Opening a bank account offers you a lot of benefits, besides the fact that it offers safety for your money

Whether you are a resident or non resident , you will need a bank account in Italy to make your financial transactions go smoothly while here. Opening a bank account offers you a lot of benefits, besides the fact that it offers safety for your money, having an account in Italy will allow you to set up direct debits and standing orders to help you pay all of your monthly utilities, and will make withdrawing money for day to day costs far easier. Plus if you ever need a credit, you can access one because you have an account.

Italy has an abundance of banks with a long history dating as far back as during the Roman Empire. The world oldest bank Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena is located in Italy and has been operating continuously since 1472. Italy has a thriving banking sector with national chains, hundreds of branches, and thousands of ATMs spread around the country.

What kind of Banks Can I Find in Italy?

There are three basic kinds of banks you will find in Italy.

  • Traditional Banks
  • Postal Service
  • Online Banks

The traditional banks are your regular type of banks with a local or a national presence. For example Unicredit, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Intesa Sanpaolo etc. While foreign banks in Italy include Barclays Bank PLC, HSBC Bank plc, Citibank International just to mention a few.

In Italy, there are two postal Service: Poste Italiane and BancoPosta. They offer banking services while also functioning as a post office. Banca Sella with HYPE, or N26 allows you to open an account entirely online.

How Can I Choose the Best Bank?

The choice of a bank depends on your specific needs. If you need a bank account in which you can receive and transfer money locally, pay bills and withdraw money for your day to day expenses, then you will need to pay attention to different bank interest rates and banking fees, as well as customer satisfaction rates. Also, it is important to look more closely at the account opening process and the documentation they will need. When you begin your search for a bank provider it is also worthwhile asking friends, colleagues and neighbors for their recommendations and it is crucial that you choose a bank that offers reasonable fees, particularly for international money transfers and a bank that has a branch near to where you are located or has branches all over the country with easy accessibility of ATM machines.

What are the types of Bank Accounts in Italy?

There are two main types of bank account in Italy: Personal and Corporate account.

Personal account

This is the type of bank account for your normal day to day transactions. You have the resident account if you have a residence in Italy and a non resident account if you do not have a residence in Italy.

To understand what it means to have a residence in Italy and not to have, you can read our post by clicking on this link: Different types of resident permits in Italy.

The different types of resident bank accounts includes:

  • Conto Corrente (current account)– a basic account for your daily transactions, payments, and operations
  • Conto di risparmio (savings account) – this is for your savings, on which you can earn a little bit more interest.
  • Conto di deposito (deposit account) – this is a less flexible type of savings account that might offer a higher rate of interest
  • Conto corrente cointestato (joint account) – this is a current account that you share with someone else

As a non-resident, you can open a basic current account called conto corrente non residenti. It’s worth noting that these non-resident accounts typically entertain higher interest rates.

As a non-resident, you can open a basic current account called conto corrente non residenti. It’s worth noting that these non-resident accounts typically entertain higher interest rates.

Corporate Account

The process itself is more or less the same, but the corporate account will require documents, listed below, that are not necessary for the personal account:

  • Company director’s passport
  • Company director’s proof of address
  • Tax number (codice fiscale)
  • Company’s registration certificate
  • Company’s certificate of good standing
  • Statements of the financial status of all shareholders with more than a 20% stake in the company

What are the Requirements for Opening an Account?

The basic requirement is that you should be at least 18 years old to open your own account and preferably, but not necessarily to be resident in Italy.

What are the documents needed to Open Personal Account?

The following documents will be needed:

  • Passport
  • Tax number (Codice Fiscale)
  • Proof of address (usually as a utility bill)
  • Proof of employment or a residence permit.
  • Proof that you’re studying, if you’re a student

Do I need to pay money to Open an Account?

It is very important to find out what fees and charges that are associated with the type of account you intend to have. Some banks impose different amount of fees for maintenance, withdrawal, transaction and both local and international transfers. Try to find an account where the charges works in your favor – for example, it could be in your interest to get an account that doesn’t charge so much for withdrawing cash.

When Do Banks Open in Italy?

Italian banks tend to be open on Monday to Friday from 08:30 – 13:30, and then 15:00 – 16:00. Some of the bigger banks do open on Saturday’s but usually only in the major cities, and between 09:00 and Midday.

Do I get a Cheque Book When I Open an Account?

Most banks would offer you a cheque book for most of the bank accounts offered by the bank on request with or without an extra cost incurred by the account holder. It is very important to be aware that is it illegal to bounce cheques in Italy. If your cheques do bounce, you can be banned from holding a bank account and prosecuted.

An overdraft account is an easy way to navigate this scenario. Although you would end up paying more in the long run as banks in Italy typically charge hefty interest rates and other extra fees on overdrawn accounts.

Can I Close my Bank Account?

​This could happen for any reason. It’s best to review your contract carefully when initially opening the account to see how difficult it will be or if there will be any fees involved. You will need to send a registered letter –raccomandata, from the post office to the branch of the bank where your account is before appearing in person. If you have a joint account, then all those attached to the account will have to provide signatures.

I would like to hear from you: What are your thoughts on this subject. You can share your thoughts and experiences with me and others in the comments section below!

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