Banking and payments
As in other EU countries, the currency in Spain is the euro.
Barcelona offers you many options for safeguarding your money and managing your finances: from local banks to branches of big international banks. Before you choose, ask your home bank if they have a branch in Barcelona. Some banks have staff that speak English and many have electronic banking services in several languages.
Most banks are open Mondays to Fridays, 8.30 am to 2 pm or 2.30 pm. Some also open on Thursday afternoons, 5 pm to 7.45 pm, from October to May.
Opening a bank account
If you’re going to stay in Barcelona for some time, you are advised to open a bank account.
If you plan to live in Barcelona, it may be more appropriate for you to open a resident account. But note that, to obtain your tax residence, you will have to meet several requirements: to have spent more than 183 days in a one-year period in Spain; having the centre of your activities or economic interests (business or job) in Spain or having a spouse and minor children who are dependent on you and reside in Spain.
If you have just moved or plan to be over here for a short period of time, you can open a non-resident account. Besides basic documents, you will have to show you are not a tax resident by producing a certificate of non-residence. If you subsequently become a resident, you will have to notify your bank of this.
The documents required for opening a bank account will depend on the bank you choose, although you will have to verify your identity by producing a government-issued ID, such as a passport or any other document that contains an identity number for foreign nationals (NIE, which stands for Número d'identificació d’estrangers). Note that, to satisfy the legislation, the bank may require more documents from you, such as proof of your residence or your country of origin’s tax code (Social Security number or tax identification number).
You can open an account in euros or in another currency, but, in the latter case, you may have to leave a minimum deposit. Find out about charges as you may have to pay a commission on some transactions and a maintenance fee for some credit cards.
You will be able to take out money from cash points with your credit or debit card. You will be given instructions in several languages. In Barcelona, you will also be able to use your card in almost all shops, hotels, restaurants and other services, such as the metro, taxis and parking meters.
The most convenient way to pay your periodic bills (rent, electricity, telephone etc.,) is by direct debit. You will have to authorise your bank for such payments by filling in the corresponding forms, so that your bills are paid directly from your bank account. The bank will inform you of the amount paid in each case.
It is not usual to use cheques in Barcelona for recurrent payments.