Opening a Spanish bank account: how and costs?

If you are buying a property in Spain, you will need a Spanish bank account. This article discusses what you need for this and will also warn you about the unexpected cost of a Spanish bank cheque.

When should I open a Spanish bank account?

After you have chosen a property and signed the reservation contract, you can open a Spanish bank account. In principle, you have time for this until a few days before the notary appointment.

Find more info on the reservation contract here.

How can I open a Spanish bank account?

Opening a bank account can be done in two ways. You apply in person at a local bank branch and ask for the branch manager. 

You can also have a Spanish bank account opened by notarised power of attorney.

Important to know is the strict application of anti-money laundering legislation. You must prove the origin of your funds. Specifically, the bank may ask for your tax returns for the last two years, notarised deeds and account statements for the last six months.

Find more information on how to open a Spanish bank account by power of attorney here.

Are there annual fees on a Spanish bank account?

Holding a Spanish bank account for non-residents comes with administration and transaction fees. This can quickly add up to several hundred euros a year. 

What is often forgotten: the cost of a Spanish bank cheque

In Spain, the bank cheque (cheque bancario) is another widely used payment method, especially for real estate transactions. Usually, foreign bank cheques are not accepted by sellers. 

As a buyer in that situation, you are forced to apply for a Spanish bank cheque from your Spanish bank. However, this can be expensive. For example, it is common for the bank to charge you a few hundred euros for this.

However, the price for the Spanish bank cheque is negotiable. If you inform yourself about this prior to opening a bank account, the banker will often accommodate you.

The cost of a mortgage

If you are considering taking out a mortgage in Spain, there will be some limited costs. The Spanish government introduced a number of measures in November 2018 that will make borrowing in Spain significantly cheaper.

Read more about the cost of a mortgage in Spain.

Anti-money laundering legislation 

Spanish law requires you to be able to prove the origin of your funds. If you buy a property in Spain, the bank will ask how you finance this purchase. Usually, they will ask for tax returns for the past two years, a Belgian mortgage or sales deed, a deed of succession, proof of donation, etc. 

Note: do not forget to declare your Spanish bank account.


Opening and maintaining a Spanish bank account can involve unexpected costs. This is particularly the case for Spanish bank cheques. So comparing is recommended. You can also negotiate more specific costs, such as applying for Spanish bank cheques.

Read more about the practicalities of buying a property in Spain.

Update January 2022

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