Leaving your loved ones behind to support them from a new country is a huge step in anybody’s life. A move like this means you’ll have lots of decisions to make, and one primary issue for most migrants is banking.

At Remitly, we understand that you may feel unsure about where to set up a bank account in Spain. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide which takes a look at the factors you need to keep in mind, as well as some of the local financial institutions which are worth your attention. 

Key Considerations When Choosing a Bank in Spain

As with any matter relating to your finances, it pays to spend a bit of time researching the options. Here are five factors to weigh up when comparing banks in Spain.

  • Fees – is there a running cost attached to the account?
  • Ease of set-up – is opening this Spanish bank account an easy process?
  • Ease of use – is there a mobile banking app available for account holders?
  • Customer service – is it easy to contact the bank’s customer service staff, and will they have people on hand to speak your native language?
  • Additional features – can you set up an overdraft through your account, and also access savings accounts and other services at the bank?

4 Banks to Consider Joining in Spain

To help you sift through some of the information out there on banks in Spain, we’ve picked out a handful of options that you might like. 

Santander

Why it wins?

Santander is a familiar brand across the world, but its home country is Spain. Living in the company’s motherland will entitle you to open a Santander One account, and its monthly costs depend on how active you are as a Santander customer. Customers who have their salary paid into their account, set up direct debits and have engaged at least one of the bank’s other services – like its savings account – will pay nothing in account fees.

As an account holder, you can enjoy free withdrawals from over 7,000 Santander ATM machines in Spain, along with 30,000 across the world. The Santander mobile app makes managing your money easy whether you’re at home or on the move, and you’ll of course have all the other financial services you’d expect from one of the world’s biggest banks.

CaixaBank

Why it wins?

Another household name in Spain is CaixaBank, which goes out of its way to assist people who are newcomers to the country. Its HolaBank account features round-the-clock phone assistance in five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Russian), and it also offers unlimited phone translation services in those languages. 

You can join up online, and becoming a HolaBank customer automatically enters you into the HolaBank Club, which is designed to help recent migrants. The customer team can help you sort out the connection of gas, electricity and water in your new residence, and provide a free, three-way call translation service to connect you with plumbers, locksmiths and other people you may need to hire. You can even get free assistance with legal and administrative issues. While there is technically no maintenance fee for the HolaBank account, other fees can be incurred depending on how you bank, so it’s important to check out the small print before joining.

BBVA

Why it wins?

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, or BBVA to call it by its easier everyday name, is ideal for anyone who’s keeping to a tight budget. It offers an account that won’t cost you anything per month, and it doesn’t expect you to make minimum deposits to maintain your fee-free status. 

One of the most striking things about the BBVA account is the Aqua debit card, which doesn’t have the account number printed on it. Instead, for your heightened security, you access your account details through the mobile app. There’s also a reassuring tool for keeping in touch with your advisor at the bank, called My Conversations. This lets you chat to staff via the app, send and receive documents, and store the conversations for later reference.

N26 

Why it wins

If you like the thought of staying completely in the digital space when banking, N26 is a top option. The N26 Standard account can be opened online in under 10 minutes and will let you manage your money through the clean, simple mobile app. There is no maintenance fee for the account (unless your balance goes over €50,000), and you can use a free, virtual Mastercard debit card to make payments (or order a physical one for €10).

If you want a more involved service, N26 also provides higher-tier bank accounts which offer detailed money management tools and special deals with entertainment, fitness and travel brands. What’s more, N26 has customer support staff you can chat with in English, German, Spanish, French and Italian.

How to send money from your bank back home

Having selected a bank in Spain and created an account, you may want to start

sending money back to friends and family members who need your support. This is where we come in. Remitly’s role is to provide a fair, cost-effective way to make remittances, with a transparent fee structure and exchange rates. To transfer money to your home country with Remitly, follow these steps.

  • Create an account on our website or app
  • Select the country you’re sending to
  • Select how you’d like the transfer to be received back home
  • Enter your recipient’s details
  • Transfer the funds by paying with your debit or credit card

 

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topics discussed herein. This publication is not a substitute for seeking advice from an applicable specialist or professional. The content in this publication does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Remitly or any of its affiliates and should not be relied upon as such. While we strive to keep our posts up to date and accurate, we cannot represent, warrant or otherwise guarantee that the content is accurate, complete or up to date.