A GUIDE TO ITALIAN BANK ACCOUNTS FOR FOREIGNERS

Italian Bank Accounts for Foreigners: best tips and recommendations

​If you’re opening a bank account in Italy there are three paths. You can open a traditional account at any number of small regional banks, you can open an account with the Italian Post Office, or you can choose from a number of online banks such as N26 which are becoming more popular. The choice will depend largely on its purpose: we’ll look at both personal and corporate accounts. In some cases traditional banks can open accounts remotely, but it always helps if you are already living in Italy or preparing to move here (documents in hand let’s say)—in person appearances, while not strictly necessary, are still culturally important.

Am I able to open a personal account?

​First, this largely depends on your residency status. As a residentbank accounts in Italy are easier to open. However, if you are not yet a resident or are trying to open one from abroad it may be more difficult as banks may be more reluctant to open accounts unless the transaction is particularly profitable for them even if, in theory, it is possible. For example, Italy is open to foreign investment, so if you are looking to take out a mortgage from abroad in order to buy a property then it is more likely that a bank will be willing to open an Italian bank account for you.

​What documents will I need for the personal account?

Let’s start off with the other requirements before we look at documents. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old to open your own account and (preferably, but not necessarily) an Italian resident. Given that you’ll then need to produce the following documents:
1.     Passport
2.     Tax number (Codice Fiscale)
3.     Proof of address (usually as a utility bill)
4.     Proof of employment or a residence permit
While not explicitly requested in this case, it is always useful to keep copies of all documents when dealing with any bureaucratic institution. The process is rather straightforward and it is not necessary to make an appointment to open a bank account in Italy.

​Are there fees for opening an account?

​In short, no. There aren’t any bank fees when you open an Italian bank account, but some banks impose fees for maintenance, money transfers or withdrawal. The contract between yourself and the bank will have more complete information about any associated fees. Additionally, most banks offer a debit and/or credit card for no extra fee.

You should be aware that some banks will require that a certain amount of money be deposited into the account upon opening and that different banks set different amounts. It’s best to shop around in this case.

If for some reason you need cheques, the bank can issue a cheque book for a small fee, usually a couple euros, but be aware that it is illegal to bounce a cheque in Italy and that doing so risks your ability to have a bank account at all and can result in prosecution.

​If you prefer having an international bank…

​There are some international banks as well. ING (Dutch), Deutsche Bank (German) and Crédit Agricole (French) all operate within Italy and offer the same services.

​Is the process different when opening a corporate account?

​When opening a corporate account it is best to use a traditional established bank, of which there are many in Italy and all of them offer services tailored specifically to businesses. The process itself is more or less the same, but the corporate account will require documents, listed below, that are not necessary for the personal account:
1.     Company director’s passport
2.     Company director’s proof of address
3.     Tax number (codice fiscale)
4.     Company’s registration certificate
5.     Company’s certificate of good standing
6.     Statements of the financial status of all shareholders with more than a 20% stake in the company.
When opening a corporate account it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the laws that govern them. At the national level there is the Consolidated Law of Banking along with Legislative Decree 58/1998. And, at the European Union level, there is the Capital Requirements Regulation (Regulation No. 575/2013) which applies to all banks in Europe.

In addition to the laws listed above there are several international institutions that take a supervisory role over banking and financial activities. They are:
1.     The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
2.     The European System of Financial Supervision
3.     The Financial Stability Board
4.     The International Organization of Securities Commission.

If you need to close a bank account:

​This could happen for any reason. It’s best to review your contract carefully when initially opening the account to see how difficult it will be or if there will be any fees involved. You will need to send a registered letter (raccomandata) from the post office to the branch of the bank where your account is before appearing in person. If you have a joint account, then all those attached to the account will have to provide signatures.

