How to open a bank account in Italy

If you’re relocating and need an account to hold, spend and receive euros, you may be wondering how to open a bank account in Italy. It’s common to require a local Italian address or residence permit to be able to open a full service bank account there. That can make it tricky to get an account set up with a regular bank if you’re not in Italy yet, or if you’re only staying temporarily.

This guide walks through account opening options and requirements for some major Italian banks – and some alternatives like Wise and Revolut as a more flexible comparison. More on that, later.

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What documents do I need?

The exact documents you need to open an account with a traditional Italian bank will vary a little based on the account type. However, in most cases here’s what’s required to open a full service Italian bank account:

  • Proof of ID like a passport or National identity card
  • Proof of Italian address – if you’re non-resident you may only be eligible for a limited number of account products
  • Codice fiscale (tax number)
  • Proof of employment or student status

Other documents like a proof of income may also be needed based on the account type you select.

It’s helpful to note that there are some banks – like N26 which we’ll focus on more later – which accept proof of ID from some other European countries as well as Italy. If you’re already a European resident you might find you have more choice for your Italian bank account – but if you’re still in the US you may find your options more limited. More on a smart solution, next.

Save the paperwork with alternative solutions like Wise or Revolut

If you’re trying to set up a euro bank account before you move to Italy you may be better off with a modern online alternative like Wise or Revolut, instead of a traditional Italian bank. Providers like these offer accounts which can hold, send, spend and receive euros, alongside a range of other currencies. You’ll be able to open your account with a US proof of identity and address, which means you can access EUR bank details even if Italy isn’t your home just yet.

Set up your account online or via the provider’s app and complete the verification process digitally before you travel.

Learn more about WiseLearn more about Revolut

How to open a bank account in Italy

How you open your account in Italy will depend a lot on the bank you select. In all cases you’ll be able to walk into a branch to get your account opened – although you may need to take a friend to help translate if your Italian skills aren’t up to the job. Some banks do allow customers to open accounts remotely, subject to meeting eligibility requirements. More on that in a moment.

If you don’t have an Italian mailing address you’ll probably find it harder to set up a full service account with a traditional bank – check out some digital alternatives like Wise or Revolut for EUR accounts you can open from the US.

Go to WiseRead Revolut Review

Can I open a bank account in Italy before arrival?

It’s normal to need an Italian address to open a full bank account there. You may be asked to provide a proof of address as part of the verification process, and many banks also mail out your account card and PIN, so access to a mailing address is essential.

You may be able to find a small handful of banks which allow you to apply for a non-resident account in Italy before you arrive there. However, these accounts can come with relatively limited services and higher fees, compared with standard Italian resident bank accounts.

It’s also useful to know that some banks offer euro accounts to customers with a residential address which is also in the EU or a Eurozone country. If you’re not in Europe yet you might find it easier to get set up using a specialist account service – we’ve got a couple coming up to kickstart your research.

Which account is best in Italy for foreigners?

While there’s a huge choice of local, regional and global banks in Italy, you’ll need a local proof of address for standard accounts, or you’ll have to go for a non-resident product. If you want a more flexible account, digital specialist services may be a better option.

Let’s take a look at a few examples, including a couple of specialist account providers, digital bank N26 and popular Italian bank BBVA:

ServiceWiseRevolutN26BBVA Italia 
Currencies covered50+ currencies including EURTypically around 28 currencies including EUREUREUR
Open before you arrive in ItalyYesYesOpen with proof of residence from one of 22 European countriesNo
Open onlineYesYesYesYes
Opening feeNo feeNo feeNo feeNo fee
Maintenance feeNo feeNo-fee standard plans are available – or customers can upgrade to accounts which have a monthly chargeFee free standard plans are available – or customers can upgrade to accounts which have a monthly chargeNo fee
International transfersLow fee, varies by currencyFee varies by currency and payment valueIncoming and outgoing EUR payments to EU countries are usually free

Receiving a SWIFT payment: 12.50 EUR + 0.1%

Outgoing international payments are processed through Wise – low, variable fees apply

Standard online SEPA transfers don’t have a fee (exchange rate markups may apply)

Non-SEPA payments aren’t available from BBVA’s online current account

We picked out N26 and BBVA Italia as a couple of the more flexible Italian banks – N26 will let you apply with a proof of address from a range of European countries, and BBVA Italia has online account opening options. However, you’ll need to be a resident of Italy with BBVA, while N26 offers accounts to residents of Italy or another EU country.

If you’re still in the US and don’t have an Italian proof of address, an online account provider like Wise or Revolut can be a smart choice, to access low cost banking services in euros alongside USD.

Go to WiseRead Revolut Review


Wise offers multi-currency accounts which can be used to hold, exchange, send, spend and manage 50+ currencies including both US dollars and euros.

You can open your account while you’re still in the US and get bank details for up to 10 currencies – including USD and EUR – to receive payments, as well as having the option to send money to 80+ countries and spend internationally with a linked debit card.

Wise is a specialist in low cost currency conversion which uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markup. Use your Wise account as you transition from the US to Europe, to get low fees and great rates every time you need to switch from one currency to another.

Account types: Both personal and business customers can open a Wise multi-currency account from the US with no minimum balance or monthly fees to pay. More information on Wise Fees.

Eligibility: Accounts are offered in most countries around the world – you’ll need a government issued ID and in some cases a proof of address or tax number to apply. Full details of availability by location available on the Wise website.

