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How To Open a Bank Account in Italy as a Foreigner

Alessio enjoys traveling and discovering new cultures and food traditions.

The article will describe how a foreigner can open a bank account when moving to Italy.

The article will describe how a foreigner can open a bank account when moving to Italy.

Moving to Italy and Opening a New Bank Account

Some people may decide to move to Italy when they want to change life. There are various reasons why someone may want to do it:

  • Italy has one of the most valued cuisines in the world;
  • Italy features several historical landmarks, museums, and places of cultural interest;
  • Job opportunities: although Italy is maybe not the first country in the world for job opportunities, this does not mean finding a job is impossible. Especially in big cities like Milan, it is pretty easy to find a job, making it possible for a foreigner to start a new life in the country;
  • Public healthcare: Italy is one of the highest-taxed countries in Europe, but most hospitals are public, and healthcare is a primary right.

Whatever the reason you want to move to Italy is, one thing you may need while there is a local bank account. This article will list how you can open one to start earning your income, paying with your cards, and asking for loans or mortgages during your permanence in Italy.

UniCredit Tower, the tallest building in Italy. UniCredit is one of the leading banks in Italy.

UniCredit Tower, the tallest building in Italy. UniCredit is one of the leading banks in Italy.

Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in Italy

Opening a bank account in Italy is a pretty easy task, and you only need a valid national ID document and your residency permit.

Getting an Italian ID document is easy; every foreigner with a stable residence can do it by asking the local city hall.

With this in mind, there are no particular limitations for foreigners who want to open a bank account in Italy, provided they have a stable residence and a regular home lease or ownership.

How To Open a Bank Account as a Non-Resident Foreigner in Italy

A foreigner with a stable residence in Italy will not encounter difficulties opening a bank account. The story is different for people who temporarily move to Italy, including:

  • Frequent travelers;
  • Students who visit Italy periodically to attend short courses;
  • Business people who regularly spend time in Italy but live in another country.

Opening a bank account is still possible for these people and for Italians living abroad, but there are some limitations due to anti-money laundering laws. In particular, there are two essential aspects to consider:

  • It is possible to open only specific accounts made for non-resident people: not all banks offer these products, so sticking with the biggest ones is maybe the easiest way to make sure you can open this particular account;
  • Bank accounts for non-residents only allow basic activities, like sending and receiving money and setting up direct debit options for bills.
An Intesa Sanpaolo branch. Intesa Sanpaolo is one of the leading banks in Italy.

An Intesa Sanpaolo branch. Intesa Sanpaolo is one of the leading banks in Italy.

The Banks Where You Can Open an Account

In Italy, there are various local and international banks. Especially if you live in a big city, the choice is vast, so you can evaluate the convenience of each offer and how easy it is to reach the bank from your house.

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In general, you can choose between two main kinds of financial institutes:

  • Traditional banks with physical branches: a good choice if you prefer to be in touch with real people whenever you need to operate with your money;
  • Online banks: a generally cheaper alternative to traditional banks, but with few or even zero physical branches, suitable for people who can manage every aspect of their account online.

The most famous traditional banks where you can open your account are Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit, Banco BPM, BPER Banca, and MPS (this one is recognized as the oldest bank in the world).

Among the international banks having a physical presence in Italy, the most famous are Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, and Crédit Agricole.

If you prefer to open an online account, the most popular choices are Fineco, ING Bank (Dutch bank offering online services in Italy), Hype, and Widiba.

Italian Post Office

Italian Post Office

Post Offices: The Alternative to Banks

In addition to the variety of banking offers, there is another way to get the same services without reaching a bank. Poste Italiane, the national company managing post offices over the country, offers alternative financial services to those provided by banks.

You can open an account at a post office and operate it as you would with a bank. The only difference is that your money is not insured against bank defaults through the specific interbank fund made to protect the savings of banks‘ customers. This should not concern you, as the eventuality of a default of Italian post offices is low; still, it is something to consider, especially if you like to keep much liquidity in your bank account.

Suppose you want to invest money through Poste Italiane: in that case, the story is different, as their passbook savings account (one of the most popular financial tool in Italy for keeping money in a safe place while earning a little interest) are insured by the Italian Government.

How To Get the Italian ID Card

Suppose you have a permanent residence in Italy and wish to open a bank account as a foreigner who lives most of the time in the country. In that case, you should first get your Italian ID Card, as it will be required when opening your bank account, with your residency permit.

Below are the steps to get an Italian ID, which is helpful, in general, in various situations that require proving your identity, including eventual police checks:

  • Book an appointment at your local city hall (in some cases, you can access it without an appointment);
  • Make sure you have some recent passport photos with you, otherwise get them before reaching the city hall;
  • Get your temporary ID paper and bring it with you while waiting for your ID card to be mailed to your home.

Conclusions

Opening a bank account in Italy is generally easy for a foreigner having a stable residence. Those who do not live in the country may have some limitations but can still open an account under certain conditions. In Italy, there is a good variety of offers from several valuable financial institutes, in addition to the alternatives provided by the Italian post offices.

After choosing the best solution for your needs, you are ready to enjoy your new life in Italy with the comfort of being able to receive your income, manage your finances, and shop with bank cards.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Alessio Ganci

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