Being an expat you have to go through a million things before you can start doing your everyday tasks with ease. One of the most important things to do is to open your own bank account to undertake your everyday transactions which include paying bills, ordering things and transferring money. If you are new in Spain opening an bank account can be a daunting task. This article will provide a detailed guideline on how to get your new bank account in Spain.
Two types of banks operate in Spain: “Cajas” and “Bancos”. Cajas are state owned and usually bear the name of the region in which the bank is located. Bancos are privately owned financial institutions which are commonly named after the founder. Generally Cajas offer a much better service compared to the Bancos.
What documentation is needed to open an account?
The banks in Spain much like any other country in Europe provide the customers with two kinds of bank accounts: a resident bank account (Cuenta para Residentes) or a non resident bank account (Cuenta para No Residentes). The necessary documentation will differ according to this. As an expat you will be applying for the non resident account. To apply for the non-resident account you need to obtain proof that you are a non-resident. To obtain such proof you need to go the main police station of your locality with your passport and a full photocopy of your passport and apply for a “Certificado de No Residencia” (certificate of non-residency). The signed certificate will be ready after 10 days. The other option you have is letting the bank act on your behalf. You just have to sign a form giving the bank permission and the bank will take care of the rest, but this usually takes up to 2 to 3 weeks and has a 15 euro charge.
Types of accounts in Spain
After you have obtained the necessary documents to apply for a bank account the next task in line is to make your choice of what kind of account you want which depends on your needs. If you make transactions frequently and may need cash on short notice you should go to the Current Account (Cuenta Corriente) which has the flexibility of transactions but gives very low or no interest at all. If flexibility is not your concern then you can choose between either a Savings Account (Cuenta de Ahorros) or a Deposit Account (Cuenta de Deposito). A savings account provides you with a savings book rather than an ATM card but gives a good interest rate. A deposit account is pretty much the same but gets you a lower interest rate.
Now to address all the common concerns and questions while opening a bank account. You get a ATM/Debit card when you open a current account but not with a savings account. Most shops and businesses accept debit cards so it will make your daily spendings easy. Check books aren’t issued automatically to your account. You have to apply for one separately if you want to have one. Spanish banks offer Direct Debit Facilities and internet banking like most other European countries. The traditional operating time of the banks in Spain on weekdays are from 9am to 2pm and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday. I hope this article helps you get your first bank account in Spain and easily conduct your everyday transactions.