If you are planning on moving to Spain for good, or at least for foreseeable future, a Spanish bank account will be essential. Almost all utility and service providers ask for a Spanish account number from which to debit your bills, so make opening a bank account one of the first priorities when you are orienting yourself.
Rather inconveniently, banks close quite early. Normal opening hours are usually from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm during the week and some banks offer additional afternoon/evening hours on certain days of the week. On Saturdays, some banks are open from around 8.30 to 12.00 pm.
ATM machines are easy to come by, and can be found outside most banks, or sometimes within the banks, even after opening hours. There will be an inner section of the bank, the door to which you may need to open by swiping your bank card, which you will be able to shut and lock so that you’ll have total privacy and safety.
All in all, banking in Spain is trouble-free. There are plenty of banks from which to choose, depending upon your needs. Keep in mind – queues move slowly in Spain (so allow time for your transactions), and also, finding an English-speaking representative is not always a given.
Internet banking is widely used and is of the standard you would expect in any western European country.
Banks charge high fees in Spain for transfers. For instance, La Caixa charges the following for transfers into and out of the account:
- 0,25% to/from a national non-La Caixa account.
- 0,25% to/from an international account, same currency, less than 12.500€
- 0,5% to/from an international account otherwise
There may also be yearly fees (usually around €20 for a non-resident account on top of the other fees), fees for each debit card, and even fees for the stamps they put on correspondence to you. Shop around as these fees may be negotiable, and ask for all of your statements to be made available online, as well as any other correspondence they might like to send.
International Banks in Barcelona
Please note that having an account with one of these banks does not make things any more easy or difficult when you deal with them in Barcelona. You are treated like every other customer and the international transfer fees are the same.
- Barclays/Banco Zaragozano – Individual and enterprise banking and financial services. English website.
- Citigroup – The American bank has a Citibank España office right in the heart of town, in Placa Catalunya. Citigroup specializes in investments, loans and credit cards.
- Credit Suisse España – Commerical and individual banking services.
- Deutsche Bank España – Products, services and markets. Although the name suggests otherwise, they don’t offer services in either German or English at the branch in Barcelona.
- Lloyds TSB Bank – Specializing in private management of national and international investments. English website.
Spanish Banks in Barcelona
- La Caixa – A Catalan savings bank.
- Caixa Catalunya – Another Catalan savings bank (English website).
- Sabadell Atlántico – New features and promotions including electronic banking, products and services, a network of offices and client services. English website.
- Banesto – Internet office and other specialized services. For non-Residents. English website.
- Banco Sabadell – Personal, enterprise and corporative services banking. English website.
- Grupo ING Direct – Financial products, interest accounts and deposits.