Italy is an attractive place for expatriates and foreigners looking to establish financial roots. It is possible to open a bank account in Italy for foreigners. The process of opening an online bank account in Italy has been simplified, and you can even get start opening one while abroad. However, to open a physical bank account in Italy as a foreigner, you need to present a work permit, residence permit or student permit. This guide will provide you with the information you need to open an Italian bank account for foreigners.
Why Open Bank Italian Bank Account for Foreigners
There are many reasons why foreigners might want to open a bank account in Italy. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- To be able to easily access your money while they are living in Italy. For example, if you are studying in Italy, you will need a bank account in Italy for students. This is especially important if you are going to be living or working in Italy for an extended period of time. Having a local bank account will make it easier to pay your bills, rent, and other expenses.
- To take advantage of the low interest rates offered by Italian banks. Italian banks typically offer lower interest rates on loans and savings accounts than banks in other countries. This can save you money in the long run.
- To invest in Italian businesses or property. If you are interested in investing in Italy, you will need to have a local bank account. This will make it easier to make payments and track your investments.
- To get a credit card or loan from an Italian bank. If you need a credit card or loan while you are living in Italy, you will need to have a local bank account.
Read also: Best bank in Italy for foreign students
Can a Foreigner Have a Bank Account in Italy?
The short answer is yes, a foreigner can open a bank account in Italy. Italy welcomes foreigners who wish to open bank accounts, and the process is relatively straightforward. Whether you are an expatriate, a student, or a foreign investor, Italian banks offer a range of account options to meet your needs. However, there are some requirements that you need to meet in order to open an account. These requirements may vary from bank to bank, but they typically include:
- A valid passport or other identification document
- A proof of address in Italy
- A tax code (codice fiscale)
- A deposit of a certain amount of money
Online Bank Accounts for Foreigners and Non Residents in Italy
This section provides a comprehensive overview of some of the most popular online banking options available in Italy, highlighting their key features. We’ll look into what sets each bank apart, helping you choose the ideal solution for your specific needs. This information is particularly helpful for those looking to open a bank account in Italy from abroad.
N26 is an online bank that that offer non residents accounts in Europe. Currently, the Italian branch has limitations on opening new accounts. You need to join the N26 Italy waiting list to be notified as soon as it will be possible to open an account in Italy again.
Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is a financial technology company that offers a wide range of money transfer and banking services. It is particularly popular among foreigners and non-residents in Italy due to its convenient and cost-effective money transfer solutions. The account comes with local bank details for euros, pounds and up to 8 more major currencies.
Notable features include the following:
- Multi-currency accounts: Wise allows you to hold and manage over 50 currencies in a single account. You can convert money between any of these currencies in your account with the real exchange rate.
- Borderless accounts: It offers accounts with local account details for several countries, including Italy. This means you can receive payments and make withdrawals as if you had a local bank account.
- Low transfer fees: Wise’s fees for international transfers are significantly lower than those charged by traditional banks.
- Free account opening: There are no fees are associated with opening a Wise multi-currency account or monthly fees.
Read also: Wise Review
Revolut is a crypto-friendly bank that offers multicurrency accounts to foreigners and non-residents in Italy. With its user-friendly interface, competitive exchange rates, and extensive range of features, Revolut simplifies financial management for those living or traveling in Italy.
Key features include the following:
- Easy account setup: Opening a Revolut account is straightforward and can be completed entirely online.
- No minimum balance or monthly fees: Revolut doesn’t impose minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, allowing you to manage your finances without unnecessary charges.
- Low-cost international transfers: Revolut offers competitive exchange rates and low-cost international transfers, making it a cost-effective option for sending money abroad.
- Multicurrency account: It allows you to send, receive, hold and exchange over 30 currencies, including major currencies like USD, EUR, GBP, and JPY, as well as less common currencies like CZK, HUF, and PLN.
- Investment: You can use Revolut to invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fractional shares, and cryptocurrencies.
Read also: Revolut Review
Monese is a European virtual bank that offers bank account option for residents, expats, and foreigners in Italy. With their basic plan, you can enjoy a free online bank account in Italy, along with IBAN and support for SEPA payments.
Monese accounts are currently only available to residents of European Economic Area (EEA) countries. This means that you cannot open a Monese account if you are a resident of a non-EEA country, such as the United States. However, if you are a US citizen living in an EEA country, you will be eligible to open a Monese account.
Key features include the following:
- Multicurrency accounts: You can hold and receive payments in GBP, EUR and RON, and send payments in 19 currencies.
- Payment cards: It offers physical and virtual cards. You can link your card to Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- SEPA transfers: Send, request or receive money all across Europe with fast SEPA payments with no fees.
- Savings: Monese Pots is a feature that allows you to set aside money in a designated pot so that it is separate from your day-to-day spending. With Monese Pots, you can create multiple pots, and each pot can have a unique name that reflects your savings goal.
Also read: Monese Review
Bunq is a Dutch-based online bank ideal for foreigners in Italy. It offers multicurrency accounts to all citizens and residents of the EU and the EEA. Your accounts comes with European IBAN and support for SEPA transfers.
Key features include the following:
- Multicurrency account: Apart from banking in euros, you can save and spend in more than 15 foreign currencies.
