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What are the best Spanish banks to open account for British, USA, European citizens and Non-European citizens?

 

When it comes to choosing a bank in Spain you can feel that you do not have enough information, that is why we have created a list of the best banks for foreigners in Spain. Take into account that classic banks are quite rigid and if you have no need for a mortgage, I recommend you to go with online banks.

 

1. Wise

Wise is a great option, 100% online, ideal for people who not only want to have a bank account in Spain but also need an account in other parts of the world such as Europe or America. Once you create an account, you will have access to a multi-currency account that you can use as it suits you best.

Since it began in the United Kingdom in 2010, Wise (previously known as TransferWise) has provided the best foreign exchange rates and the lowest interest rates, which is why it has become a very popular option, especially for foreigners and travelers.

Wise also offers a debit card with its Multi Currency account (formerly called Account Without Borders). This card allows you to withdraw money and pay with guaranteed real currency exchanges. In addition, there are no transaction costs.

 

2. N26

N26 is a digital bank that offers a wide range of services and is managed entirely through an app. It was founded in Germany in 2013 and currently operates in 22 European countries and the United States with more than 7 million customers.

Being 100% online, the only thing missing are physical offices. N26 offers a free virtual Mastercard card with which you can make purchases in online stores. They also have loans and investment products.

 

3. Banco Santander

Banco Santander is the largest bank in Spain, which is why it offers a huge range of services and products to its customers. It was created in 1857 and operates in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

This Spanish bank is a good option if having an office to go to near home is something important for you and if you value having your money in one of the largest financial institutions in the world.

Banco Santander also has a phone application that will allow you to carry out the most frequent operations.

 

4. Moneytrans

Moneytrans is a fintech company with more than 20 years of experience in providing financial services to foreigners.

Your checking account, the "Smile Account", is designed for everyone, can be opened in just 5 minutes and does not require endless documents as with traditional banks.

The Smile Account includes a European account number (IBAN) and a free Mastercard card. You can send money, deposit and withdraw cash, pay your bills, pay your payroll and much more.

In addition, customers directly get a 25% discount on all international online money transfers!

 

5. BBVA

BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria) is the second largest bank in Spain. BBVA began its journey the same year as Banco Santander, in 1857, and is also a global financial institution with offices in South America and the United States.

As with Banco Santander, BBVA is a good option for those who value traditional bank offices. This Spanish bank has offices throughout Spain, as well as a large network of ATMs. BBVA has also developed a very efficient online banking system with a very intuitive phone application. To open a bank account you need to visit the office.

 

6. CaixaBank

Although it is not as large in terms of financial profit as Banco Santander or BBVA, Caixabank is the bank with the largest number of offices in Spain. This bank is relatively young since it was founded in 2011.

Caixabank also offers first-class online banking services and customer service in its own offices. To open a bank account you need to visit the office.

 

7. Banco Sabadell

Banco Sabadell is the fourth private bank in Spain by size, with a multi brands, composed of different banks, subsidiaries and investee companies that cover all areas of the financial business under a common denominator: professionalism and quality. They have a good number of offices, even shrunken them during the last years and their online banking is pretty good. You can do all your everyday operations, pay taxes, and have a credit card. To open the bank account you need to visit the office. The bank is old-style in general and really rigid in, switching the offices, in situations when, for instance, if you move from one city to another. It is not a problem if you have no mortgage with them, but it might take time to close the bank account and open a new one in another bank. Their motivation of not changing the office because you can operate with your account 100% online, which is true, your interactions with the bank office are limited.

 

8. Openbank

Is a 100% digital bank with 0% commission bank accounts. They are part of Banco Santander Group. Among standard banking services they also offer some automated investment features.   

 

9. ING

ING is a positive orange online bank, owned by a large group called ING. They have different bank accounts and offer cards, mortgages, and consumer credits. You can apply for opening a bank account online, but they send you documents to sign with a courrier. In my case, I signed all the documents and gave it back to the courier, but after a few long days, I found a sign saying “the documents have been signed” in the App. I called and they said that the docs came without a signature, so I decided to drop this option and forget about them.

 

Send money to a bank in Spain

Once you open a bank account in Spain, you need to find the cheapest way to transfer money from your country. 

There are many ways to send money to Spain, unfortunately, making a bank transfer from your country of origin to a bank account in Spain might have high transfer costs and a currency exchange that will make you lose a lot of money.

