Opening a bank account in Spain is available to both residents and non-residents, although the country's legislation does distinguish between the two in order to carry out this procedure. Residents simply need to present their resident identity card and comply with the usual requirements. Non-residents, on the other hand, will have to provide a series of supporting documents, which will vary from one entity to another.

Let's take a closer look at the issue...

Common requirements

All banks in Spain have certain common requirements. These are:

  • Be of legal age - although there are some accounts that are specially designed for children or young people, you generally have to be over 18 years of age.
  • Have a good credit history with some financial solvency and regular income.
  • Not to appear on any list of defaulters such as Asnef, Equifax or Badexcug.
  • Provide the DNI (National Identity Document) or NIE (Foreigner's Identification Number), the employment contract, the last pay slips and the last income tax returns or the quarterly VAT payment.

Requirements for residents

In addition to the above, a resident must provide:

  • Declaración de Actividad Económica (DAE), according to Law 10/2010 of 28 April. A document that must be completed and signed by the customer in which he/she states his/her statements regarding his/her economic activity. Depending on the institution, it can be handed in at the branch or via the institution's website.
  • Proof of the account holder's main source of income or occupation: employee, self-employed person, student, etc. This is a document that proves the economic or professional activity.

Requirements for non-residents

Non-residents must have the following:

  • A certificate verifying this status. To obtain it, it is necessary to go in person or online to the Directorate General of the Police.
  • In most cases it will also be necessary to provide proof of monthly income, references from the bank in the country of residence, and even a salary slip, employment contract or the latest income tax return.
  • Some banks also allow non-residents to open a bank account with their passport if they present a certificate of their status as a non-resident. BBVA, for example, requires you to take out a health insurance policy with the same bank.

Types of bank accounts

When opening an account, the first step is to understand the different types of bank accounts that exist.

  • CURRENT ACCOUNT: these are the most common and all banks have at least one type of current account. They do not offer a return, but offer the possibility of depositing money and drawing on it at any time. They can also be used for direct debit payments, transfers, credit and debit cards, etc.
  • REMUNERATED ACCOUNT: this account does earn a return on the money deposited. In addition, it differs from the current account in that it does not offer the possibility of direct debiting payments or carrying out regular operations, such as withdrawing cash from ATMs.
  • NUMBERS ACCOUNT: this product works as a savings instrument, although it generally gives a lower return than the remunerated account. Its main difference is that it allows direct debit of bills.
  • HOUSING ACCOUNT: this account also functions as a savings mechanism, just like an interest-bearing or salary account, but offering tax advantages. In order to take advantage of the tax benefit, the entire balance must be used to buy a new home or to renovate the current one, and the cash must be available within a maximum period of four years.

Main banks in Spain

Although there are dozens of banks in Spain, they all offer fairly similar products. Let's take a look at the four main banks - Bankia, BBVA, CaixaBank and Santander - and their main types of accounts. NOTE: Please note that this information may change over time.

BANKIA

  • The Bankia Easy Account offers the possibility of direct debiting your salary or pension, as well as all kinds of bills at no cost. It also has a cheque book and immediate access to savings.
  • Bankia's current account has no account maintenance or administration fees. It offers free transfers in euros to the EU with no fees.
  • My First Account. The best option for immediate liquidity without fees or commissions for minors. To open "My First Account" you need the authorisation of the father, mother or legal guardian of the account holder, as well as the NIE of the minor. There are surprises for account holders: invitations and previews of films and musicals, prize draws, gifts, etc.

BBVA

  • BBVA's Basic Payment Account is an account that allows regular cash deposits and withdrawals, direct debits, transfers and standing orders. It can be accessed by those who are legally resident in the European Union, are asylum seekers or, even if they do not have a residence permit, cannot be expelled -as long as they do not already have a similar account at another bank in Spain-..
  • The BBVA Blue Online Account is aimed at young people aged 18 to 29, and can be opened with two account holders. There are no administration or maintenance fees..
  • The BBVA Online Account is a current account with no fees or conditions, which does not require you to have your salary or bills paid directly into it, but still offers all the advantages of BBVA. It can also be opened with two account holders.

CAIXABANK

  • HolaBank is an ideal concept for foreigners and non-residents: a programme aimed at international customers through which a high-value financial support, advice and guidance service tailored to customers' needs is offered.
  • The Caixabank Family Account, meanwhile, has a fee of €0/month provided that the customer has a salary of €600/month or more paid directly into their account and has made at least three card payments or received three direct debit bill payments in the last quarter.
  • Meanwhile, the Youth Account is a demand deposit, aimed at young people between 18 and 25 years of age, which allows deposits and withdrawals at any time. It has no physical support, and its operation is instrumented through associated cards, the statement of movements or a cheque book.

SANTANDER

  • Banco Santander's Zero Account is a 100% digital current account, with full liquidity and associated with a package of products: Santander Zero Debit Card and multi-channel contract that allows you to manage your deposits and payments at any time and place. To open this account you only need to be over 18 years of age, regardless of whether you are a resident or not in Spain.
  • The Classic Account is a non-interest-bearing current account for customers and non-customers that does not require any requirements to open. It allows direct debit of bills, payment transactions using cards or other payment methods, transfers or transfers.
  • The Basic Payment Account is a non-interest-bearing current account in euros, which can be opened by any individual who is legally resident in the European Union, is an asylum seeker or, even if they do not have a residence permit, cannot be expelled, provided that they do not have a payment account with another bank in Spain. To open this account, the holder must formalise the corresponding opening contract at a Banco Santander branch, and declare that he/she does not have a payment account with another entity in Spain. In addition, it is obligatory to provide the information required by the bank in compliance with the regulations on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Conclusión

Thanks to advances in digitalisation, all Spanish banks now make it easy to open an account online. In fact, they have all kinds of information on their respective websites and applications about the advantages and fees they charge. This information will undoubtedly help you choose the type of account or financial service that best suits your situation.

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