Banking and Managing Money

Managing money & banking in Spain is expensive but quite straight forward. The facilities in the banks are modern and efficient but the charges on international transfers are large compare to other countries in the EU.

Most banks offer online banking with fast transfers and have one of the highest bank branches per capita on the European continent.

When looking for a bank, it is best to look for one which has English speaking staff as majority of them only have Spanish speakers. Once an account has been opened, expats will get the option of getting documents and statements in English

The fees for banking in the country are high and expats must consider the charges that will be applied – this usually includes debit card transaction fees, transfer fees, opening an account and also correspondence fees.

Some international banks which offer English services are Barclays and HSBC, this also allows expats to do free transfers between branches around the world.

Banks are generally open from Monday to Friday 8.30am – 2pm and on Saturdays 9am – 1pm.

Opening a bank account

Expats will have the option to open a non-resident or a resident bank account.

A non-resident account has higher fees and can be held in foreign currencies, whereas the resident account offers more efficient services having higher interest rates and low commissions.

Expats wanting to open a resident account can only do so if they have a Spanish tax identification number

Documents required:

When opening a bank account in Spain, certain documents will need to be shown and this can vary with the banks.

  • Proof of Identity – I.e Passport/Driving License
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of employment status e.g. employment contract, student card and unemployment documents
  • Foreigners identification certificate and number

ATM’s and Credit Cards

ATMs are available around the country which accept foreign cards and provide the best exchange rates with transaction charges. As well as this, credit and debit cards are accepted but transaction charges may be applied.

Spanish Currency

The official currency which is used in Spain is Euro (EUR), one euro is divided into 100 cents.

  • Coins: 2 EUR, 1 EUR; and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents
  • Notes: 5 EUR, 10 EUR, 20 EUR, 50 EUR, 100 EUR, 200 EUR and 500 EUR