Are you looking for the best banks in Spain as you try to move there for good? Worry no more, because this article will serve as your guide!

Last Updated on July 13, 2024 by Maryam Siddiqui

Opening a bank account in Spain is a crucial step for expats and foreigners, whether you’re moving to Spain or investing in property for the Golden Visa. That is why it is important for you to learn about the best banks in Spain.

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Spain has a wide range of banking options. This spans from traditional banks like Banco Sabadell to online banks. Choosing the best bank account that suits your needs and offers features like internet banking and insurance is essential.

Keep reading to discover the best banks in Spain, the requirements for opening an account, and the benefits of having a Spanish bank account.

What are the best banks in Spain for expats?

As an expat in Spain, you want to find the best banks that cater to your specific needs, such as low fees, online banking services, and savings accounts.

When exploring your options, consider well-established banks like Santander Bank, BBVA, CaixaBank, Sabadell, and Bankinter.

These banks offer a range of services that can help you manage your finances effectively while living in Spain.

Additionally, keep an eye out for neobanks that provide innovative digital banking solutions tailored to expats, often with lower fees and more flexible account options.

Santander Bank

Santander Bank is one of the best banks in Spain for expats, offering a wide range of services, including direct debit, credit cards, debit cards, and mobile banking. 

As an expat, you can easily open a bank account with Santander and take advantage of their extensive network of branches and ATMs throughout the country.

BBVA

BBVA is another excellent choice for expats looking for the best banks in Spain. 

With a strong presence in the country and a focus on digital banking, BBVA offers a range of services. These services include online banking, mobile apps, and international transfers. 

The bank also provides specialized services for expats, such as assistance with obtaining an NIE (Foreigner Identification Number) and setting up direct debits for utility bills.

Some of the key features that make BBVA one of the best banks in Spain for expats include:

  • Extensive branch network and ATM coverage
  • Competitive interest rates on savings accounts and deposits
  • Multilingual customer support
  • Integration with popular mobile payment apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Comprehensive insurance products, including home, car, and health insurance

CaixaBank

CaixaBank is another top contender among the best banks in Spain for expats. It offers a range of services tailored to international residents.

With CaixaBank, you can easily open a bank account. You can also access online and mobile banking and take advantage of their extensive network of branches and ATMs across the country.

Some of the key features that make CaixaBank an attractive option for expats include:

  • Multilingual customer support and online banking interface
  • Competitive exchange rates for international money transfers
  • Integrated mobile payment solutions for cashless transactions
  • Comprehensive insurance products, including health and travel insurance
  • Personalized financial advice and wealth management services

Sabadell

Sabadell is one of the best banks in Spain for expats, offering a range of services tailored to international residents, including multi-currency accounts, competitive exchange rates, and digital banking solutions. 

As a member of the European Union, Sabadell operates under the supervision of the European Central Bank, ensuring the stability and security of your finances.

Bankinter

Bankinter is another top choice among the best banks in Spain for expats, particularly those from the United Kingdom. The bank offers competitive exchange rates for international transfers and a streamlined account opening process that simplifies the know-your-customer requirements. 

Additionally, Bankinter provides a range of investment and loan products to help you grow and manage your wealth while living in Spain.

How can a foreigner open a bank account in Spain?

To open a bank account as a foreigner in Spain, you will need to obtain a NIE number, which is your Spanish Tax Number.

This identification number is essential for accessing various financial services, such as opening a bank account with top banks like CaixaBank, and allows you to manage your finances effectively in the local currency.

Keep in mind that different banks may offer varying interest rates on savings accounts and deposits, so it’s crucial to compare your options before making a decision.

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Obtain a NIE number (Spanish Tax Number)

NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is essential for any foreigner living in Spain. It serves as a Spanish tax identification number. It is necessary for various transactions, including opening a bank account. 

The NIE is required for many legal and financial processes in Spain, such as buying property, signing employment contracts, and paying taxes.

To obtain an NIE number, you will need to visit a local police station or the Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners’ Office) and submit the required documents, such as your Passport, proof of address, and a completed application form. 

Once you have your NIE number, you can open a bank account with the best banks in Spain, like Santander or BBVA, and access various financial services, including:

  • International bank account number (IBAN) for seamless cross-border transactions
  • Deposit accounts with competitive interest rates to grow your savings
  • Credit products, such as personal loans and mortgages, to finance your goals
  • Wealth management services to help you invest and protect your assets

Present the necessary documents

To open a bank account, you need to present specific documents either in person or online. These include your Passport, NIE, legal address in or out of Spain, and proof of income. 

The exact requirements may vary slightly between banks, but generally, you will need:

  • Passport: A valid passport is required to verify your identity.
  • NIE: The NIE is used to track your financial activities in Spain.
  • Proof of Address: This could be a utility bill, rental contract, or any official document showing your address.
  • Proof of Income: Banks may ask for a work contract, pension statement, or bank statements from your home country.

