How To Open A Bank Account In Italy [Complete Process]

Want to Open a Bank Account in Italy? Regardless if you an expat, student or a citizen, I will show you what it takes to open a bank account in Italy.
Ketcha Brandon
Open A Bank Account in Italy

Whether you an expat, an investor or a student, you are able to find a suitable bank account in Italy for you. The difference between Italy and many other countries lies in the fact that Italy has put in place regulations for the specific purpose of providing financial flexibility so as to suit all your needs, regardless of who you are or where you come from.

But also, it is of no doubt that getting familiar with the banking system in a new country can be little confusing, so this is the reason I have written this article so as to help answer many of your questions concerning banking in Italy.

Moving from one country to another comes with numerous challenges but as an expat, your finances should not be one of these challenges.

Some of these challenges might some times be, to learn a new language, find a new home or you have a pile of forms to fill out without forgetting all those boxes that you have to pack and unpack. And above all for sure, you will have to think about how to better manage your finances.

In case you are in Italy or you just moved in, getting a bank account in Italy should not be so hard even if you do not know how to speak Italian. Here is our step by step guide on the easy way to help you open an Italian bank account.

Banking System in Italy

Italy, a key member of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), uses the Euro (€) and is home to regional banks, international banks such as Deutsche Bank, Post Office banking, and even digital banks.

Foreigners can open a bank account in Italy, but the country's high-street banks and regional banks almost always require customers to visit a branch in person to open an account, making it difficult to open an account while traveling.

This is one of the many reasons why digital banks, such as N26, have become popular among foreigners in Italy.

It is relatively simple to open a bank account in Italy. Italy is a developed country in the EU, so it is also a member of the SEPA zone. Although many bank employees speak English, paperwork in Italy can still be difficult even in 2019. One workaround is to use a modern bank with an Italian IBAN, such as N26.

What Documents are needed to Open a Bank Account in Italy?

Regardless of the fact if you a resident or a non resident business owner looking to open an account in Italy, you will have to provide your bank of choice alongside the following documents.

  • Passport
  • Italian tax code (code Fiscale)
  • Certificato di Attribuzione del codice Fiscale ( the document you are given when you attain your tax code)
  • Work contract/ proof of enrolment at an Italian educational institution (for residents and international students only)
  • Proof of address
You are able to obtain your tax code at nearly tax office in any major city in Italy.

What are the Different Types of Bank Accounts in Italy?

Depending on where you are from, your first Italian banking decision should whether you want a resident account or non resident account.

If you are not going to spend enough time in Italy then a non resident account should be good for you but if you are going to spend a serious time in Italy, then you should think of opening a resident account. You do not have to be an Italian citizen in order to get there, all you need to do is to live in Italy.

Here are the various types of resident accounts that you will encounter in Italy;

  • Conto corrente ( Current account) - Just like in many other nations, this is the standard type of account for day to day transactions.
  • Conto corrente cointestato (Joint account) - This is a current account that you can share eith someone else.
  • Conto di risparmio (Savings account)-This account is for your savings and from here you are able to earn a little bit more from your interest.
  • Conto di deposito (deposit account) - This is a less flexible type of savings account that offers you a higher rate of interest.

 How to Choose a Bank Account in Italy?

Italy is a highly developed country and for this fact, it is of no doubt that there is a wide range of banking institutions in the country. You can find major national and international banks that are based in the big cities but a little but further out of the big cities, you will find smaller local banks. these are a few things that you should take into consideration while trying to open a bank account in any bank; 

  • Are there any fees? if yes then what are these fees 
  • How easy is it to open an account with this bank? are you able to do it online? 
  • Will you have to visit your branch often and is there one not far from you? 
  • Does your bank offer services in English? or your other basic language

Types of Bank Accounts Fees in Italy

If you think of opening a bank account in Italy, then it is necessary you know the various types of bank account fees that you might encounter for a standard bank account.

Maintenance Fee

This is the type of service fee that can be charge most often like for example every month.

International Transfer Fees

This often stands as a big deal for expats. If you are the type that will need to send money overseas, then it is necessary that you check how much your bank will charge you as fee for an international transaction since it varies greatly depending on the bank.

Cash Withdrawal Fee

In case you are making use of an ATM (bancomat in Italian) to withdraw cash, there could be a charge, especially if you don’t use your own bank’s ATM.

Transaction Fee

You might find that the bank charges you a small amount for each individual transaction that shows up on your statement. You might get a certain number free each year.

Different banks may have different fees, so it's important to weigh your options. Try to select an account with a cost schedule that benefits you; for instance, it can be in your best interest to reduce foreign transfer fees or to have an account with lower cash withdrawal rates.

Best Banks in Italy

There is surely a huge number of banks in Italy but you can check out our list of the most popular banks in Italy.

