Opening a bank account in Italy is relatively easy. Italy is a developed country in the EU, which also makes it part of the SEPA zone. Many bank employees speak English, although even in 2019 paperwork can still be somewhat daunting in Italy. One way to get around that is to use a modern bank like N26.
Italy attracts many visitors because of its cosmopolitan vibe and its extensive history. Modern Italy is enjoying a similar trend with other large countries all over the world. Even its smaller cities are known to have a diverse history. Did you know the modern banking system was literally invented in Italy? And there’s still a bank around that was founded in 1472, the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
It is easy to open a bank account for non-residents due to legislation that was passed to cater for various types of accounts and other financial products. You can visit Italy as a student, worker or investor. This article will help you in opening a bank account in Italy.
- 1 Types of banks available in Italy
- 2 Is it possible to open a bank account for non-residents?
- 3 Documents required to open a bank account in Italy
- 4 Best bank accounts in Italy
- 5 What you need to know before opening a bank account.
- 6 Transferring money abroad by the use of virtual bank account
- 7 Card payments in Italy
- 8 References
Types of banks available in Italy
There are a wide variety of banks in Italy. Some of them range from co-operative banks; banchi popolari cooperativi, credit or commercial banks; banche di credito cooperativo.
Is it possible to open a bank account for non-residents?
Yes. There are various types of banks accounts you can open in Italy. Some of them include a non-resident account for expats. Expats prefer them because they don’t charge high-interest rates. This bank account for non-residents which do not attract interest taxes and they attract interest on deposits. Anyone in Italy can open a bank account even if they are not residents so long as they are above 18 years.
Documents required to open a bank account in Italy
The following documents are important in opening a bank account. You will need a passport of a driver’s license, Italian tax code locally known as codice fiscale, proof address and residence permit or work permit or identification card.
The codice fiscale is available in any tax office in major town centers. You get the number the same day you apply. Make sure you note the hours of operation in Italy to avoid finding the offices closed.
Best bank accounts in Italy
The following is a list of the best banks in Italy with convenient branches and ATMs all over the country. In case you want a bank where English is spoken, consider Intesa Sanpaolo.
Unicredit is a popular and reputable financial institution for Italians. The staffs are trained to deal with foreigners and it is the bank that has the largest network of ATMs in Italy. This means you will have easy access to cash. They offer debit cards and some of them have a contactless card.
2. Poste Italiane
Poste Italiane is a bank that is recommendable for expats since you can transact and open an account using a post office in Italy. They provide debit cards which can be given to children and you can top up the amount conveniently. It helps children to learn how to manage money at a tender age. It is only in Italy.
3. BNL: Banca Nazionale del Lavoro
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) is a financial institution that has a cashback program as its best selling point. This means that you will get back your money when you make certain purchases. They have an extensive network of ATMs and branches all over the country. They also provide debit cards.
4. Intesa Sanpaolo
Intesa Sanpaolo is a popular bank due to its wide coverage ATMs and branches in Italy. They have a wide variety of accounts; they have accounts for the youth, students, businesses, families. They also offer other products such as insurance services, investments and mortgages. Recently, they introduced an online banking system.
What you need to know before opening a bank account.
Opening a bank account in Italy is easy. The important thing is to research and know the network of a bank before you can open an account. Also, know all the charges that a bank has to avoid unwanted charges. Get to know the ATM fees, account maintenance fee and fees that appear in your statement. Some accounts charge fees on current accounts while others have a minimum amount of balance to retain in your account. Others also charge withdrawal fees and monthly fees.
Also, in Italy, banks have different hours of operation depending on seasons. In winter some banks have fewer hours of operation and it is important to note when they are in operation.
Transferring money abroad by the use of virtual bank account
When you want to send money outside Europe, you will probably walk into your bank and request them to make the transaction. They will tell you to pay for the wire transfer fee which is not valid. Banks use mid-market rates to transfer money and convert it into other currencies. This is quite expensive since they will cover all their expenses and retain a profit.
Therefore, the best option is to use a virtual bank account with e.g. Payoneer, Transferwise, N26 or Revolut. You can also opt to use European IBAN which is useful in sending and receiving money all over the world.
Card payments in Italy
Debit cards and credit cards are all refereed you as credit cards in Italy. Some of the available credit cards include Mastercard, Visa and CartaSi. These cards have different charges and it is important to confirm which one you want before opening an account.
In case you lose your card, report your bank so that the card can be canceled to avoid unauthorized withdrawals and charges.
Kasper is our expert for saving, investing and bank accounts. Kasper holds an MSc in Mathematics and worked with Mercedes-Benz and the Dutch tax authorities.