In-Person

When opening an account in person at a branch of one of the best banks in Spain, such as Deutsche Bank or Bankinter, be sure to bring all the necessary information and documents. 

It’s wise to check with the bank beforehand to ensure you have everything required, as this can help you avoid multiple trips and streamline the process.

Online

When opening an account online with a top financial institution in Spain, such as BBVA or CaixaBank, you’ll need to provide a clear copy of your Passport and proof of address. 

These banks offer a range of retail banking services, including current accounts, savings accounts, and mortgages, which you can access through their online platforms and mobile apps, often linked to a Mastercard debit card or Visa debit card.

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What are the best online banks in Spain?

When it comes to the best online banks in Spain, you have several options to choose from, including Wise, N26, and Revolut.

These digital banks offer a range of services tailored to expats and travelers, such as multi-currency accounts, competitive exchange rates, and mobile banking apps that allow you to manage your finances on the go.

Unlike traditional banks like Banco Santander, these online banks don’t require you to visit a branch in person, making it easier to open an account and access your funds from anywhere in the world, whether you’re in Spain, Canada, or beyond.

Plus, with features like real-time notifications and data-driven insights, you can stay on top of your spending and make informed financial decisions no matter where you are.

Wise

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is a popular online bank that offers a range of services tailored to expats and travelers. With Wise, you can enjoy accessibility to your funds from anywhere in the world, making it an excellent option for managing your finances while living in Spain.

Wise offers the following benefits:

  • Multi-currency accounts with competitive exchange rates
  • Mobile banking app for easy account management
  • Deposit insurance for added security
  • Strong focus on privacy and data protection
  • Responsive customer support via telephone and online channels

N26

N26 is a German online bank that offers a range of retail banking services to customers in Spain and other European countries. 

With a focus on innovation and customer experience, N26 has quickly become one of the best online banks in Spain, offering features like real-time notifications, automated savings, and integration with popular payment apps.

N26 offers the following benefits:

  • Free ATM withdrawals worldwide
  • Instant money transfers to other N26 users
  • Travel insurance is included with premium accounts
  • Compatibility with Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Investment products, such as ETFs and fractional shares

Revolut

Revolut, a UK-based online bank, offers a range of services tailored to expats and travelers in Spain, Portugal, and beyond, with features like mobile payment integration, multi-currency accounts, and competitive exchange rates. 

With its focus on innovative money management tools and a user-friendly mobile app, Revolut has quickly become a popular choice among digital-savvy customers looking for an alternative to traditional banks like Bankia.

Can I open a bank account in Spain even if I’m not a resident?

Yes, you can open a bank account in Spain even if you’re not a resident. Although this process may seem confusing for you, feel free to contact Viv Europe so we can help you open an account in one of the best banks in Spain.

What type of bank account in Spain is ideal?

When choosing the best bank account in Spain, consider your financial needs and goals.

Top Spanish banks like Santander, the largest bank in Spain, offer a variety of the best bank account types that enable you to manage your money effectively.

From minimum service accounts to current accounts, savings accounts, and investment accounts, you can find the right fit for your lifestyle.

Look for Spanish banks with user-friendly banking apps and mobile banking features to make your financial management more convenient and accessible.

Minimum service account

If you’re looking for a basic account in a bank in spain with low fees and minimal requirements, a minimum service account might be the ideal choice. Spanish banks like Sabadell and Santander offer these accounts, which typically include essential banking services such as a debit card, online banking access, and ATM withdrawals. 

Keep in mind that minimum service accounts may have limitations on the number of transactions or additional features compared to other account types.

Some key benefits of minimum service accounts include:

  • Low monthly maintenance fees
  • Minimal balance requirements
  • Access to digital banking services for easy account management
  • Streamlined account opening process

Current account

A current account is a popular choice for those looking for a versatile and accessible banking solution in Spain. 

Many of the best banks in Spain, such as CaixaBank and BBVA, offer current accounts with features like online banking, mobile apps, and the ability to set up direct debits and standing orders, making it easier to manage your finances and pay bills.

Some key benefits of current accounts in a bank in Spain include:

  • Flexibility to manage your money through various channels, including online banking and mobile apps
  • Ability to set up direct debits and standing orders for efficient bill payments
  • Access to a wide range of banking services, such as debit cards, credit cards, and overdrafts
  • Potential to earn interest on your account balance, depending on the bank and account terms
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Savings account

If you’re looking to grow your savings while living in Spain, consider opening a savings account with top banks like Santander or BBVA Bank Spain. You can do this whether by setting up an account to receive a debit card or applying into the Spanish banking system for a fully digital bank.

