Banking & Banks in Ibiza

Euro Bank account

If you plan on staying in Ibiza for longer than six months, you will probably need a euro bank account.
Regrettably, UK high street banks seem determined not to open euro accounts for their existing customers. Witless bureaucracy and crippling fees, bear witness to this. Believe me I’ve tried!

For foreigners on Ibiza, there are two types of bank accounts: resident and non-resident accounts.
Some banks speak only Spanish, most though have an English speaking member of staff. Most banks are helpful and pleased to accept your business. Non-residents need to provide a passport or an identification document valid in their country (such as a passport or ID card, but you might have problems with driving licenses, this depends on the bank). Normally a letter of introduction to your new bank from your UK bank is required. Simple you may think, but Lloyds TSB in UK managed to make a meal out of the request, lecturing me on money laundering regulations forms to be filled etc.

However when questioned about the regulations they gave up and produced the simple letter requested! In addition, within 15 days after opening the account, you technically must justify your non-resident status by providing a certificado de no residencia. You can apply and collect this certificate at a local police station. Every two years thereafter, the bank is supposed to perform a check on your non-resident status. In the event that you do become a resident after opening the account, you must notify the bank and give them a copy of your certificado de empadronamiento.
In reality, banks do not ask for the certificado de no residencia. If a branch requires this, we would suggest either going to another branch of the same bank or to a different bank to try to avoid this inconvenience.

Fees & services

In terms of fees and services, non-resident accounts are virtually the same as resident ones. The only differences being that the bank may not be willing to issue you a credit card or provide you overdraft protection. Should the bank charge significantly higher fees for being a non-resident, we recommend taking your business elsewhere.
One final word of caution regarding opening accounts: if you make the initial deposit in a foreign currency, be sure to specifically ask that the currency be converted into euros immediately (we have heard of cases where this became a problem later). The bank should charge you no more than their typical foreign exchange commissions for this operation.
The most common type of account is a non-interest bearing current or checking account (cuenta corriente). The other alternative is a savings account (cuenta de ahorro).

For an annual fee nearly all banks will offer you a debit card that you can use to pay with in shops and take money out of cash machines. You can get checks, even though they are not used much anywhere in Spain. Checks are rarely accepted commercially in shops, you will never see anyone paying by check at a supermarket or a clothing store.
Spain's banks run a convenient system called domiciliación that allows companies to directly debit your account for billing purposes. Phone and utility companies are big users of this system; many of them actually require you to pay in this manner. In case you choose not to pay your bills through this route, you will have to go to a bank anyway to pay it person (not necessarily your bank either). The hours for making these payments are fairly restricted, usually between 8:30 and 10:30 and sometimes only on certain days of the week (one example is Monday, Wednesday, Friday).

Banking hours

Standard banking hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30-9:00 in the morning until 2:00-2:30 in the afternoon. Some banks also extend hours once a week and/or are open on Saturdays from 9:00-13:00.
Most banks tend to shorten their opening hours during the summer months (June-August) with no Saturday opening. Spanish banks are very firm when it comes to closing time. If you arrive at a branch at 1:55 and it closes at 2:00, don't be surprised if the guard doesn't let you in the door. That is, unless you are an important customer. As they keep working after closing time, they might let you in through the backdoor.

Banking jargon:

BACS
Money transfer service from an automated clearing house providing predominantly retail payment services that include direct debit, standing order and direct credit (e.g. salary payments).

Bankers Draft
This is a cheque drawn on the bank (or building society) itself against a cash deposit. A 'bankers draft' is thought of as being a secure way of receiving money from someone you don't know where you fear his/her cheques bounce and where it's not convenient or desirable to receive cash. 'Bankers drafts' are commonly used for large purchases such as homes and cars.

Broker
An agent who handles investors' orders to buy and sell currency. For this service, a commission is charged which, depending upon the broker and the amount of the transaction, may or may not be negotiated.

Exchange Rate
The rate at which one currency is exchanged for another e.g. if L100,000 = US$180,000 the exchange rate is 1.80 “Exchange Rate” is frequently abbreviated to simply “rate”.

IBAN
Your International bank account number – one for each account

Sort Code
A six digit number (##-##-##) which identifies your bank and branch.

SWIFT Code
An international equivalent to the sort code

Euro Money - See photos of the notes