Is Wise safe? Yes. Wise is also overseen by a range of global regulatory bodies around the world.

Go to Wise


Revolut describes itself as a financial super app. Accounts are offered to customers based in the US and a range of other countries, and can hold and exchange around 28 currencies including euros.

You’ll be able to spend on your linked debit card, get some no-fee currency exchange depending on your account type, and even earn interest on your account balance.

Revolut offers standard accounts without monthly fees, or if you want to unlock more features you can upgrade to a paid plan for a monthly fee.

Account types: Standard account plans don’t have monthly fees or opening fees, or you can upgrade to a paid plan on a variety of different tiers – if you’re in the US, plans range up to 16.99 USD/month.

Eligibility: Available to customers with addresses in the UK, the EEA, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, and the US.

Is it safe? Yes. Revolut operates safely in the countries it serves, with oversight from a range of global bodies.

Read Revolut Review


N26 is a European digital bank which offers accounts to customers in 20+ countries around Europe, including Italy.

It’s free to get a basic standard account, or you can choose to pay a monthly fee of up to 16.90 EUR to upgrade to a premium account tier.

It’s worth noting that at the time of writing, N26 has some limitations on the number of accounts that can be opened per month, due to overwhelming demand. This may mean some or all products are limited based on your country of residence. Restrictions change based on demand – check the latest before you choose N26 for your euro account.

Account types: Standard, Premium and Business accounts are available. Standard accounts are free to open, with no monthly fee.

Eligibility: Available to residents of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Italy, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.

Is it safe? Yes. N26 is a reputable European bank with a full banking license for the EU.

BBVA Italia

BBVA Italia has a good range of account products, with some you can open online. This isn’t universally possible with Italian banks, so it’s a feature worth looking out for when you select your account. Open a BBVA current account online by uploading your documents and getting verified, and your account paperwork will then be mailed to you. You’ll need an Italian address to be able to follow this process, though, so it won’t suit everyone.

Account types: Range of account options including some with online opening processes.

Eligibility: Generally customers will need to provide a local mailing address to get an account.

Is it safe? Yes. BBVA is a reputable global bank with banking licenses everywhere it offers services.

What are the costs?

Opening a bank account in Italy will not usually involve paying any specific fee, but you may be asked to deposit a set minimum amount of money. You may also find there are monthly or annual account and card fees, as well as transaction costs. Because banking in Europe can come with significantly different fees compared to the US you’ll want to review the fee schedule carefully before you start using your account.

Online specialists like Wise or Revolut can offer low-cost international transfers and accounts are free to open. Revolut has various account types with monthly fees, including a Standard account which is fee-free, while Wise personal accounts are free to open without monthly fees.

Learn more about WiseLearn more about Revolut

Tips for transferring money

If you’re moving to Europe you may well need to manage your money across both EUR and USD for a while, which will mean sending transfers internationally. Overseas payments can be pretty costly, with fees that are often confusing. You’ll need to compare both the transfer fee and the exchange rate being applied whenever you send money to make sure you get a good deal.

Here are some tips to avoid the additional costs on international transfer fees:

  • Compare the exchange rate you’re offered against the mid-market exchange rate to see if a markup is being used
  • Review the terms and conditions of your specific account to see the transfer fee which will apply
  • Check if there are third party fees associated with the SWIFT network – these can push up the overall costs

Related: Best cards to use in Italy


Italian banks commonly ask for a proof of address from Italy, or in some cases from another EU or EEA country to open a full bank account. It’s also sometimes possible to apply for specialist non-resident accounts, but these can be more limited and come with higher charges overall. That can limit your options for a Italian bank account from a regular bank if you’ve not yet relocated, or if you’re only planning on being in Italy on a temporary basis.

If you need a euro account with more flexibility, check out specialist providers like Wise or Revolut, to get an account opened and verified online, with EUR banking details and a linked payment card.

Go to WiseRead Revolut Review


  1. Can a foreigner open an account in Italy?

Yes, foreigners can open Italian bank accounts. However, you’ll often be asked for a proof of address from Italy, from another EU or EEA country, or have your choices limited to specialist non-resident accounts.  If you’re still based in the US a flexible multi-currency account from a specialist provider may be a better option.

  1. How much do I need to open a bank account in Italy?

It’s usually free to open an Italian bank account, but there may be a minimum initial deposit, monthly or annual card fees, and there are always some transaction fees to consider, depending on how you use your account.

  1. Can I open an Italian bank account online?

Some Italian banks do allow online account opening, but you’ll find this easier if you’re a local resident in Italy and have a tax number and a proof of address document.

  1. Can I open a bank account in Italy before landing?

You’ll normally need a proof of address from Italy, or sometimes from another EU or EEA country to get a full Italian bank account. However, online and digital specialist services like Wise and Revolut may be more flexible, with accounts you can open online, with proof of address from your home country instead.

If you are interested in opening a bank account in other European countries, these guides may be helpful:

Claire Millard
Fintech Content Writer
Claire Millard is a content and copywriter with a specialty in international finance. Her work has featured in The Times and The Telegraph, as well as industry magazines and leading personal finance blogs.
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Seyma Mektepli
Seyma is an experienced content writer and editor-in-chief at Exiap, delivering informative articles on personal finance, and money transfers.
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Last updated
December 30th, 2023