Opening a Bank Account in Italy

Information on opening an Italian bank account – what documents to provide – the credit and debit cards, payment methods cheques and more.

Italian banks offer current and savings accounts, and joint accounts (conto corrente cointestato) for couples. Some banks offer special accounts and deals for children, women, pensioners and students.

The Bancomat card is a debit card generally accepted throughout Italy to pay for goods and services. It is recommended to request this when opening a bank account.

Banks are obliged to publish the highest interest rates that they charge along with the market average so that borrowers can compare rates. They must also publish their conditions.

How To Open an Italian Bank Account

Bank accounts can be opened in Italy by both residents and non-residents from 18 years of age.

Non-residents are entitled to a non-resident account only.

Foreigners working in Italy may open an account in order to pay in a salary and have a credit or debit card.

The following papers are necessary (can vary):

  • Passport
  • Tax number (Codice Fiscale)
  • Recent utility bill (as proof of address)
  • Residence card or proof of employment in Italy

It is not necessary to make an appointment to open a current account. Opening an account can be done in a day and methods of making payments (cash cards and cheque books) will usually arrive within two to three weeks of the account being opened.

If you want to avoid going to the bank and waiting for your turn, there are some online banks that offer convenience to open a bank account online.

Using Italian Bank Accounts

Banks can issue a Bancomat card, this is a debit card that can be used in nearly all shops and for withdrawing cash. Household expenses such as heating, electricity and telephone bills can be paid at the post office with cash or a Bancomat card.

All cheque accounts in Italy are interest bearing, and interest is received quarterly, although it can be as little as 0.5 percent. Charges on current accounts vary depending on the number of cheques written or the average bank balance. Charges tend to be higher for non-resident accounts (versus resident accounts).

Completing an Italian cheque

Italian cheques should be written in Italian. When writing the amount, capital letters are not used and all the words are connected:

  • For example duemilacinquecento.

Dates are written with the day followed by the month and the year:

  • For example 1 luglio 2009

Transfers

Any transfer of cash or securities to and from another country exceeding €12,500, whether by a resident or non-resident, has to be declared to the Italian Exchange Controls Office, the UIC (Ufficio Italiano dei Cambi)

Opening hours

Bank opening hours vary according to the bank and the town. In general they are open from 08:00 or 08:30 until 13:00 or 13:30 and in the afternoons from 14:30 or 15:00 until 16:00 or 16:30. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings. On the day before a bank holiday, banks are often closed in the afternoon.

Banks situated at airports and railway stations have longer opening hours for changing money as do currency exchange bureaus in cities.

Where to Bank in Italy

Major Italian retail banks

  • BNL-BNP Paribas
  • Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara
  • Gruppo Banca Carige
  • Banca di Roma
  • San Paolo Banca di Napoli
  • Banco di Sicilia
  • Banca Intesa
  • Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the oldest bank in the world)
  • UniCredit Banca
  • Fineco – online bank
  • Che Banca – online bank

Post office accounts

Post offices also offer banking services and savings and current accounts.

To open a post office account, the following papers are usually necessary:

  • Passport
  • Tax number (Codice Fiscale)
  • Recent utility bill
  • Residence card (Carta di Soggiorno)

Having an account at the post office presents a number of advantages. The post offices are open for longer hours and bills are debited free unlike in normal banks. Often postal account costs are lower.

Italian Banking Terminology

Banking terminology guide

English Italian
bank banca
bank account conto in banca
bank balance saldo
bank book libretto di banca
bank charges spese bancarie
bank draft tratta bancaria
bank loan prestito bancario
bank manager direttore (-trice) di banca
bank note banconota
bank rate tasso ufficiale di sconto
bank statement estratto conto
bank transfer bonifico bancario
bounce a cheque assegno a vuoto
cheque assegno
cheque book libretto degli assegni
credit balance saldo attivo
credit card carta di credito
credit facilities agevolazioni creditizie
checking/current account conto corrente / interno
debit addebitare (verb)
debit balance saldo passivo / debitore
deposit acconto
deposit account libretto di risparmio
direct debit mandato di pagamento permanente / domiciliazione
exchange Bureaux ufficio di cambio
exchange rate tasso di cambio
fiscal/tax code Codice Fiscale
fixed rate tasso fisso
interest rate tasso di interesse
joint accounts conto corrente cointestato
Non-resident account conto estero
overdraft scoperto di conto
paying-in slip bollettino di conto corrente
payment slip richiesta di bonifico
share azione
share-holder azionista
standing order ordine di pagamento
take out a mortgage contrarre un mutuo / un’ipoteca
traveller’s cheques assegni turistici
variable rate tasso variabile
SOURCE:  Angloinfo
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Richard's a well seasoned traveller having lived and travelled in South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. Having settled in Rome since 2010 he has good grasp of the lingo and locals.
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