You should often have in mind that it is necessary for you to do your own research when comparing banks so as to find out which bank best suits you depending on what exactly that you want.

Unicredit

Unicredit bank is a bank in Italy that has a long standing solid reputation and is the number one Italian bank. This banks has branches all across the country and also features as Italy's largest provider of ATMs. This banks offers a wide variety of product and services to individuals and companies.

Banca Nazionale del Lavoro

When you put Unicredit aside, this bank is surely the nest most popular Italian bank and just like Uncredit, this bank has numerous branches and ATMs all across the country. This bank offers its customers with a wide range of financial services.

Deutsche Bank Italia

As the name implies, this bank was originally founded in Germany and Italy is Deutsche bank's second biggest market. This branch in Italy offers a large variety of products and services for both personal and business banking.

Intesa Sanpaolo

This bank is also one if Italy's biggest banks and it has a strong partnering network together with the fact that they offer product that cater kids, students, businesses and families.

BNP Paribas Italy

This is also a well known bank in Italy that offers a variety of accounts for businesses, institutions, individuals and investors. One unique feature about this bank is the fact that they abide by high corporate social responsibility standards.

CheBanca

This is another popular bank in Italy that was founded in the year 2008 as a retail bank of Mediobanca group. One of the main services that this bank offers is its business deposit account.

Poste Italiane

Poste Italiane is actually a post office that operates simultaneously as a bank throughout Italy and they are well known for offering a family account which you can give children debit cards to learn how to be responsible with card payments and also manage money.

Can I Open an Italian Bank Account Online?

Even though it can be possible for you to open an account online, but it can be tricky especially if the process is not well undertaken as you will have to get the application form from the website of whichever branch that you have chosen.

But you should have in mind that it is necessary that you do your research first of all because probably not all banks will allow you open a bank account online from abroad. 

In order to open a bank account in Italy, there are several documents that are required from you and the best way to get them is certainly by visiting Italy.

Also, even if you succeed in opening an account online, you will eventually have to show up to the bank before you can use it just for security reasons. So once you take this fact into consideration, it becomes more easier for you to open a bank account in person. 

How to Open a Bank Account in Italy

So now that you already have a general view of what banking is like in Italy, with the various types of bank accounts that they offer, let us now take a look on how to open an Italian resident bank account with ease.

  • Wait until you are in Italy- It is true that it might be tempting to try to start the process from abroad, but you can only do this of you want to get a non resident account even though this might be difficult. Because even if you will not have to visit a branch, you will still be prompted provide details such as valid Italian address.
  • Have your documents ready- Banks always have to be able to verify your identity so you will need to show them the required documents as seen above in this article and some additional documents depending on the bank that you want to open an account with.
  • Go to your new bank or visit its website- Then now once you deem yourself ready, you can begin with the signup process but for traditional institutions you may have to have to go to a branch but selecting digital banking options like N26 allow you to apply online.
  • Wait for the mail to arrive- Once you have done the process successfully, you will need to wait a few days to get your bank card and other information in the post.

How much Does it Cost to Open a Bank Account in Italy?

Well this is a question that cannot have a fix answer due to the fact that every bank in Italy has its own set of fees and they often vary a lot.

This is one of the key factors that you need to take into consideration when choosing your bank account. By European standards, you can see that fees in Italy tend to be on the high side. 

The might surely be a fee for you to open an account with the bank but the fees that will cost you more is the one that that you pay monthly or even for every transaction given that you will do this in the long run.

Final Thoughts on How to Open a Bank Account in Italy

Now that we already have a general overview of what banking looks like in Italy and how possible it is to open a bank account in Italy, you can now make your choice from the banks above alongside some some researches on them so as to know which bank account suits you best before you are able start with the process of opening a bank account with them.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Open a Bank Account in Italy

At what age can I open a bank account in Italy?

Generally, you need to be 18 year and above in order to open a full bank account in Italy but anyone younger than this age will need to get a parent or guardian involved.

Can a Foreigner open a Bank account in Italy?

Non-Italian residents are entitled to open non-resident bank accounts (“conto corrente non residenti“), regardless of their citizenship or visa status. One initial in person visit at the bank is normally required unless the bank offers remote personal identification.

What is the best bank in Italy?

With about 15 million clients in Italy, it operates a network of 4,670 domestic branches, and 1,000 branches and 19 representative offices abroad. Intesa Sanpaolo is the best bank in Italy according to Global Finance. But we can say that the best banks in Italy include banks such as Poste Italiane, Chebanca, Unicredit, BNP Paribas Italy, Intesa Sanpaolo and Banca Nationale de Lavano.

Can I open an Italian bank account online?

Opening an account online is feasible but challenging. Whichever branch you choose, you must obtain an application form from their website. It's crucial to conduct thorough research first because not all banks will permit you to register an account online from a foreign country.

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