 

Normally you can make a regular wire-transfer which is cheap or has 0 costs within the European Union. From the US using regular bank wire transfer can cost you 35 - 50 USD, but might depend on the amount. I would recommend you to check with your bank first - you can open a bank transfer in your online bank, input all the details of the transfer and see what commission they would apply. There might be a commission from your spanish bank for receiving money from outside of the EU. To get money from the UK, Banco Sabadell charged me 20-35 eur for every transfer depending on the amount. So, if you do it regularly it makes sense to use a 100% online bank and use Wise. In my case, I use Revolut, they have free transfer options between the EU and UK. 

 

Fortunately, today there are excellent services such as Wise that allow you to transfer money between countries with really low rates, excellent currency exchanges and much faster and easier than with traditional banks.

 

Online banks vs. traditional banks in Spain

Online banks in general are more technological and let you do lots of things yourself and cheaper than classical banks. Wise and N26 are perfect banking solutions for the digital age. Online bank accounts can be opened very easily and are really easy to use, being the most popular option among foreigners in Spain.

 

For foreigners who prefer something more traditional and offices to go to, we have mentioned Banco Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, and Banco de Sabadell since these are the most international with a large network of ATMs. Bankia, Bankinter, and KutxaBank are other large Spanish banks with offices throughout the country.

 

The good thing, that most of the bank accounts now have no monthly fees, so you can have two or three and use the one which is more suitable, more economical in a certain situation.

 

Factors to take into account when choosing a bank in Spain

When choosing the best bank for foreigners in Spain, a multitude of factors must be taken into account. The costs incurred, the range of services offered, face-to-face branches, online banking, mobile banking, ease of access, the number of ATMs or ATMs, or reputation, are aspects to study before choosing your first bank in Spain.

 

The types of bank accounts include current accounts (daily bank), savings accounts (best profitability for savers), digital accounts (online and mobile bank) and accounts for non-residents.

 

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We also forgot about Revolut - available in UK and EU and Starling Bank - available for the UK residents.

 

As a non-resident, I had a Revolut account with a UK IBAN which I used to transfer money to my Sabadell account in Spain. The fee for receiving money from a UK IBAN drastically increased once we exited the EU, which presented a problem for Sabadell. I upgraded my Revolut account to one with an EU IBAN, so I no longer have to pay fees when receiving money from Sabadell.

I'm thinking of switching to Revolut to set up direct debits and of closing my Sabadell account to avoid fees.

It appears that the issue with all of the accounts listed in this discussion is the fee charged by Spanish banks whenever cash is withdrawn from an ATM - here is a guide how to solve ATM commission issue in Spain

I'm Spanish Adviser and you can ask me any question related to Spain. Our people speak 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 🇪🇸 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 🇺🇦 🇷🇺.

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N26 is a German bank providing Spanish IBAN numbers. Al's provides excellent customer service with no fees for intergenerational customers. We've been with them for a few years without any issues.

 

N26 is a German bank that has become increasingly popular among those looking for an alternative to traditional banking services. It provides Spanish IBAN numbers to its customers, allowing them to make international payments and transfers with ease. N26 also offers excellent customer service with no fees for intergenerational customers, making it an attractive option for those who are looking for a more convenient way of managing their finances.

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4 minutes ago, Anderson said:

and Starling Bank - available for the UK residents.

My Starling euro account is a great way to manage my finances. It's perfect for shopping, dining and more. I can use it to pay all my property card direct debit charges, which makes it really convenient. The best part is that the service is free and accessible online.

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The recent bank post brought to mind a related query I have. I have Santander (ES IBAN) for income and direct debits, but my N26 (DE IBAN) works better for day-to-day expenses. Utilizing this App is much better for managing expenses, creating budgets and saving money. I would like to transfer money to it from Santander on a regular basis.

 

Nevertheless, I understand that Hacienda is diligent in monitoring these matters and requires you to report foreign accounts. Is this accurate? What is the procedure for this?

 

Alternatively, you could open an account with a Spanish online bank that offers similar services. I discovered Bunq and it meets all my requirements. It does not speak Spanish, but appears to accept Spanish IBANs.

Does anyone have experience with this product and can give a recommendation? Appreciated!

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@MarkInt I'm sure that the Tax Agency keep an eye on big amounts. If you transfer your own money between the accounts, they will not chase you for that. The only thing - if you have more than 50K outside of Spain, you need to declare it using a special model.

 

Interesting about Bunq - never heard about them, but the pricing looks similar to Revolut.

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I'm Spanish Adviser and you can ask me any question related to Spain. Our people speak 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 🇪🇸 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 🇺🇦 🇷🇺.

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