There are two types of bank accounts for foreigners:

  • Resident bank account: You can open an account in euros or in a foreign currency (depending on what the bank offers).
  • Non resident bank account: If you don’t have an NIE card and you come from another country, you are considered nonresident. Based on the regulations of the Bank of Spain, nonresidents can hold bank accounts in euros or in foreign currency. As identification, you must have a valid passport or the ID number of your country of origin. You also have to justify your nonresident status when you open the account (or within 15 days). This is because for a nonresident account, the bank does not withhold a percentage of the interest earned. Generally every six months, the bank does a check to confirm your nonresident status. If you acquire resident status any time after opening the account, you must notify the bank and give them your NIE. The fees for a resident account are cheaper than for a nonresident account.

List of the major banks in Spain

La Caixa – A Catalan savings bank with a lot of services in English

Catalunya Caixa – Another Catalan savings bank. Used to be banking as Caixa Catalunya, but recently merged with Caixa Manresa and Caixa Tarragona during the recent savings bank mergers. They do customer service in English (via email even). I recommend them.

Sabadell – New features and promotions includinig electronic banking, products and services, network of offices and client services. English website

Banco de Valencia – financial products and investments for companies and individuals, English site.

Banco Espirito Santo – a Portugeuese organization with activities in Spain and a network of offices and tellers.

Banco Gallego – Products and services, branches and electronic banking.

Banco Herrero – Saving, investment funds, credits, mortgages and Internet banking

Banco Pastor – Products, services, network of offices and channel of the news.

Banco Santander – personal, enterprise banking, stock-exchange services, bank online, mortgages, credits and loans.

Banesto – Internet office and other specialized services. For non-Residents. English website.

Bankinter – extensive banking Services via Internet. One of the largest online banking systems in Spain. English website.

BBK (Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa) – Internet office and other services. English website.

Citibank España – The American bank’s Spanish offices. Investments, loans and credits cards, accounts, local branches and other products and services. Surprisingly there’s no English website.

Deutsche Bank España – products, services and markets. My German friend banks with them but they don’t offer service in German nor English at the branch in Barcelona…

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya – corporative structure, financial and stock-exchange information, in addition to services for companies and individuals. Services for nonResidents. English website.

Banco Popular – Products and services for the group of banks around Spain. English website.

Grupo ING Direct – financial products, interest accounts and deposits.

Lloyds TSB Bank – specializing in private management of national and international investments. English website.

OpenBank – used to be Patagon. They specialize in online banking services, particularly good online investment banking.