Banking in Spain

Banking in Spain

Banking in Spain

One of the very first things that you need to do when moving to Spain is to open up a bank account. Spanish Banks are sophisticated as they seem, offering an extensive network of branches and ATMs that can be accessed locally and across the country. With round-the-clock online services, accessing Spanish banks is a sorted affair of its own kind. The banking activities in Spain are controlled by Banco de Espana (Bank of Spain), headquartered in Madrid.

List of banks in Spain

All these banks offer different rates and accounting options for different prices. Comparing the specifications of each bank can be time-consuming. Are you wondering which bank offers the best deals or the best accounting options? We have listed the most reliable banks below while using the following criteria:

Banking spain
      English speaking customer service
      Online (web) accessibility
      Clear contracts (no hidden costs)
      Flexible contracts
      Android / IOS app availability
      Different banking options



n26 Mobile Bank

A bank made for expats and newcomers – low withdrawal fees, purely online bank. No hidden fees and free worldwide withdrawals.

      Free creditcard
      Low Fees
      English website
      Shared spaces possible for more saving.
      English speaking customer service


Santander mobile bank

One of the largest and most trusted banks in Spain. Fast growing with an excellent app and on boarding process for expats and newcomers.

      Different range of products
      English website
      Brick and mortar stores


revolut banking logo

Fully online bank with locations troughout Europe. Fast growing bank with an excellent app and on boarding process for expats and newcomers

      English app
      No withdrawel fees
      English speaking customer service
      Fully digital


bankia mobile bank

Large brick and mortar bank in Spain. Used by a lot of Spanish citizens – great online service and banking app is rated one of the better ones on Spain

      Brick and mortar bank
      English speaking customer service
      Too big to fail
      ✘  Withdrawel fees
      ✘  No English website

How to open a bank account?

To have an account in the best bank in Spain, you must have the following documents ready:

  • A valid passport or national identity card
  • A document confirming the address
  • The tax identification number in Spain (NIE)
  • Proof of income source, such as tax return, payslip, etc.
  • The next step is to choose the bank.

Different banking accounts

There are two distinct kinds of bank account for you to consider:

  • Resident account
  • Non-resident account

Resident accounts are primarily for individuals living in Spain, while non-resident accounts are for individuals living abroad who wish to have an account in Spain. Hence, the non-resident account is ideal for you if you are buying property in Spain. However, if you are moving to Spain and intend to open an account, the resident account is the option to vouch for. You must make a comprehensive Spanish banks comparison as well.

Here is a detailed Spanish bank account comparison

Current/checking account:
This is the most typical kind of account for undertaking all day today and essential activities. The interest rates for these accounts remain in credit and are quite low.

Savings account:
These offer a higher interest rate, however, with a limited and restricted range of banking services. It also has limited access to money.

Deposit account:
These are aimed at customers intending to earn a higher interest rate; however, they do not permit daily banking operations.

Loans and overdrafts:
The lending options are available across all Spanish banks for several requirements such as vehicle purchases, payroll advanced, and home renovations.

The main banks offer fixed-rate and variable Spanish mortgage options for customers who plan to meet the criteria.

A few banks offer insurance options for Spain, which include life insurance, Spanish health insurance, and home insurance.

Current account holders can avail of an overdraft facility up to the agreed limit, and hence it is the best Spanish bank account type. Moreover, it is also very handy for managing large transactions.

Free banks in Spain

This is a popular online bank which is a digital banking app with its focus laid on technology, premium features, and low fees. It is ideally designed for individuals who travel a lot and have to do with expenses abroad. You will be amazed to hear that it does not have any hidden fees while transferring intentional money.

Before you move to Spain, you must consider opening a multi-currency account in TransferWise. You can grab your very own free local bank account details, along with grabbing a local bank account on reaching Spain. It offers a debit card for you to operate money better and offers much lower fees than other banks.

FAQ about banking in Spain

Most of the current accounts incur annual fees, which are around 15-20 Euros. Costs for other baking varied between the providers. This is why it is recommended to check upfront and complete the fees before opening an account. 

Debit cards cost around 12-15 Euros a year, and credit cards cost 30 Euros a year, or even more. The costs for loans and mortgages tend to depend on the APRC, along with varied additional charges. The international money transfers range between 3 Euros-15 Euros, for amounts less than 50,000 Euros, while transferring large amounts tends to incur 30 Euros and even more. 

Although there are other methods available and used extensively, cash is the most frequent payment used in Spain. Small businesses tend to accept cash more, and hence it is primarily used for small transactions.

Debit cards:
This is again a popular form of payment, where a massive chunk of the population tends to carry the car around. Around 43% of payments online are made through credit card and debit card in the year 2018. The most common form of debit cards is Mastercard and Visa.

Cheques are accepted by most of the businesses; however, they are not used much. Moreover, banks do not issue checkbooks any longer.

Credit cards:
Credit cards are a lot more popular as compared to debit cards. The year 2-17 had witnessed an issue of 50 million credit cards. Visa is the most popular kind of credit card, along with Mastercard and American Express. Most of the banks in Spain offer credit cards with the accounts. You must apply for the card while opening your account to get it in hand instantly. However, you can also apply anytime later.

Online and mobile payments:
This form of payment had been picking up its speed, with most of the banks offering online payment services. PayPal is largely preferred and is also one of the most popular online modes of payment.

You must contact the bank or card provider immediately, as they have 24-hour customer support available to report such instances. 

 N26 is the best low-cost bank in Spain. This is a German bank that has the latest technology and mobile applications in place. It offers its Spanish users a Spanish IBAN account, offering the flexibility to utilize direct debits. It is also a path breaker of offering best-in-class digital facilities such as a website and an app while helping you track daily expenses. 

This is a free online bank account offering zero hidden fees. You can easily sign up online in only a few minutes, start with your expenses and let the free virtual debit Mastercard help you. They also have the option of a physical card available if you need one.