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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 from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm during the week and some banks offer additional afternoon/evening hours 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 …