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.
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 (conto estero) only. Only foreign currency or imported euros may be paid into this account.
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:
- 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.
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
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)
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.
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
- Poste Italiane
- Banca Intesa (multi-lingual information centre can provide information on products and services in English)
Tel: 800 020 202
- Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the oldest bank in the world)
- UniCredit Banca
Post office accounts
Post offices also offer banking services and savings and current accounts. Non-residents may not open a post office account. Any resident over the age of 18 may open a post office account.
To open a post office account, the following papers are necessary:
- 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.
- Post office website: Poste Italiane (in English)
Banking terminology guide
|bank account||conto in banca|
|bank book||libretto di banca|
|bank charges||spese bancarie|
|bank draft||tratta bancaria|
|bank loan||prestito bancario|
|bank manager||direttore (-trice) di banca|
|bank rate||tasso ufficiale di sconto|
|bank statement||estratto conto|
|bank transfer||bonifico bancario|
|bounce a cheque||assegno a vuoto|
|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 balance||saldo passivo / debitore|
|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|
|standing order||ordine di pagamento|
|take out a mortgage||contrarre un mutuo / un’ipoteca|
|traveller’s cheques||assegni turistici|
|variable rate||tasso variabile|