If you are planning to relocate to Italy, you may consider opening a bank account in Italy. This guide will give you a general overview on the different types of accounts, process and requirements to open an Italian bank account, even for non residents.
There are many different banks in Italy and account types. Besides traditional banks, you will also find some digital banks that allow you to open an Italian bank account online.
The online banking options, however, usually differ from traditional accounts with regards to certain aspects.
Why opening a bank account in Italy?
Despite not being mandatory to have a local bank account while living in Italy, opening an Italian bank account will definitely facilitate certain transactions.
In fact, you may want to receive your Italian salary on an Italian bank account, pay bills to local utilities providers, subscribe an Internet contract with a direct debit on your local account, or pay taxes.
Can I open a bank account in Italy?
You can open a bank account in Italy if you are at least 18 years old and in possession of a valid identity document. Most banks in Italy also require your Italian Fiscal Code.
Bank account in Italy for foreigners
Can you open a bank account in Italy as a foreigner?
First thing to know about opening a bank account in Italy for non residents is that banks will ask to declare your residency. Italian banks, in fact, will usually ask whether or not you are Italian resident at the time of opening the account.
Generally speaking, foreign citizens can be qualified as residents of Italy if they have their habitual residence or domicile in Italy or they are registered in the registry of the Municipality of residence for at least 183 days a year.
Non-residents can still open a bank account in Italy, but only under certain conditions.
Right to a basic bank account
According to European laws, all those who are legally resident in an EU country are entitles to open a “basic payment account”.
In fact, banks cannot refuse your application for a basic payment account just because you don’t live in the country where the bank is established. However, they can refuse an account if you do not comply with EU rules on money laundering and terrorism financing.
If you are applying for a basic payment account outside the country where you live, banks in some EU countries may also want you to prove a genuine interest for doing so – i.e. if you live in one country but work in another.
EU rules on money protection
The European Union has set rules for money protection, to ensure that the savings in your bank account are protected in case of bank failure.
The money is usually protected up to a limit of € 100,000.00 or the equivalent in local currency. This limit applies per person and per bank, so if you have several amounts at the same bank, the limit applies to your aggregated accounts (with some exceptions).
There are also cases where money will be protected above the € 100,000.00, for a limited time. These include for instance money receiving as a result of the selling of a private residential property, or received after a particular event in life, or received as compensation for criminal injures.
In such cases, the amounts over € 100,000.00 are protected for at least 3 months and no more than 12 months after the money has been credited.
Bank account in Italy for non-residents
How to open a bank account in Italy for non residents
If you are non-resident, the only type of Italian bank account you can open is a “conto corrente non residente”, which usually has more restrictive conditions and may not offer the full range of services available for residents.
In fact, bank account for non-residents usually allow the holder to perform only basic operations such as salary credit, make payments and arrange withdrawals.
You may find some initial obstacles, however, as the more traditional banks usually ask for a local proof of address and fiscal code to open an account.
In case you are facing issues finding a bank available to open a non-resident account, feel free to contact us for a consultation.
How to open a bank account in Italy as resident
If you relocated to Italy, you may consider registering as Italian resident in order to apply for more advantageous bank conditions. As a matter of fact, the Municipality registration is also an immigration requirement for citizens of certain nationalities.
While being a mandatory requirement, foreigners with registered residency in Italy also offers several benefits such as:
- Access to more advantageous rates when opening a bank account;
- Apply for a long-term enrolment into the Italian Health System;
- Possibility to buy a car and/or to convert a foreign driving license into a local one;
- Dedicated permits to drive into traffic restricted areas (ZTL – Limited Traffic Zone);
- Dedicated offers for utility bills;
Once registered with the local Municipality, you will be able also to obtain an Italian ID card.
Types of Italian bank accounts for residents
As Italian resident, there are many types of Italian bank accounts you can request, for example:
- Conto corrente: a standard Italian bank account that can be used for all transactions. It can be in the name of one person or shared with someone else
- Conto deposito: an account where you usually put savings in order to earn interests. It usually does not allow transactions other than money deposit and money withdrawal
The standard bank account also allows the holder to connect several instruments to it, such as debit cards, credit cards and checkbooks.
What do I need to open a bank account in Italy?
The documents you need to open a bank account in Italy as resident are:
- A proof of ID such as a passport or national identity card;
- A proof of Italian address and legal residence status;
- An Italian fiscal code;
- Proof of employment or student status;
- Proof of residence permit for non-EU nationals, if applicable.
However, each bank has their own procedures and they may required additional documents and/or a minimum amount of money to be deposited on the account.
The documents may differ when opening a corporate account. In these cases, it is normally necessary to provide additional documents such as:
- The company’s director identification document;
- The company’s director proof of address;
- Their tax number;
- The company’s registration certificate;
- Other documents based on the specific case.
Bank account in Italy online
Italian banking system
Italy has a well-developed banking system, composed of different types of credit institutions. Specifically, there are commercial and non-commercial banks, savings banks and investment institutions.
Furthermore, there are online banks.
How to open a bank account in Italy online
Online banks are usually intended for non-residents and they also have some advantages such as lower fees. However, one of the main disadvantages is that you won’t be able to get fully assisted by visiting the bank office in person and be guided by a dedicated consultant. Furthermore, there are often limitations to the type of transactions you can make.
With the development of the internet in general, even the more traditional banks have started to offer online services available for their clients. Among these services, most of the bank offer Home Banking systems that will allow their clients to organize payments and transactions autonomously through their dedicated app, up to limited amounts.
Costs of an Italian bank account
Each bank has its own fee list, and they may charge you a fee to open an account. The main types of costs associated with a bank account in Italy are the following:
- Maintenance costs: such costs are charged regularly, normally on a monthly or yearly basis
- Transaction costs: depending on the bank and on the type of account, a small fee may be applied for every transaction made, or to certain types of transactions only
- Cash withdrawal costs: a fee for withdrawing cash from the ATM is usually applied.
Finally, costs of corporate bank accounts are generally higher than those for private accounts, mainly due to the fact that a company normally makes more daily transactions than an individual.