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What is the Best Bank for Expats in Spain in 2022?

Find out what the best bank for expats in Spain is through this article.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what i specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

Introduction 

Expats in Spain, whether those already in the country or intending to move, have different options when it comes to choosing a bank. Each financial institution has their own list of products and services, as well as eligibility and requirements for opening an account. However, most banks offer a current account, a savings account, a deposit account, and a salary account.

When choosing a bank with which to open an account, it is important to take some factors into consideration. These include, but are not limited to, ease of the application process, language in which the bank provides their services, fees charged for transactions, and accessibility to their network.

With this in mind, you may wonder what the best bank for expats in Spain is. We’ve gathered a list of five institutions considered to be the largest banks in the country.

The Best Banks for Expats in Spain

The banks listed below offer a diverse range of products and services targeted at specific needs and customers. At the same time, there are numerous branches and ATMs that you can easily go to, making them accessible wherever you are in the country. Lastly, deposits at the banks are guaranteed. This removes the worry of losing your money should unforeseen circumstances occur.

1. Banco Sabadell

Banco Sabadell was established on December 31, 1881. After a few months, they started offering their services to the general public in February 1882. In the 140 years since then, they have diversified their portfolio of products and expanded their market within and outside of Spain.

Today, they have something to offer the general public, businesses, and high-net-worth individuals. There are services and products for daily banking needs, savings, investment, credit and debit cards, loans, and insurance.  

best bank in Spain for expats: Sabadell
Banco Sabadell has specialized branches whose representatives can transact with customers in Spanish, English, German, French, and other languages.

Both Spanish residents and non-residents can open an account with Banco Sabadell. The application process can be initiated either online or in-person at any of their branches. 

Expats not yet fluent in Spanish do not need to worry. English-speaking Banco Sabadell customer service representatives are ready to be of help. They also offer the “Key Account,” which is suitable for individuals who will benefit from an exclusive translation service. With this, account holders will be assigned an individual agent who can communicate with them in their local language. There are more than 200 branches of Banco Sabadell in Spain that can cater to such needs. 

As a member of the Spanish Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions, deposits in Banco Sabadell are guaranteed up to 100,000 per depositor.

2. Banco Santander

Banco Santander was established on May 15, 1857. One hundred years later, in 1957, it became the seventh largest financial institution in Spain. Today, it has made its way to the top of the list, becoming the largest bank in the country in terms of assets and revenues. As of September 2021, its total assets worldwide amounted to 1.58 trillion euros.

They have different services and products for everyday banking, mortgages, savings and investments, loans, and insurance. There are also customized solutions for applicants who belong to professional groups in the sectors of education, agriculture, health, justice, and government. 

santander
Deposits at Banco Santander are guaranteed.

Both residents and non-residents can open an account with Banco Santander. An application can be done online or in-branch. There are 1,947 branches of the bank easily accessible throughout the country. In general, an ID document or passport and a certificate of non-residency are needed when opening a bank account. 

A maximum amount of 100,000 euros deposited in Banco Santander is guaranteed under the Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions.  

3. CaixaBank

CaixaBank is a relatively new bank in comparison to the others previously mentioned. It was only founded in 2011, but has years’ worth of history attached to its name. It is also consistently included in the list of the largest banks in Spain by assets.

They have different products and services for individuals and companies. For personal banking, there are products for day-to-day banking needs, savings and deposits, pension plans, investment funds, insurance, mortgages, and loans. 

caixabank
CaixaBank offers customer support in English.

In general, applicants who are Spanish citizens need to present their Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) when applying for an account. On the other hand, residents of Spain need to be prepared with their residence certificate together with additional documents. For applicants who are citizens of the European Union or Schengen countries, they must present their passport or national identity document. For applicants who are not EU citizens, they must have a Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE), also known as the identification number for foreigners.

Similarly, opening a bank account with CaixaBank can be done online or at the nearest branch. There are 5,317 branches in Spain and Portugal, and even more outside those countries. CaixaBank is affiliated with the Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions. As such, deposits at the bank are guaranteed up to 100,000 euros per depositor. 

4. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) 

BBVA was established on May 28, 1857. It has grown to become one of the largest banks in Spain, with its total assets amounting to 651 billion euros as of September last year. 

Currently, they offer products and services for individuals, freelancers, and companies. These include current accounts, credit and debit cards, mortgages, insurance, pension plans, investments, savings, and deposits.

BBVA
BBVA has also established its network outside of Spain.

Both residents and non-residents can open an account at BBVA. However, for non-residents, the application has to be done in-person at any of their branches. This shouldn’t be too difficult to do since there are over 1,800 branches that you can go to wherever you are in Spain. 

Applicants who are residents of the EU will need to present an EU passport or identification document and a certificate of residence in an EU country or European residence card. Those who do not hold a residency permit should prepare a national identification document or passport. 

Given that BBVA is part of Spain’s Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions, all deposits at the bank are insured up to 100,000 euros. 

5. Bankinter

Bankinter was established in 1965, and it initially started as an industrial bank. However, a few years later, it was listed on the Madrid stock exchange and, at the same time, became a commercial bank. 

Through the years, they have sailed through the tides of time by constantly innovating and adapting. They were one of the first institutions to introduce mobile banking back in 1996. Today, they have different financial products for various personal and corporate needs. There are offerings for daily banking needs, savings, loans, mortgages, cards, pension plans, and investment funds.

bankinter
Bankinter offers products specific to foreign residents and non-residents in Spain.

Furthermore, Bankinter also has specific accounts intended for Spanish expatriates, foreign residents, and non-resident foreigners. This provides the convenience of doing bank transactions with representatives who can speak your language, among other advantages. 

Expats can open an account either online or at a branch. In total, there are 523 branches of Bankinter in Spain. However, only 360 of them are considered general branches, and 39 of the total are private banking centers. The remaining number of branches are dedicated to medium-sized companies, large businesses, and major corporations.

Similarly, Bankinter is connected to the Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions. This means that a maximum amount of 100,000 euros is guaranteed per depositor.  

Mobile Banks for Expats in Spain

Apart from the traditional banks in Spain listed above, expats can also choose to open an account with a mobile banking institution. These provide the benefit of being able to apply for an account and manage your finances anywhere in the world. At the same time, the process is often less stringent, with institutions often requiring applicants to simply verify their identity. Lastly, fees are usually lower, and sometimes even none, for both local and international transactions. 

List of Mobile Banks for Expats in Spain

1. N26

2. Wise

3. Bunq

4. Revolut Bank

To find out more about them, you can click on the reviews of the respective mobile banks linked above.

Conclusion

With this, we’ve listed both traditional and mobile banking institutions to choose from. Ultimately, the best bank for expats in Spain will depend on whether the financial institution can meet their needs. However, starting with the major players in the industry provides convenience, accessibility, and security.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

This website is not designed for American resident readers, or for people from any country where buying investments or distributing such information is illegal. This website is not a solicitation to invest, nor tax, legal, financial or investment advice. We only deal with investors who are expats or high-net-worth/self-certified  individuals, on a non-solicitation basis. Not for the retail market.

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