A note for U.S residents:

​Laws between Italy and the U.S. regarding the opening of bank accounts to foreigners can be quite strict as a way of deterring money laundering and other illicit activities. Workers often have an easier experience opening a PostePay account through the post office. This kind of account functions as a debit card would and has its own IBAN for making money transfers and direct deposits through work, but the amount of money that can be kept on the card is limited to around €5,000. If you still wish to try and open an account before arriving in Italy the process of obtaining the codice fiscale can be started through the Italian Consulate in your jurisdiction, but only before applying for the entry visa.

Check out our video below about foreign pension in Italy as well.

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25 thoughts on “A GUIDE TO ITALIAN BANK ACCOUNTS FOR FOREIGNERS”

  1. Hi, as I read in you book I want your help to open non resident bank account , so I wonder how you can help me to optain this application , i live in Los Angeles California and I do have the codice fiscale and I am American citizen , the reason to open an account is purchasing property in Italy. Thank you so much

  2. My wife and I have a home in Tuscany but live in the US, but we travel tonItaly every summer. We need to open a bank account to bay for a bills that will only accept payment from Italian banks and need help doing this from the US. It appears N26 has stopped servicing the US market. Do you have any suggestions for a bank that will set up an bank account online? We each have a codice fiscale.

    Thank you

  3. Edward Castellanos

    Please instruct me as the fee or cost to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate related to an account just opened in BancoPosta of Italy.
    This certificate is needed so I can be allowed to start making transfers from Italy to my savings account in the USA.
    Thank you,

    1. You should request it at the local tax office providing that you pay tax to Italy. Alternatively you can submit your foreign tax residency certificate

  4. Hi Nicolò! As a resident of Italy that will travel throughout the EMEA region regularly, would you recommend getting a personal current account in a traditional bank or one of those multicurrency accounts at online banks?

  5. I’m from Florida, I Want to buy a House in Italy, but how I can open an bank account?
    I don’t have address in Italy. but I have fiscal code already.
    Thanks for your help

  6. Hey Nicolo !!!
    I’m from Florida, I Want to buy a House in Italy, but how I can open an bank account?
    I don’t have address in Italy. but I have fiscal code already.
    Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Nicolo
      I live in Florida but. I have a home in Italy and I also have a fiscal code I was just in Italy and had a hard time opening a bank a non resident bank account do you recommend something that I can open on line from here to paid my utility bills

      1. Unfortunately American citizens are normally required to visit a branch in person to setup a bank account

  7. Hello! I currently live in Milan Italy as a Spanish (Spain) citizen. I have just started a new job in Milan and will apply for my residence but that takes a little time. I have an official contract with my home to provide as a address in Milan as and I have a códice fiscale but I am not a resident. I need to open a bank account ASAP so I can receive my work salary. Do you kindly have any suggestions? Thank you very much.

  8. Hi Nicolò,
    I am resident in the UK and ma looking to buy a property in Italy. I have a codice fiscale.

    Do I need to travel to Italy and open a bank account in branch or can I use an online bank such as N26 ?

    Many thanks
    Malcolm

    1. You may not need a bank account to buy a property, you can pay the deposit and full price to the notary who will then witness the deed

  9. Georgios soulis

    Hi Nicolo,

    I am a Swiss resident and interesting for the elective visa program. Have read your article and one of the requirements is rental property in Venice. Could you help on it?

    Pleasant day ahead.

    kind rgds

  10. Good day,
    I have been living and working in Italy for 5 years+; my wife of 2 years is Italian and I am American. I currently have a bank account with Banco Di Napoli; however the account charges 8 euro per month fee. I prefer to have an account that pay me interest. What do you recommend?
    2. I have found a property and the seller and I have agreed on a price. I would prefer to get a loan from a local bank. Banco di Napoli is asking Mt Kilimanjaro amount of paper work, which I have, but it seems to be extreme. Any recommendations?

    1. 1. That is the stamp duty, there is no way around it
      2. Banks are fairly difficult to deal with. You may consider using a mediatore creditizio who has more contacts with various banks

  11. Hello!
    Could you help me, is it possible to open account for non-residence Estonian company in Italy?
    Thank you in advance!

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