What do you need to do to open a bank account?


Opening an account is one of the easiest things a banking customer has to do. But even so, you will need to complete the following steps.

First, the bank will ask you for identification:

  • If you’re Spanish, you’ll need your Spanish ID card.
  • If you’re an EU citizen, you may be asked for your passport or identity document issued in your country, alongside your foreigner identification number (NIE) or foreigner identity card (TIE).
  • If you’re a non-EU citizen, you’ll need to provide your foreigner identity card (TIE).
  • Also, if you’re non-resident, you’ll need to prove this, by means of the appropriate documentation.

When you open your account, the bank may ask you for documentation to prove where the funds to be paid into the account have come from. This is to comply with prevention of money laundering regulations. If it does not do so, it may ask you for this information at a later date, and it may freeze your account if you cannot prove where the money has come from.

It is important to take some time to study the conditions the bank is offering. And before signing, you need to request and carefully review the pre-contractual information.

You should carefully weigh up the following aspects:

  • Services linked to the bank account. Together with a bank account contract it is quite common to be offered other contracts: a debit card, online banking, e‑correspondence, and possibly even a credit card. You may be presented with a single document including several different contracts. As always, you need to be sure which services you need and how much they will cost. The bank will offer you pre-contractual information on these other products.
  • Terms and conditions. Before making a decision, it is a good idea to consult the fee and commission charges that banks display on noticeboards in their branches and on their web sites. The Banco de España’s account compare tool can come in useful here. Some of the most usual terms and conditions you should check are:


  • Maintenance fee. Find out how much the fee is and when it is payable (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, …).
  • Flat rate. You pay a regular set amount that includes account maintenance and allows you to perform a number of transactions at no extra cost. Check that this matches your usual bank transactions and find out how much any other transactions you may need to make will cost.
  • These are frequently applied to certain charges (e.g. account or card maintenance services) provided that certain conditions are met. They may require that you purchase other products or maintain a certain level of account activity. Check that you understand this correctly and that you will meet these conditions, and check the charge applicable if you do not do so.
  • Gifts. These may be very attractive, but they do not come without conditions.

Lastly, consider applying for a basic payment account. For more information on opening current accounts, check out the following links:

Opening an account

Account holders and access

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