OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT
Having a bank account in Spain is very useful since many of the home service bills can be paid by direct debit and most banks offer debit cards that allow you to buy and pay directly from your account. In general, most Spanish banks have internet banking, which allows clients to access their accounts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as you are probably used to.
While some banks offer extended opening hours, in general, it is found that they open between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm and do not reopen until the next day.
Savings accounts are available, but you must request to open one specifically. Interest is at its lowest point in all of Europe, and some savings banks offer around 1% interest. Banks must ask non-resident account holders to sign a document semi-annually to confirm their status as non-residents.
TYPES OF BANKS
There are two types of banks in Spain: savings banks and regular banks. Savings banks do not have shareholders and invest in social and cultural projects. There is a national network of savings banks recognizable by the sign that says Caja de Ahorros. To open a bank account as a non-resident you must present a current passport and NIE. To open a bank account as a resident, you must also present your registration certificate (el Padron). The bank staff will do the documentation for you and the process is fast.
While checks come with the basic account, they are rarely used in Spain, since most people prefer cash or cards. If you decide that you feel more comfortable using checks, use the same precautions you would take at home: treat checks as cash. After completing the figures, do include a horizontal line that fills the blank; If you write a check to the bearer, add two parallel lines horizontally through the check and between these parallel lines write “Y CIA”. By doing this, it means the check must be deposited into an account and will be traceable. After opening the account, you will be given a temporary chequebook and, in about ten days, your personalised chequebook will arrive at the branch. When you are running out of checks, contact your bank for a new set. Note: Spaniards do not use checks and most stores are reluctant to accept them.
After you have opened your bank account your debit card takes approximately ten days to reach your branch. It will be given to you together with your PIN number when you go to your bank. The number can be changed using the ATM if you prefer so. Ask the branch what you must do to access your account through the Internet. Credit and debit cards will normally also be accepted for use as a payment method provided you have proper identification.
Bank direct debits (domiciliacíon bancaria) normally correspond to periodic and automatic charges, generally for payments to public services (electricity, gas, water, telephone, insurance, taxes, etc.) and must be authorised by the bank account holder. Normally the direct debits do not entail any expense for you as the final consumer. A collected withdrawal of less than € 3000 can be cancelled within 30 calendar days + 2 working days. For this or to stop a direct debit you must visit your branch, there is a possibility that your bank charges a small amount for that service. Contact the company that withdraws the payment to inform them that you cancel it.
CASH-POINTS / ATM
Your debit card gives you access to all the connected ATM´s that dispense cash around the clock. Using the ATM of your bank or an ATM of a bank belonging to the same group will not be charged. On the contrary, the costs may increase when using ATM´s that is not in the same group as your bank (Servired, 4B, etc).
CHANGE OF BRANCH / BANK
If you change your address to another municipality, of course, you want to continue using your bank accounts. Then it is best to go to your branch nearest your new address and indicate your new address there. Take your padrón or a document where that address is written so that the branch can verify your new address. After that, the new branch makes the necessary changes to give you the best service possible. In fact, if you do not make these changes you may have to attend your previous branch every time you need something. Because that is where they manage your administration.
DIRECT DEBITS FROM NEW ACCOUNT
When you open a bank account at a new bank and want to use this account for your direct debit we advise you to ask the bank manager of your current bank for a printed list with all direct debits. After you have reported all the companies on the list of the change of your bank account, the list can be delivered to your new bank to authorise the direct debits of your account.
Most banks and savings banks now offer access to their internet portals. As a result, you can manage your accounts online from wherever you are. You must register for this service in the office and they will give you your username and PIN number. Many banks use two-step security to authorise transactions.