Bank deposits: types of holders
Who can open a current account? Are there any cases in which special requirements apply? We will try to clarify any doubts you may have:
First, there are situations that prevent people from opening an account, where they lack the minimum capacity to do so, as in the case of incapacitated persons. The judgment declaring incapacity will determine what the person concerned can and cannot do, as well as the name of the person appointed to act as their guardian. The bank is required in such cases to observe the terms of the judgment.
If you are not incapacitated, to open an account it is generally sufficient that you are of age (or over 16 years of age and emancipated). Consequently, a child may only open an account through their parents (or, where applicable, guardian).
It is often the case that grandparents wish to open an account for a grandchild. However, to be able to do so, they must have the authority of the child’s parents (or guardian).
Legal persons, that is to say companies, may also open accounts. However, the bank must know who, and in what circumstances, may operate the account on behalf of the company, for which purpose it must request the relevant powers of attorney. This information should be regularly updated, and, in the event of any change, the bank should be notified immediately.
Also, joint owners of property – such as owners’ associations – may open accounts. Problems may arise when there are changes in the persons who represent the joint owners or who are authorised to open and operate accounts.
If there is no agreement in such cases, you should be aware that it is not contrary to good banking practice for the bank to freeze the account and, where applicable, appropriate the balance, as it is required to adopt a neutral stance. However, if it decides to do this, it must notify the persons concerned of its intentions.
Finally, we must mention, due to their special features, the accounts of non-residents. For tax reasons, banks must record the status of these accounts and, for identification purposes, the number of the passport or identity card of the holder.
Also, banks are obliged to request the account holder to provide evidence of non-residence within fifteen days of the opening of the account (specifically, a “non-resident certificate issued by the Ministry of the Interior should be provided at most two months in advance”). The account holder will be asked to provide this certificate every two years.
If the account holder fails to comply with their obligations, the bank may freeze the account, although it must inform them in advance of its intention to do so.
Find out more in our 2020 Complaints Report (in Spanish)