- Savings: You can even earn interest of 3.71% on USD and GBP with Bunq multi-currency Savings Accounts.
- Auto save: Bunq’s Auto Save feature allows you to automatically round up each payment to the nearest whole euro. For example, if you purchase a sandwich for €3.20, the remaining €0.80 will be added to your designated savings goal.
- Sub accounts: The sub-account feature allows you to create dedicated sub-accounts for various expenses, such as groceries, nights out, travel, or any other category you choose.
Fineco Bank is a stockbroker and multi-currency bank in Italy that is suited for long-term investors and regular traders and it comes with a tax-free ISA. It is a popular choice for both residents and non-residents due to its low fees, wide range of features, and foreigner-friendly policies.
Main features you should expect from Fineco include:
- Low non-trading fees: Fineco is known for its competitive fee structure, particularly for non-trading activities. This includes low account maintenance fees, minimal transaction costs, and no inactivity charges.
- Online account opening process: Opening a Fineco account as a foreigner is a straightforward process that can be completed entirely online.
- Multi-currency banking: Fineco allows you to hold and manage over 50 currencies within a single account.
- Tax-free ISA: Fineco offers a tax-free ISA (Individual Savings Account) option, enabling you to save for your future without incurring any taxes on your investment earnings.
- Online stock trading platform: Fineco’s online stock trading platform provides access to a wide range of financial instruments, including stocks, ETFs, and bonds, allowing you to actively manage your investment portfolio.
Read also: Fineco Bank Review
Best Italian Banks for Foreigners
The best Italian banks for foreigners can vary depending on your specific needs and preferences. However, some of the well-known and reputable Italian banks that are often considered good options for foreigners include:
- UniCredit: UniCredit is one of Italy’s largest and most prominent banks. It has a strong international presence and offers a wide range of banking services, including accounts for non-residents, expatriates, and international businesses.
- Intesa Sanpaolo: Another major Italian bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, provides a variety of banking solutions for both individuals and businesses. They have services tailored for foreigners and expatriates.
- Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS): This bank is one of the oldest in the world and offers banking services for both Italians and foreigners. They have a network of branches across Italy.
- Banco BPM: Banco BPM is a result of a merger and offers a range of banking products. They have dedicated services for international clients.
- BNL (Banca Nazionale del Lavoro): BNL is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas and provides banking services in Italy, including specialized offerings for foreigners.
- Mediobanca: While primarily an investment bank, Mediobanca also offers retail banking services and might be a good option if you have complex financial needs.
- Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze (CR Firenze): CR Firenze is a regional bank that serves both residents and non-residents. It can be a suitable choice if you are in Tuscany.
When choosing a bank as a foreigner in Italy, it’s essential to consider factors such as account fees, ease of opening an account, and language support. Some banks allow you to open a bank account in Italy online. Additionally, it’s a good idea to visit the bank’s website or contact them directly to inquire about their specific offerings, as these can vary from bank to bank.
International Banks in Italy
Apart from domestic Italian banks, several international banks operate in Italy. These banks cater to the needs of expatriates, business professionals, and international investors. The presence of these international banks in your home country can be a valuable asset. If they operate locally, they may offer assistance in opening a bank account in Italy from abroad. Some of the notable international banks in Italy include:
- HSBC: A well-known global bank with a presence in Italy, HSBC offers a range of services for both personal and business banking.
- BNP Paribas: This French multinational bank has a significant presence in Italy, providing various banking solutions for foreigners.
- Deutsche Bank: With branches in major Italian cities, Deutsche Bank offers comprehensive financial services to foreign residents.
- CitiBank: Citibank operates in Italy and offers international clients access to a wide range of financial products and services.
- UBS: UBS, a Swiss global financial services company, has a presence in Italy, serving clients with wealth management and investment services.
- Credit Suisse: Another Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, operates in Italy, offering private banking and investment solutions.
- Societe Generale: Societe Generale, a French multinational bank, provides banking and financial services to both individuals and businesses in Italy.
- ING Bank: ING Bank, a Dutch multinational, has a presence in Italy, offering banking services and products to local and international customers.
- Standard Chartered: Standard Chartered, a British multinational bank, serves the needs of international clients in Italy with various financial solutions.
- Barclays: Barclays, a British multinational bank, operates in Italy, providing banking and financial services to individuals and businesses.
Opening a Bank Account in Italy as a Foreigner
While opening a bank account in Italy as a foreigner might seem challenging, it’s crucial for living,traveling, studying, or working there. To do this, we strongly advice you to understand traditional Italian banks and virtual alternatives.
Traditional banks offer established reputations, extensive branch networks, and personalized service, but potentially higher fees, stricter opening requirements, and language barriers. Virtual European banks counter this with often free accounts, no monthly fees, cheaper and faster international money transfers, but limited physical presence, less personalized service, and potential technical difficulties. Standout options like Wise and Revolut offer multi-currency accounts, easy international transfers, and user-friendly mobile apps.
Choosing a bank involves considering fees, services, branch locations, language support, residency status, and specific requirements for your nationality. Receiving your salary or making international transfers might be easier and more cost-effective with virtual banks, due to their less stringent account opening requirements and the convenience of not needing to visit a physical bank. This can be especially beneficial for foreigners who may find it challenging to meet the requirements of traditional Italian banks.