These accounts often offer competitive interest rates and can be linked to your current account for easy transfers. You may also use your money from these accounts to transfer them into investment funds or large banking retailers from one of the best Spanish banks mentioned in this article.

Some Spanish banks may require proof of employment or a minimum balance to open a savings account, so be sure to check the requirements before applying.

Investment account

If you’re looking to invest your money and potentially earn higher returns, consider opening an investment account with one of the best banks in Spain, such as Santander or BBVA Bank Spain. It is a popular bank and one of the best Spanish banks where you can also open a joint account with the opportunity to access personalised financial products, such as access to a digital banking app.

These accounts allow you to invest in various financial instruments, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, while benefiting from the security and expertise of a reputable financial institution. It does not matter if you speak Spanish or not if you want to open an account in any best bank in Spain.

Some key benefits of investment accounts in each of the best bank in Spain include:

  • Access to a wide range of investment options, including international markets
  • Professional advice and guidance from experienced financial advisors
  • Potential for higher returns compared to traditional savings accounts
  • Secure management of your personal data and financial information
  • Protection against fraud and unauthorized transactions

It’s essential to carefully consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and income level before opening an investment account. Some banks may also require proof of residency or a valid ID, such as a passport or NIE, for non-residents looking to invest in Spain.

What are the benefits of having an account in a Spanish bank?

Having an account with one of the best banks in Spain offers numerous benefits for expats and residents alike.

By opening an account, you can streamline your financial transactions within the country, take advantage of legal benefits for transferring funds, and enjoy access to a wider range of payment options, such as Samsung Pay.

Additionally, Spanish banks are subject to strict regulations, ensuring the safety and security of your money.

Whether you’re moving to Spain from the Netherlands or another country, having a local bank account can simplify your financial life and help you navigate the country’s economic landscape with ease.

1. It’s way easier to do transactions in Spain

Whether you’re paying bills, receiving salary payments, or transferring money to friends and family, a Spanish bank account streamlines the process and helps you avoid potential issues with international transfers or currency conversions.

Some of the key benefits of having a Spanish bank account for transactions include:

  • Seamless integration with local payment systems and merchants for all types of bank accounts
  • Access to rare financial products and other services, such as perform transactions through contactless payments in one of the leading banks, transfer money through and from online bank accounts, or opening accounts in a more straightforward process.
  • Faster processing times for domestic transfers and payments
  • Lower fees compared to international transactions or using foreign bank accounts
  • Ability to set up direct debits and standing orders for recurring payments from different types of bank accounts
  • Access to local banking services and support in case of any issues or questions (available for different types of bank accounts).

2. Some stores online accept national cards

Some online stores in Spain may only accept national debit or credit cards. This means that having a Spanish bank account can grant you access to a wider range of online shopping options, ensuring that you can take advantage of competitive prices and exclusive deals without worrying about your card being declined due to international restrictions or incompatible payment systems.

When shopping online with your Spanish bank card, be sure to:

  • Check the store’s privacy policy and security measures to protect your personal and financial information
  • Verify that your card has sufficient funds or overdraft protection to avoid declined transactions
  • Use a secure login and strong password to access your online banking and card management tools
  • Monitor your account statements regularly for any unauthorized charges or suspicious activity
  • Contact your bank immediately if you suspect fraud or lose your card, whether you’re in Spain or traveling abroad to countries like Turkey

3. You may have legal benefits for transferring your funds to Spain

Depending on your country of origin, you may be eligible for legal benefits when transferring your funds to Spain. 

For example, if you’re moving from France or Mexico, you might be able to take advantage of tax treaties or special arrangements that simplify the process and reduce the associated costs. 

Additionally, banks like La Caixa offer competitive exchange rates and low fees for international transfers, making it easier for you to move to Spain:

  • Verify your eligibility for any tax benefits or special arrangements based on your country of origin
  • Compare exchange rates and fees from different banks, including La Caixa, to find the best deal
  • Use secure transfer methods, such as SWIFT, to ensure your funds arrive safely and efficiently
  • Check the annual percentage rate (APR) for any associated loans or credit products to avoid hidden costs

Do you need help opening a bank account in Spain?

If you’re having trouble navigating the process of opening a bank account in Spain, don’t worry – you’re not alone. 

Opening a bank account in Spain can sometimes be complicated. The process can be challenging, from obtaining an NIE number to contacting banks. 

Viv Europe offers comprehensive services to help you move to Spain and manage your banking needs effortlessly. Our expertise ensures that you navigate the process smoothly, saving you time and avoiding potential pitfalls.

Ready to open a bank account in Spain remotely? Book a consultation with Viv Europe today and simplify your transition. Get expert assistance and make your financial life in Spain hassle-free.

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