If you’ve just landed in Spain and plan on living here, we suggest you open a bank account. But before you do, we’d like to walk you through some of the ins and outs of banks of Spain. We’ll tell you what documents are required, inform you on banking hours, types of accounts, fees and what to do when sending and receiving international transfers, and offer you a list of banks in Spain. Here is our go-to-guide to banking in Spain.
All banking activities in Spain are controlled by Banco de España (Bank of Spain), which is headquartered in Madrid and has branches in all of the country’s provincial capitals. There are also many foreign banks that operate in the country. Read on to see the list of banks of Spain.
List of Banks in Spain
There are over 165 different banks and two types: bancos (private or publicly owned banks) and cajas (state owned banks, which tend to invest in local projects). If you’ve just landed, make sure to visit both to get a clear idea of what will be more convenient for you. When we say convenient we mean: choosing a bank that is close to your place of residence, one that offers internet banking, free ATM services and many branches nationwide.
Once you open your account, you’ll be given a debit/credit card for an annual fee (this depends on the individual bank), with which you’ll be able to take money out of the ATM machines (cajeros) or pay in most restaurants, shops and supermarkets. Please remember that cheques are rarely accepted at banks in Spain and not all ATM transactions are free. Make sure the bank informs you of what ATM you can use to avoid surcharges. Otherwise, most cash machines will inform you of the charge, if any, before you go ahead and confirm the transaction.
You can also ask for a service called domiciliación bancaria, which allows companies, such as the phone company or the electric company, to directly debit your account.
For an extensive list of banks in Spain, no matter what the type, visit the Bank of Spain’s website.
The key banks of Spain include Santander, La Caixa, BBVA, Bankia (the big 4), Bankinter, ING and EVO Banco.
Banking Hours in Spain
Bank hours in Spain are 9am to 2pm Monday to Saturday, but remember that there are many fiestas (local and national holidays) and most banks reduce their working hours during the summer months. If you do not speak Spanish, we suggest you call ahead and request an appointment with an English-speaking member of staff. If they do not provide this service, bring a Spanish friend along. It won’t take more than 5 days to have your account activated.
List of Bank Documents in Spain that are Required
For EU citizens, most banks in Spain require you to provide the following documents in order to open an account:
- NIE – if you haven’t had the chance to read our post informing you on how to get yours, this would be a good time.
- Proof of address – You’ll need to get your empadronamiento [registration certificate] sorted through your local town/city hall (ayuntamiento).
- Proof of employment status
Remember you must have all non-Spanish documents officially translated and some must be authenticated with an Apostille.
For non-EU citizens, these are the documents you will need to provide when opening a bank account in Spain:
- Passport and consular inscription in Spain or NIE and proof of address
- Title deeds or rental contract to Spanish property
- Proof of income (most banks require a minimum of 600 euros)
Please make sure you ask for an appointment or check online to go over all necessary documents you will need before opening an account.
Domestic and International Transfers at Banks in Spain
Both types of transfers can be carried out via the bank, Internet or phone service. You’ll need to ask the bank for your IBAN number if you are to receive money transfers internationally. Fees will apply when transferring money in and out of your account*.
We hope you’re more up to speed on the ins and outs of banking in Spain. Do you already have an account? If not, check out this free guide on opening a Spanish bank account: