Bank Accounts in Spain
Whether you are planning to stay full time in Spain, or just commute back and forward to your home in the sun, having a Spanish bank account makes life so much easier and additionally, is massively cheaper than using a UK debit or credit card abroad.
First thing to say, is that there is plenty of choice. Providers are split into types. You have the traditional banks and then the Cajas, or savings banks. The latter can sometimes be distinct to a specific region only.
Opening an account is usually a fairly simple operation. If you require to take a mortgage in Spain, the provider in question will ask that a current account be opened with them. Otherwise, it’s a question of popping into the one of your choice. You will need your passport and sometimes, but not always, a proof of address. Spain tend to be very mindful of money laundering, so don’t be surprised if you are asked for some proof of income. Variously, this can be a P60, SA302’s for the self-employed, or anything else official proving income. Some, but not all, will also require you to have an NIE (certificado de no residencia).
What you need to know about opening a bank account in Spain
The basic offering is a current account with a debit card and the facility to accept direct debits, useful for helping pay the likes of community fees, utility bills and taxes. Pretty much all charge a fee for running the account, with a small annual fee on top for providing a debit card. it’s worth mentioning, that some Cajas, will significantly drop or completely remove all account fees, if you become a member, by buying ‘capital social’ (equivalent to shares). Typically, this can be as little as €6,000.
All banks and Cajas offer internet banking, with easy to use apps for mobile devices, there are auto-banks aplenty too. Withdrawing funds or checking balances out-with your own banks’ branch network of machines, will incur a fee, so make sure you always pay close attention to the onscreen messages. If you can’t find a branch of your own bank nearby, at least make sure you use a machine in the same shared network, otherwise the cost of using these services will be higher still.
Finally, by far and away the most expensive way to send funds to your new account In Spain, is directly through your bank in the UK. Far better to use a specialist service, such as FC Exchange. The rate will be considerably better, little or no fees will apply and funds, will normally be in your Spanish bank account by the next day at the latest.