How to open a bank account in Italy

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How to open a bank account in Italy

Italy has been luring foreigners for centuries either with its cities filled with a vibrant cosmopolitan vibe or with its smaller towns for their incredibly diverse and extensive history. Modern Italy continues to experience the same trend with all large cities having large expat communities from all over the world.

Opening a bank account in Italy is easy for non-residents because there is special legislation created specific for the purpose with a variety of account types available with a full spectrum of financial products. If you are interested in making Italy your home as a student, worker, investor or retiree (lucky you) here is our guide on how to open a bank account in Italy.

Documents needed to open a bank account in Italy

  • Identification such as passport or driver’s license
  • Italian tax code, what is called the codice fiscale
  • Proof of address
  • For residents only: residence permit or work contract, ID and codice fiscale

You can get your codice fiscale at any tax office which is usually located in centers of larger towns. It is called the Agenzia Delle Entrate and you get your number the same day. Beware of italian hours of operation which can be surprisingly limited and have odd closed days.

Can I open a bank account in Italy as a non-resident?

Yes, you can open a bank account in Italy as a non-resident. As we have said before, it is a straightforward process and with a limited number of documents you will be able to get your own fully featured current account. You may find that not a lot of people speak English in Italy, so be prepared with a translator or a friend.

Best banks in Italy

Italy has a thriving banking sector featuring national chains with hundreds of branches and thousands of ATMs spread around the country. Its largest banks and therefore the most convenient option for expats are the Unicredit, Banco di Napoli and the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. If you want a bank that speaks English a good option would be the Intesa Sanpaolo.

  • Unicredit:  highly popular with Italians, it is also Italy most reputable financial institution in the minds of many. It features accounts for expats with agents well trained to deal with foreigners, and with Italy’s largest network of ATMs you will have easy access to cash. Debit cards are part of most accounts too with some offering a contactless card. Only in Italian.
  • Poste Italiane: we love to recommend the Poste Italiane for expats because you can do transactions and even open accounts at any post office in Italy. Their family account is interesting because you can give your teenage children debit cards which can be topped up so you can help your children learn how to manage money properly which is great. Only in Italian.
  • Banca Nazionale del Lavoro: their biggest selling point is a cashback program which means you get money back on certain purchases. They also have a wide reaching network of ATM and branches which is certainly convenient, and debit cards too.
    Only in Italian.
  • Intesa Sanpaolo:  A very popular bank in Italy with a large network of branches and ATMs including partner networks. They also have account options for youths, students, families, business and financial products such as insurance, investments and mortgages. They have a brand new online banking system. Only in Italian.

Opening a bank account in Italy is easy. It is important to do proper research because each bank has a completely different network and partner networks which means that you could end up paying extra fees unnecessarily such as ATM fees if you happen to live your day to day life in areas where your bank isn’t present. Ask your banking agent for a list of fees (which could be online as well) so you are aware of odd fees that may appear on your statement.

Most banks will have low fee current accounts, free student accounts and offers with perks such as travel insurance. There are limits in how cahs you cash you are able to withdrawal from an ATM and that varies by bank and account type.

As it is with Italy, banks have odd business hours and these vary even by season. In the winter, a bank could only be open a few hours a week in a small enough town, for example. The same occurs for post offices which is used by Poste Italiane customers: in some cases they are only open 5 or 6 hours per week.

The virtual bank account option

International money transfers are expensive in Italy

If you need to transfer money anywhere outside Europe, you are likely to use your bank to perform the transaction. You will visit your bank and ask for a transaction and they will say that all you need to pay is for a SWIFT or wire transfer fee. Unfortunately, this is not true. Banks use what is called the mid market rate to transfer and convert money with one another and in order to cover their expenses and to profit, they need to charge a rather excessive amount for it to make sense. For example, if you transfer 10 thousand euros from Italy to India, you may only receive 9000 euros worth of rupees in India depending on the bank you use.

With a virtual bank account by B2B Pay, you get a better deal. First of all, you get your own European IBAN which you can use to receive or send money from/to anywhere. Second, we use the mid market rate as a basis and only charge a flat fee of 1% of the total transaction. For the india transfer example, you would get 9900 euros worth of rupees and the money would be in your account in 24 to 48 hours which is twice as fast too.

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How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.

How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.

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