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The Spanish financial system is in controlled by the "Hascienda" (Ministry of Finance) with the help of "Banco de Espana". Spain has more than 280 different banks which can be divided into groups: private banks, saving banks, local credit cooperatives, foreign registered banks and branch offices from other European Union banks.

Several different types of accounts are available in Spain. To open one you will need residencia, or a passport and an N.I.E. number (social security card). Low interest accounts are called "cuenta corriente" (current account). With a "cuenta de imposicion a plazo" (fixed deposit account) you receive interest depending on the deposited amount and length of time it remains in the account. Also providing a very low interest, but with a written record of your account, is the "libreta de ahorro" (savings book account).

It is necessary to possess "residencia" if you want to have 25 % of any interest retained by the bank against their Income Tax Declaration. It is possible to fill out a form which allows the bank to pay certain bills, such as electricity, phone, local taxes, etc, regularly by direct debit mandate. You often receive the bill for these services after the money has been taken from your account, so make sure you have sufficient funds available to cover the charges.

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