Italy Bank account
How to open a bank current account in Italy
About to buy a property in Italy and you are a non resident Italian then you will need to open an Italian bank current account in Euros.
Why do I need specifically an Italian bank account?
With an Italian current account you could obtain a mortgage to purchase the Italian property, pay the vendor and after the purchase pay bills and Italian taxes.
1) Current account and mortgage
Some Italian banks dedicate services to no resident citizens to help them to buy a property in Italy.
One of these services is the mortgage to buy or renovate their property in Italy. To obtain an Italian mortgage in Euros, a non resident person has to open an Italian current account.
2) Pay the purchase price
If the buyer already has the money to buy or renovate the property, an Italian current account could be useful to pay the vendor.
Often the purchase price has to be paid in different steps. The buyer could pay the deposit from his foreign current account.
In Italy the final purchase deed of the Italian property has to be made before an Italian notary with an official purchase deed registered in the public registrar. The buyer has to pay the balance of the purchase price to the vendor at the signature of the purchase deed, before the notary, when exchanging title ownership. The buyer cannot pay the purchase price in cash. With an Italian current account a non resident citizen could deposit the money in his Italian current account and then ask the bank to issue one or more bank drafts to pay the purchase price. It is a safe and legal way to pay the purchase price.
3) Pay bills and Italian taxes
The owner of an Italian property has to pay utility bills for electricity, sewage, phone, cleaning services, etc and some property taxes.
With an Italian current account the owner has only to deposit the related amount to his current account and the bank will pay bills and taxes by the due date by direct debit.
But I don’t speak Italian!!!
In Italy there are some banks that offer services to no resident citizens not all banks do.
These banks have:
1) Employees that speak and write in English;
2) Informative documents in English;
3) Appropriate services for no resident citizens.
Where do I open an Italian current account ?
In Italy there are local banks that have offices exclusively in Italy and International banks with offices both nationally and internationally.
In the first case it is necessary to go in an Italian office to open an Italian bank account.
In the second case an Italian employee could open your Italian current account with the help of his foreign colleagues in your local international branch.
A no resident citizen should find the office of that International bank near his home and go to this office to sign the current bank account contract. The foreign and the Italian bank colleagues will work together to open the current account in Italy.
Retail banks in Italy
There are many regional local banks in Italy. MIPC would advise you to avoid these as they are very Italian and probably don’t have a good international department.
The best International banks include
- Barclays http://www.barclays.it/Welcome.aspx
- Monte dei Paschi di Siena http://english.mps.it/
- Banca Intesa SanPaolo http://group.intesasanpaolo.com/scriptIsir0/isInvestor/eng/home/eng_index.jsp
Documents to open an Italian current account
It is possible to open a current account with one or more holders. Every holder has to be identified before a bank employee.
To open an Italian current account it is necessary to provide the original version of:
- a passport
- an Italian tax code. Codice fiscale
- a recent utility bill as proof of address in your foreign country.
Current account services
A non resident person should ask for an Italian current account with the following services to check and manage the account from home:
1) Internet banking
2) Phone banking in English language (not every current account)
3) Bank statements (Some banks offer the service of online bank statements).
4) Internet transactions
5) Paying utility bills
6) Debit card (Bancomat)
7) Credit card (separate application procedure)
8) Bank cheques (yes they still write cheques in Italy !!)
As an international user your priorities are to ensure you receive the online log in instructions with security password device that most banks issue these days so you can manage your account and bills online and to ensure you get the debit Bancomat card for ATM cash withdrawals.
Costs of maintaining an Italian bank account.
Italian banking is not free banking. Some banks charge a fixed annual fee and also charges are incurred for all transactions. Some banks offer the first x transactions free.
Withdraw cash from your banks branches with your Italian debit card to reduce transaction costs.
- Find a bank that has branches in both your home country and Italy.
- Ensure that bank will issue an Italian mortgage to non Italian residents
- Obtain your Italian tax code called codice fiscale in Italian
- Request to open an Italian current account
- Provide relevant documents.
- Ensure to obtain your online account details
- Pick up your debit card Bancomat
Happy banking in Italy !!
09.12.2009 Angela Nappi
Angela is Italian mortgage consultant, works in an Italian bank and is a new contributor to the team of MIPC Italian Property whom can help you buy a house in Italy.