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Bank accounts - item one on the list

Easy things first

First thing was on your shopping list should be a bank account. Most things here are done on direct debit and it is just about compulsory for electricity, water and phone so you need the bank account to get the flat, and the services and for the school in order to pay for the books and trips.

There are English banks like Barclays (actually not so many as Barclays branches were taken over by La Caixa in 2014), but also plenty of Spanish banks. As in the UK you have those specialising in savings and others more specialising in current accounts. There is a lot of choice and we didn't find opening the initial non-residents account at all difficult. All we needed was passports and proof of address in the UK (oh and some money to put in it).

In all it took about 3 days for the bank account numbers through. We did this on the visit when we were looking for accommodation, you may actually want to do it one stage earlier so you have all the details to hand when you go to the agency or whatever with regard to signing of the contracts for the flat. As you are signing for the flat you should also be signing for the electricity and water.

From the bank account we got the contract, the direct debits et al. This wasn't a problem, though you do need to know about IBAN bank account numbers (4 digits for the company, 4 for the branch, 2 check digits and 8 for the account number) - if you're buying things on contract such as phone-lines you'll need this number to hand and things like social security, schools etc all need your bank account details.

Since setting up the original non-residents bank account, with jobs and things you ought to change it to a residents account. We were slow about this. Salaries can be paid into the non-residents account, but I don't know where this would leave you with the tax authorities.

Converting the account to a residents one just requires documentation like an NIE, but you will get a new bank account number. Thankfully all the direct debit information is transferred over automatically do there is no need to inform all the people you are paying.


Previous article: Getting internet and a fixed line phone Next article: Proof of residency (for schools)

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