Bank account

06/26/2010 - 18:06

Can anyone give advice?  We have just bought a place in Italy to use for holidays and hopefully at some point for longer stays.  Do we need an Italian bank account or can we do most transactions via the UK?  The previous owner of the house (also British) used an agent to pay bills (from what I can gather)  Would it be easier having an Italian account?  Would we save money having an Italian account or would it be more costly?  Is it easy to set up an account?  Any advice gratefully accepted!! Jan


Beware, Italian Banks charge for everything ! We used to transfer cash in Euros to our Italian account and the bank would open up a holding account to process the transaction and then charge us a large percentage for doing so. The best value that I have found is Banco Posta which charges only about E40 per annum.

We are in the process of buying an house in Le Marche and at first had problems trying to open an account with UniCredit - they didnt want to know. But had no problems with the Co-op bank n Fano - and successfully opened an "Estero" account, where we can access online and six-monthly statements are sent to our uk address, and also have a bancomat card. We have had the account for about two years now and the charges have been nowhere near E300 or E2 for every transaction. We have various transactions going thru and cheques etc but at the moment the pitiful amount of interest they give us (0.5%) covers any charges (And we've had on average circa E10,000) - so about E50 per year. Maybe look into BCC Banca di Credito Cooperativo in your area  

In reply to by Alanino

Alanino,  Very low charges indeed think we will have to make a visit to our bank. Do you pay govenment tax! and do they charge for your money transfer! We pay for statements and as said E2 per line on the statement, Have been down to see them and had the charges looked at, but compared with around E50 per year still paying well over the top.

I opened an account with Banca Sibillini in Camerino 2years ago,bank charges have been minimal and the service they have given has been first class.It does help that the manager speaks some English which is rare for this area.If you intend to live in Italy for any lenghth of timeI would recommend you open an Italian bank account.I transfer my money into this account through an account I have with World First,who will give you a good rate of exchange.

I am in the process of modernising a property I have bought near San Severino Marche.The estimates I have had from Italian builders have been eye wateringly high,I could have built a new house in the UK for the money they are quoting.Are there any English speaking builders in this area that anyone could recommend please,any help would be appreciated.

Hi, We have just purchased a property in Abruzzo, and looked at many bank accounts all with huge charges. We found an account with barclays that is very good.  I have contact details if this would be of help. Maureen

Hi, We are looking to buy, and now need to open a euro account. Does anyone have any experience of banks in the Borgo a Mozzano or Diecimo area. We looked at the Barclays branch in Lucca, but they seem to deal only with businesses. We picked up a leaflet from the post office in Pescaglia today, but the queue looked as if it was very slow moving, with everybody sitting down just to pass the time of day! We are particularly concerned that in the past some have complained about being charged just to transfer money into their account, and I am not referring to exchange charges. Many thanks.

"We are particularly concerned that in the past some have complained about being charged just to transfer money into their account, and I am not referring to exchange charges." That happened to me. But I don't know how to get round it. Welcome to Italy.

Take into account that you have to pay E 8.55 every 3 months to pay the EC for the pleasure of living here, and having an Italian account, which is included in the bank charges!!! So 34 Euro PA

It's true Italian banks charge for everything. I'd say you could probably manaqge without one for a while but in the end, you will need one.  It's easier to open a bank account here if you know someone who will introduce you - well, quicker, anyway.

Thanks everyone for your comments re the bank account question.  I think we'll hang fire for the moment and see how we get on without an Italian account for the time being.  All good info though for future reference.

I think that you will find it very difficult to operate without an Italian bank account, whether a post office or mainstream account. There are certain charges (comune, rubbish etc), that can usually only be paid through an Italian account, (or in euro cash, but then you still have to acquire the euros with their associated costs). Italian banking follows the "European" model in that it is transaction based. You essentially pay for each transaction made. This is no different to most of Europe. UK banking operates on a system of cross subsidisation of products. "Free" current accounts are paid for by higher credit card charges etc. Its arguable that had the UK banks followed the European model then government bailouts would have been much lower. I would say, just factor in the Italian bank charges as a "necessary" cost of owing a property in Italy.

I agree with Capo Boi.  It's life - swallow hard and accept it.  There is no free banking in ITaly, but by the same token its unlikely that the Monte dei Paschi will go bust.  It would be virtually impossible to not have a bank account - especially if you dont live here and want to pay bills via the internet.    If you dont want to pay 2 euros every time you get money out of the hole in the wall, go to the bank and get it out over the counter.  If you dont want to pay 50 cents for an online bank transfer pay your bills at the PO and pay 1.10 euros instead.  Just factor the costs in to your Italian life - to make your life much easier it must be worth the money.... 

I don't know if it is because you are referring to "foreigners" bank accounts and I am resident but I pay €3.60 a month which includes all my transactions and internet banking. I pay €3 to transfer money to the UK and don't pay to receive Euros from the UK. I think you really need to shop around to get a good deal. BNL currently have a "zero spese" account where you don't pay anything. We all have to pay the quarterly tax on the bank account but I pay very little bank charges.

In reply to by Penny

Hi Penny I know in your blog you mentioned the bank that you use is BNL.  Could you tell me if BNL is the actual name of the bank or is it the abbreviation and if so, what is it ?.  Do you knowif they have branches in the Arezzo area of Tuscany.

The bank I use is Banca Credito Cooperativo Picena (BCC Picena). There is usually a Cooeprative bank in most areas. Otherwise, Banca Nazionale di Lavoro (BNL) are offering a new account with "zero spese". BNL is a national bank so you should find one in Tuscany somewhere.

As I am appalled by the charges at my bank  Monte Pasci di Siena, I have asked some Italian friends who have recomended BNL's account named Revolution. I went to one of their branches in Lucca last week and after some investigation from their part they came to the conclusion that you have to be resident in Italy to be able to open one. Their best offer for us was an account which would cost €17 every 3 months, which is much better than MPS but in my opinion still way to much. On the other hand I have a friend who is not resident in Italy who were able to open this account at BNL in Follonica (Tuscany), so I think it is depends on if the clerk in the branch reads the small print or not...