I am buying a property in Spain, I got my N.I.C number from the consulate and already started visiting the properties. I was expecting to be able to open a 'foreigner' bank account with ease. Just walk-in give N.I.C, passport, show the cash, and you are welcomed with extended hands, right... you wish...

After I got into the bank (starts with S) I had written everything down in google translate as one message that explains who I am, that I want to buy the property, and I need to open a foreigner account, that I have funds in bank account to buy the property, my N.I.C.

Employees of the bank behaved like translate does not work (maybe it doesn't), and after 45 minutes of charades, showing a passport, emails from the consulate with N.I.C (they kept on asking for original), I realized that I will not open a bank account here, no matter how many times I will show everything that is listed online to be enough to open a foreign bank account. One employee wrote me a list of what would it take to open the account.

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Since banks during COVID work short hours (9.00 - 11.30) and only 4 clients are allowed, I pretty much can do one visit per day, and I would prefer to spend time actually progressing in opening a bank account.

Which banks in Spain are more willing to work with foreigners and expats?

  • 2
    The Spanish lawyer you’re using for the property purchase should be able to suggest a solution, and/or you could try asking your own bank in your country of residence for advice. Note that walking into most banks to try to open an account with a large amount of cash will be a problem due to anti-money laundering regulations.
    – Traveller
    Jul 7, 2020 at 6:58
  • 1
    @traveller by 'cash' I meant money in my other bank account. e.g. Proof of funds. Jul 7, 2020 at 8:29
  • Proof of funds is not the same as proof of source of funds. Your new bank won’t necessarily rely on anti-money laundering due diligence done by your existing bank, these days many banks will insist on doing their own checks.
    – Traveller
    Jul 13, 2020 at 16:44

3 Answers 3


I would say N26, it operates in the whole Europe and it just takes a videocall showing your passport to get an account and debit card.

I must add that it has fantastic exchange rates to most of the currencies (it is integrated with transferwise). They also have overdrafts; saving accounts and you can withdraw money for free in most of the ATM in Europe 3 times a month.


After visiting Kutxabank (excuse: does not work with foreigners), Bankinter (excuse: only opens accounts with clients that would stay in that town to keep it personal (in Valencia where pop in 0.5M)), BNNA (excuse: does not have foreigner accounts (they do advertise them online)), Santander (requires an insane amount of paperwork all translated and notarised in Spanish, see question).

I managed to open an account in Caixabank. Wasnt easy and had to take extra stuff like property insurance, credit card, and somewhat expensive account, but they did it in a day.

EDIT: However after depositing more than 10k, they are now refusing to transfer or allow me to take my money out of the account for reasons unexplainable in Spanish. So I highly advise against using them. Its better no account than the account you cannot access your money anymore.

  • 5
    Putting that video online without her express consent is illegal in Spain. Also, what she is saying is just that you need to work with the branch at which you opened the account, she has already contacted them. Jul 12, 2020 at 12:05
  • 3
    As a side note, and disregarding money laundering regulations that may make what you are attempting a bit more difficult, you can't just walk into a branch and request your money; for withdrawals above 6000€ you need to put a forward request and wait one or two days for the money to be available Jul 12, 2020 at 12:08
  • 1
    Seriously, I can’t figure out why - for a property transaction - you didn’t just wire the money from your account in your home country. Any bank these days is obliged to evaluate money laundering risks; as a new client you’ll not have had time to build up a normal activity profile so large transactions are likely to flag up and be questioned/cause delays etc.
    – Traveller
    Jul 13, 2020 at 16:40
  • @Traveller You want to have a local account to pay bills and stuff, to avoid the international banking side. Jul 17, 2020 at 7:40
  • @Matas Vaitkevicius Yes, I am aware of that. I used to work in the compliance team of a retail bank. Automated transaction monitoring/profiling is the norm, from the bank’s point of view there’s a big difference between using a newly opened account to ‘pay bills and stuff’ over time (normal profile) and using it to deposit / withdraw large amounts immediately after opening it (abnormal profile).
    – Traveller
    Jul 17, 2020 at 8:17

In the same spirit as Vicente Bolea's answer, you could use the Revolut bank, which also operates in the most (all?) of Europe as well as the a few countries outside the Europe, such as the United States. See https://www.revolut.com/en-ES/change-country (mirror) for the list of countries Revolut supports.

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