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Over 50 million tourists visit Spain each year, making it one of the most popular destinations in the world - however it is still possible to travel for days and hear nothing but Spanish. Accommodation is plentiful, the climate is warm, and the people are very relaxed.

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Whether you are just taking a trip to Spain or plan on being there for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to spend a little bit of time learning about how the banking system in Spain works.  Because you never know exactly what kind of financial situation could arise while you are in Spain, it is worth your time to get a basic understanding of how banks in Spain operate.  By preparing yourself ahead of time, you can ensure that you get to enjoy your trip to the fullest and avoid wasting anytime worrying about a financial situation.  Best of all, you don't have to spend any time searching for the information you need; this guide will provide you with exactly what you need to know.


The Euro is the official currency of Spain.  One Euro is equal to one hundred Euro cents.  In terms of coins and notes, the largest coin available is worth two Euros, while the smallest note available is worth five Euros.  All of Spain's currency is accurately labeled, so you should have no problems determining the value of a piece of currency.

Banking System

Unlike in many countries, where banks are filled with imposing security bars and guards, the banking system in Spain provides a more relaxed atmosphere.  While banks are still highly regulated and all of the money within them is always protected, the atmosphere inside of most banks in Spain is less tense that it is in many other parts of the world.  Another positive difference that you will most likely notice is the personalized attention that you receive within banks in Spain.  Whereas bank managers in many parts of the world seal themselves off in their offices, most bank managers in Spain spend a lot of their time interacting directly with banking customers.

If you need to visit a bank, it is important to know that most of them close fairly early in the afternoon.  For normal banks, their operating hours are generally 9 am to 2 pm during the week (Monday-Friday) and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.  For savings banks, their operating hours tend to be 8:30 am to 2:30 pm during the week (Monday-Friday) and they are usually closed on Saturdays.

Payment Options

While visitors from countries like the United Kingdom may be used to using cheques on a regular basis, this is normally not a popular payment option within Spain.  In fact, there are many businesses in Spain which simply don't accept cheques as a form of payment.  In the event that you do write a cheque, in addition to placing a horizontal line through any blank spaces, you can also cross the front of the cheque with two parallel lines.  This will ensure that the check can only be deposited by its intended recipient.

Instead of using cheques, most commerce that takes place in Spain occurs with credit cards, debit cards or cash.  If you need to obtain cash during your time in Spain, you should have no problem finding a twenty-four hour ATM near you with minimal transaction fees.

La Caixa - A Catalan savings bank

Caixa Catalunya - Another Catalan savings bank

Banca Pueyo - banking Organization with a network of branches, services and products.

Sabadell Atlántico - New features and promotions includinig electronic banking, products and services, network of offices and client services. English website

Banco de Valencia - financial products and investments for companies and individuals, English site.

Banco Espirito Santo - a Portugeuese organization with activities in Spain and a network of offices and tellers.

Banco Gallego - Products and services, branches and electronic banking.

Banco Guipuzcoano - Products, results, new features and a network of offices.

Banco Herrero - Saving, investment funds, credits, mortgages and Internet banking

Banco Pastor - Products, services, network of offices and channel of the news.

Banco Central Hispano - personal, enterprise banking, stock-exchange services, bank online, mortgages, credits and loans.

Bannesto - Internet office and other specialized services. For non-Residents. English website.

Barclays/Banco Zaragozano - Individual and enterprise banking and financial services. English website.

Bankinter - extensive banking Services via Internet. One of the largest online banking systems in Spain. English website.

Bankoa, S.A. - Individual and enterprise banking services.

BBK (Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa) - Internet office and other services. English website.

Caja de Arquitectos - remote Bank, offices and products specifically designed for architects.

Citibank España - The American bank’s Spanish offices. Investments, loans and credits cards, accounts, local branches and other products and services. Surprisingly there’s no English website.

Compañía Española de Financiacion del Desarrollo (COFIDES) - financial support for investment projects for Spanish companies.

Credit Suisse España - Commerical and Individual banking services.

Deutsche Bank España - products, services and markets. My German friend banks with them but they don’t offer service in German nor English at the branch in Barcelona…

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya - corporative structure, financial and stock-exchange information, in addition to services for companies and individuals. Services for nonResidents. English website.

Grupo Banco Popular - Products and services for the group of banks around Spain.
English website.

Banco Sabadell- personal, enterprise and corporative services banking. English website.

Grupo ING Direct - financial products, interest accounts and deposits.

Halifax Hispania - deposits, loans, pension plans and insurance, online mortgage solicitation. English website.

Lloyds TSB Bank - specializing in private management of national and international investments. English website.

OpenBank - used to be Patagon. They specialize in online banking services, particularly good online investment banking.

Unión Financiera Asturiana - private credit organization.


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