Captivating scenery, incredible history and jaw-dropping beauty. It’s no surprise that Italy expels an intoxicating vibrancy that attracts migrants from all around the world.
Thankfully, banking in Italy is just as wonderful as the country itself. Whether you’re an expat, investor, a student living abroad, Italy has a bank account for you. Unlike many countries, Italy has implemented regulations for the purpose of providing financial flexibility to suit all needs.
Continue reading to learn more about who can open accounts and how, as well as key factors to consider.
Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Italy?
Yes, foreigners are able to open an account in Italy called a non-resident account. Although, non-resident accounts typically entertain higher interest rates, and only EUR or foreign currencies can be transferred into it. Those who are not legal residents of Italy can only open a non-resident account, although legal citizens can open both a resident and non-resident account.
Can a Tourist Open a Bank Account in Italy?
A tourist can open up a bank account in Italy, however; there are alternative options for those who are not spending long periods on time in the country such as getting by on traveler’s cheques, although this is not the smartest option. If your documents are not in Italian, it may be in your best interest to get them converted to Italian before you upload them online, or to find a bank that offers English communication. If you plan on moving to Italy in the near future, you are able to open an account from abroad before you actually migrate to the country, although you cannot officially use the account until you present yourself in person. Most people find it is easier to simply walk in and open an account face-to-face.
What is the Best Bank for a Student in Italy?
There are multiple banks in Italy that offer student accounts and additional features. One bank in particular that has a reputation for providing diverse student accounts is Intesa Sanpaolo. This bank is also one of the only branches in Italy that offers online banking. This is convenient in the event that a family member may need to send money into the account from abroad.
Can I Open an Italian Bank Account Online?
You are able to open an account online, however, this proves to be a tricky and time-consuming task for most people if you do not have Italian documents. It is much easier to open an account in person than it is from abroad.
In order to open an account online, you will need to begin the process by obtaining an application form from the website of the respective branch you choose. Not all banks will allow you to open an account from overseas, especially if there are communication barriers, so be sure to do your research and call them in advance.
If you are successful in opening an account online, you will eventually need to show up to the bank in person before officially using it, in view of safety and security of your account.
What Documents are Needed to Open a Bank Account in Italy?
Whether you are a resident, a foreigner or a business looking to open an account in Italy, you will need to provide your bank of choice with the following documents:
- Code Fiscale: the Italian tax code
- Certificato di Attribuzione del Codice Fiscale: the respective document you are given when you attain your tax code
- Work contract/Proof of enrolment at an Italian educational institution (for residents/international students only)
- Proof of address
You can attain your tax code at nearly any tax office in any major city in Italy, should you not already have one.
Best Banks in Italy
Luckily for you, banks in Italy cater to many kinds of persons and companies. Here is a short list of some of the largest and most popular banks in the country that have proven to be the best for expats, businesses, and individuals. It is still vitally important to do your research when comparing which bank would be a better option for you, based on your specific circumstances.
Unicredit Bank is arguably the most favourable bank in all of Italy with a highly esteemed reputation and the number one financial prowess in the entire country. This bank is also specifically adept at dealing with foreigners and is Italy’s largest provider of ATM machines.
Although Deutsche Bank was originally founded in Germany, Italy is the second biggest market with respect to this bank. The branch offers a variety of products and services regarding business and private banking. Some of these features include current/savings accounts, insurance investment, online/digital banking, global banking, loans, mortgages and pension and retirement plans.
This is a post-office that operates simultaneously as a bank all throughout Italy. Something unique about this branch is the fact that they offer a family account in which you can give your child a debit card as well. This gives young ones the opportunity to learn how to be responsible with a debit card / cashless instrument while learning how to manage money efficiently.
BancoPosta is a postal service that also conducts business alternatively as a bank. This branch offers a wide range of financial products, such as asset management and administration products, investment opportunities, prepaid bank cards, postal savings, loans and basic bank accounts.
This bank is also very popular amongst Italians. In fact, it is ranked the second best bank in all of Italy. It’s most notable feature is its loyalty rewards program, in which you get cash back for buying certain goods. There are numerous branches and ATMs all across the country.
CheBanca is a very large provider that particularly offers business deposit accounts as well as home, life and accident insurance. They also offer basic current and savings accounts, loans and investment services.
Intesa Sanpaolo is yet another very powerful bank in Italy, with strong partnering networks. They entertain a wide spectrum of ATMs and branches, and its best selling feature is the diverse accounts they offer, including those for kids, students, businesses and families. They also provide very beneficial financial commodities, such as mortgages, insurance and investments. This bank also just recently launched an online banking system as well.
This bank offers a variety of accounts for all different kinds of people and institutions. Something unique about this bank is that they abide by very professional corporate and social responsibility standards. This bank is dedicated to giving back to the community and has been promoting positive social change all around the world since establishment. You can read more about their commitment to corporate philanthropy here.
Things to Consider when Choosing Your Bank in Italy
International Money Transfers
When choosing which bank to open an account with, it’s important to look into fees and charges for money transfers.
When transferring money to a European bank from overseas, it makes sense you would go through your trusted mainstream bank. However, banks subject international transfers to ridiculous fees. Most often, the mid-market exchange-rates banks present you with are tweaked in advanced, reflecting a less favourable offer for their own profitable advantage. They do this because of the additional fees they introduce are absurdly high.
Thus, they cover up the reality of this cost by integrating it into your exchange rate, painting the illusion that you are not spending as much money in handling fees as you actually are. Many people don’t realize this or even question the obscure charges that their bank slaps on them.
However, by using an alternative digital platform to make international transfers, you can save a great deal. Some banks entertain a flat fee which can either be a percentage cut from your total payout or a stagnant dollar amount. Some will actually charge both, in addition to a hiked up exchange rate.
These fees can add up and become excessive over time, especially if you are sending payments abroad regularly. Registering with a digital/mobile platform would be a much more efficient option, as these services tend to be faster, easier and more cost-efficient.
Online platforms are also much faster than banks, which can actually take weeks to process an international payment. In fact, a company like REMITR can even make international transfers to some countries within minutes.
An overdraft is when a bank credits you with additional funds after your account reaches zero. The purpose of an overdraft account is to ensure that when you run out of funds, the bank taps into their overdraft and saves you from drought.
It is also possible to link an overdraft account with a credit card in Italy. It’s important to keep track of your funds and ensure you do not become overdrawn. Interest rates in Italy are hefty in this aspect, regardless of which branch you set up with. If you do not pay off your overdraft on time, the bank can send your account to a collections agency, seriouslyly harming your credit score.
The bouncing of cheques is illegal and handled very seriously in Italy. Your bank account will be terminated and you can be prosecuted. Sending money to a bank account in Italy can be potentially detrimental if you are not absolutely sure that you have the full amount of funds to pay it off.
REMITR is here to save you both time and money. Our platform enables you to send personal and business payments to Italy – without crazy high wire transfer fees. We offer guaranteed savings, charging a flat fee as low as just $5!
REMITR Collect allows the same businesses to receive payments from US customers without either of them paying any wire transfer processing fees, while also getting access to the best exchange rates.
REMITR allows users to send and receive money 24/7 to 150 countries worldwide. We offer users the best live exchange rate, no matter what the currency.
If you need to send money, but also want to save money, get in touch with REMITR today.