Guide on how to open a bank account in Spain

Guide on how to open a bank account in Spain

2023-11-16 01:10:52

Do I need to get a Spanish bank account? This a question that a lot of expats wonder about. This article will try to solve your doubts about whether or not you need to open a bank account and guide you through the steps to open a bank account.


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1. Is it necessary to open a bank account?

2. What documents do I need to open a bank account?

3. What are the costs of having a bank account in Spain?

4. Which are the most recommended banks for expats?

5. Is it necessary to have my NIE card before applying for a bank account?



1. Is it necessary to open a bank account?


Euro from a spanish bank account


The answer is, “That depends”.


  • If you just want to stay short-term in Spain, opening a bank account is not necessary.
  • But if you want to live long-term in Spain and even think about working in Spain, you need to consider opening a Spanish bank account: 
    • It can be very costly if you always use a card in a foreign currency because foreign cards suffer a commission
    • Most Spanish bank accounts can offer you the possibilities to be attended to personally. But if keep using a foreign card without Spanish offices, sometimes it would be a hard problem
    • Some Spanish companies may prefer to send money to employees via their Spanish card for fear of transfer loss due to currency exchange.
    • If you want to renew your residence card and need to submit a bank account flow, it’s recommended (in some cases compulsory) to use a Spanish bank account
    • If you have a Spanish bank account you can have easier access to other financial services such as a mortgage, insurance, and even museums and cultural activities (eg. Free tickets to Fira de Barcelona, a cultural center if you have a CaixaBank account)



2. What documents do I need to open a bank account?


There are two different types of Spanish bank accounts, a resident account (cuenta para residents) and a non-resident account (cuenta para no residentes). You need to apply for the appropriate one according to your status.


If you are a student, you can first consult your school if they have a special agreement with any bank which offers a better rate and less documentation.


The main documents needed for the two types of accounts are the same:


  • Identity documentation: As an expat resident, you need to at least have your NIE number. In some banks, you are required to get your NIE/TIE card before you apply for a bank account. Therefore, you should better confirm it with the office where you plan to apply for your bank account.


  • You might also be asked for further documentation such as:
    • Passport
    • Empadronamiento
    • Proof of employment status if you are working
    • Enrollment document or student card if you are a student
    • Etc……

If you need to apply for a non-resident account, you might also need:


  • Certificate of non-residency (certificado de no residencia):
    • If you want to do it yourself:
      • You need to go to apply at the main police station (Police General Directorate) with your passport and a full copy of it
      • You will have to return to the police station to collect the signed certificate 10 days later
      • Then you can go to the bank with your passport to open your account. This document will be operational immediately
    • If you want to leave this procedure to your bank:
      • Sign a form permitting them to act on it on your behalf
      • You will need to pay 15 euros while saving time and energy to go to the police station
      • But this option might be much slower than the normal procedure and the account may not be operational till you receive the certificate
    • Some banks might not need this document nowadays. But they still need to check every two years your status if you are a resident or non-resident.



3. What are the costs of having a bank account in Spain?


As you might have thought, there are banking costs that you need to pay. The exact number will vary from bank to bank, so researching the benefits and conditions of each will be a crucial step.


  • Set up fees: many banks charge you a small fee when you open a bank account
  • Maintenance fees: usually an annual fee of about €10
  • Fees of withdrawal from the bank: if you withdraw the money at an ATM other than the bank where you have your money, you will have to pay a fee of approximately € 2
  • Transfer fees: If you usually make an international transfer, it´s important to know about the transfer policy as it can make a huge difference in your balance. Some banks offer free international transfers, while some banks even charge fees when you transfer money to an account of other Spanish banks.



4. Which are the most recommended banks for expats?


This is one of the many questions that ex-pats might have. There is not a ¨best¨ option. It depends on what you are searching for and your demands.


  • As we talked about before, the most important thing you need to analyze is what the banks offer and what the costs might incur. Try to search for the best offer!
  • For many people, financial security is a very important topic. So you are one of the many that want to be secure about your money. In Spain, there are a lot of banks where you can choose from, such as CaixaBank.
  • If you need to use the bank account urgently or want to experience the newest banking service technology.
  • If you are young and want to enjoy the special offers for young people, you can inform yourself about younger versions of several banks such as imaging bank (a younger version of CaixaBank).



5. Is it necessary to have my NIE card before applying for a bank account?


Since Spanish bureaucracy usually functions slowly, some people may wonder if it´s necessary to already have the NIE/TIE card on hand before applying for a bank account.


The answer is ¨it depends!¨. It depends on the bank as well as the applicant´s nationality, employment status, and other details. Sometimes, it might also vary from office to office from the same bank. So do confirm this information with the branch where you want to apply. If you want to open a bank account in an online bank, they usually don't ask for your NIE number.


A short recall: NIE/TIE card is a necessary document that facilitates your stay in Spain. Here in Adeslas, we offer the No.1 visa insurance (NIE/TIE insurance) that meets the requirements of the Spanish consulate.


If you would like to know more about this topic, check out one the blogs listed below:





[1] Abrir una cuenta bancaria online | Particulares. (2021). Retrieved 11 August 2021, from

[2] ¿Cómo abrir una cuenta en España si eres extranjero?. (2019). Retrieved 11 August 2021, from 


 Our content will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 25/06/2023



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