might want to consider when doing your homework include:
- Costs (most banks will charge opening and ongoing maintenance fees)
- Mortgage rates (where relevant)
- Range of services (insurance, loans, international transfers)
- Ease of access (24/7 mobile or phone banking),
- English speaking advisers
Spain’s biggest banks include: BBVA, Banco Santander, Banco Sabadell, Banco Popular Espanol and CaixaBank. Each of these banks offers both resident and non-resident bank accounts.
Can I open a bank account in Spain from the UK?
This will of course depend on which bank you choose, but usually you will be able to open a non-resident bank account from the UK either online or on the telephone. You might find it easier to open the account in person whilst you are in Spain, as then you will be able to discuss all your individual requirements in person.
What documents do I need?
To open your bank account you will typically be asked to provide the following documents:
- Proof of identity
- NIE number and certificate (see our blog post on obtaining your NIE here)
- Proof of address
- Employment status
For a non-resident bank account you will also need to supply a Certificadode no residencia (obtained via the local police station or via your chosen bank, for a small fee).
Do bear in mind that if you have selected to open an account with a national or regional Spanish bank then any documents that are not in Spanish may have to be officially translated and authenticated.
What about digital or mobile banks?
Bunq, N26 and Revolut are mobile only banking providers that offer accounts to residents or non-residents in Spain. Opening the account usually only takes a few minutes and can be managed entirely from your smartphone. Fees are normally lower for these banks but the services offered may be more limited.