UK student studying in Spain - Banking

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
9 replies 2.5K views
In_For_A_Penny_2In_For_A_Penny_2 Forumite
345 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
Not normally on this part of the forum but any advice would be welcome.

I have a family member going to study in Madrid for a year as part of an exchange with a UK university.

We're trying to figure out what is the best option for her banking needs.

She will continue to receive a student load and small bursary into her UK account (halifax) but will hopefully have a few sources of income in Spain. None of the UK branches she has asked about have been particularly helpful (tried Halifax and the obvious option of Santander).

I understand she most likely has to open an account when out there and I have advised her to apply for the Halifax clarity card as a short term measure but any other options are most welcome.


  • ManAtHomeManAtHome Forumite
    8.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Can't help with the Spanish account, but the UK Santander 123 debit card gets you the Visa exchange rate with no extra charges as long as you use a Santander ATM.

    The Clarity Mastercard rate is usually fractionally better (and apparently occasionally a lot better - may have been a Visa glitch though...), but you could lose the advantage unless you pay off as soon as the withdrawal hits your account. Still very handy for bar/shop payments and back-up ATM cash though as long as you ensure you're charged in euros (if they charge in pounds they'll use their own rate, not the Mastercard one).
  • missbiggles1missbiggles1
    17.5K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Unless she's likely to need a Spanish bank account to receive any earnings, does she actually need one?
  • Thanks for above - Santander does remain an option (and is a good account regardless.
    Unless she's likely to need a Spanish bank account to receive any earnings, does she actually need one?

    This is the main issue. She will hopefully have some source of income in Spain and for paying bills etc I would have though a Spanish account was necessary. Also without one she risks getting hit with charges every time she pays a bill/rent etc from a UK account.
  • edited 8 July 2015 at 9:37AM
    SystemSystem Forumite
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 8 July 2015 at 9:37AM
    My daughter did an Erasmus year in Salamanca.

    Forget about Spanish bank accounts (they charge for just about everything). You do not need one. Spain, even for apartment rent is still very much a cash country

    Get a decent travel card and a spare card on the same account just in case (My daughter managed to !!!!!! up one card but luckily she had the spare.

    Her Erasmus funding will be going into her UK account so she just needs to top up the travel card online as and when she needs to.


    If she is going as part of her course (I.E. Erasmus) then I am not sure what Spanish income she will be expecting. If she is expecting Spanish income then she is in the realms of having to register for an NIE card., not exactly simple.

    Daughter now lives and works in Spain so has NIE and Spanish account
  • MaggieMaggie Forumite
    18 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Thanks for the above. My son is going to Ireland on an exchange- if anyone has any info on that I would be grateful
  • bouncydog1bouncydog1 Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Daughter is off to study in Ireland and will be opening an account there so Euros can go into it. We bank with HSBC and they offer an international transfer services for £4 if you do it online so if we need to send funds for anything before she gets paid we'll use that.
  • thegreenonethegreenone Forumite
    283 Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Bouncy dog, look at Transferwise too.

    My son studied in The Netherlands and found it very easy to open and close a Euro Account. However, like Mugwumps daughter he used a TC money card before when he was abroad and that worked just fine. But remember if you do a payment online to the card, it can take a few days to appear. I did do a couple of emergency runs to the nearest shop to top it up!
  • LoanrangerLoanranger Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    We had a Spanish bank account until last year. It was with Bankia. I can recommend them as being easy to deal with and have English speaking staff. This last point may be irrelevant as she may well be a Spanish speaker or wanting to improve her language skills.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Energy price cap could be extended beyond 2023

New plans have just been announced by the Government

MSE News

Cheap contents insurance for tenants

DON'T assume your landlord covers you

MSE Guides

Summer sizzlers round-up

Incl £2ish sun cream & £1.50 disposable BBQs

MSE Deals