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Banking in Spain

Getting to grips with Spain’s banking system as an expat can seem challenging. Our collection of expert guides help you understand everything you need to know about banking in Spain, from opening a bank account to the best mobile banking apps on the market.

Banking in Spain

Spain has an integrated and internationalized banking system. It consists of 141 current private banks (including around 80 foreign-owned banks), plus many regional cooperative and savings banks. The Banco de España is Spain’s national bank which also serves as the regulator for the banking sector. Read the Expatica guide to banking in Spain for a more detailed account of Spanish banking.

Do you need a bank account in Spain?

Having a bank account in Spain is not a legal requirement; it is possible to manage your finances from an overseas account. However, if you are a long-term resident in Spain, it may prove costly and complicated to operate your everyday finances. There are many things such as paying Spanish utility bills and getting a Spanish mortgage where it is beneficial to have a bank account in Spain.

Before you open a bank account in Spain

If you move to Spain without having opened an account, you can manage your finances from your overseas account. Spain accepts most major types of foreign bank and credit card if they are Visa, Mastercard or American Express. However, you may incur charges. See the Expatica guide to banking in Spain for more information. Many Spanish banks offer non-resident accounts, so it’s possible to set up a Spanish bank account in advance of your move if you’re worried about this.

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Types of bank accounts in Spain

Spanish banks offer various different account types to customers. It’s worth shopping around to find the solution that best suits your circumstances. Some of the main types of bank account in Spain are:

  • Current accounts – for everyday banking and financial requirements. Many banks will offer various different current accounts, some targeting specific groups of customers such as students or young people;
  • Savings accounts – most banks will offer different savings options ranging from basic savings accounts to services links to investments in funds and shares. There are also many regional Spanish banks (cajas) that offer savings accounts;
  • Digital accounts – you can now do all your banking online or from a mobile device as the main Spanish banks all offer online services and banking apps;
  • Non-resident accounts – some of the main Spanish banks offer non-resident accounts aimed at foreign residents, although these are mostly Euro-based accounts

Offshore bank accounts

Expats in Spain may find that opening an international offshore bank account is the best way to manage their finances. This is particularly helpful for anyone who works abroad, spends a lot of time in more than one country, or frequently transfers money between countries.

Offshore accounts are located outside the holder’s country of residence and usually offer distinct advantages such as a wider range of cross-border services and lower taxation on funds.

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