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Expat Banking: Tips for Expats in Italy

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: All expats in Italy face managing their finances while living there, and that always starts with finding a bank. Here are some tips from expats already living in Italy based on their actual experiences with banks there.

Expat Banking - Tips for Expats in Italy

One of the first tasks that Expats in Italy must complete when they move to Italy is opening a bank account at an international bank that will provide them the financial services they require.

Here is some advice from expats and experts to consider:

An expat moving to Italy seeking banking services asked:

Hi folks, was wondering if anyone out there has used "HSBC expat" for setting up a bank account in Italy, Sicily in particular."

Another expat responded:

"To be eligible for an HSBC Expat account you need to keep a minumum of 60,000 British Pounds [editor's note: this may vary over time] in the account.

"I guess it all depends on what you want to do with the account. I use CheBanca! and online bank account that provides free ATM use at all banks local and international. I use Transferwise to transfer money from my USAA account in the US to my CheBanca! account each month and when I see the exchange rates are favorable.

Another expat wrote:

"I have a Scwhab account with free ATM. I also have an Italian account with Intessa that I transfer money into from Scwhab."

In another thread, an expat who moved to Italy shared his experiences banking in Italy:

"Yesterday I tried transfer some money from one of my Fidelity accounts to another of my Fidelity accounts. I could not. When I called to find out what was the deal, after several waits when the agent went off the get information, I was told that Fidelity considers Italy a forbidden location and they blocked my account. I have been with them for 3 years. I can take my money out but I could nolonger deposit money into the account, including direct deposits. My social security payment is due today but it will bounce. After hanging up very upset, I started looking for an American bank that would let me open an account from Italy. After several tries, I found Schwab. Now the change in the social security direct deposit took the next two hours of being on hold only to find out that I have to go to the American consulate to make the change. Schwab also agreed to express the debit cards to Italy. I post this as a warning to those looking to set up a bank account."

Another expat responded:

I was able to open a Schwab Account using my son's NJ address. However, I told them that I was in Italy for an extended period of time and they even Federal Expressed my debit cards to me in Italy. It did not seem to be of concern to the several people I spoke to at Schwab. They actually advertise their expat services.

In another thread about expats in Italy opening bank accounts, more expats detailed their experiences:

One expat replied:

"If you live in the New York area, it is possible to open an Italian bank account remotely with a little help. We did it with Unicredit bank in NYC and the help of the local bank manager for Unicredit in Italy plus our real estate agent. It took some time, but saved us time and money in the end."

In another conversation among expats about opening a bank account in Italy, an expat wrote:

"Having just returned from our house hunting trip, I can report that opening a bank account was pretty easy. We are Americans.

First, You need a Coda Fiscale (This was also easy to get.) Taking a number at the Municipo and waiting took longer than the time spent at the particular desk.

Second, we walked a couple blocks to UniCredit/Banco di Roma and had an account open in about an hour.

Documents needed. Coda and Passports

"Costs of accounts. The basic account which is just like a old style saving account is 3 euros per month [may vary over time]. An account which lets you write checks and have a bank card is 6 euros per month [may vary over time].

"It may be easier for EU residents as Americans have to deal with the FATCA regulations which means more paperwork and forms to sign."

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Updated On: Jul 24, 2018

First Published: Jul 24, 2018

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