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Offline Berris

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Bank recommendations
« on: January 24, 2019, 09:24:22 AM »
Hi All,

How's your bank? Would you recommend them? I'm looking for a big bank (not likely to fail), branch with someone who speaks a bit of English to help me set it up (I'm learning!) And its just to do the house sale transaction for now.

Any thoughts much appreciated.

Cheers,
b


Offline levissima

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2019, 11:05:01 AM »
Difficult to recommend because who know what will happen after Brexit, however I’d say choose a bank within easy reach if where you buy your house. My first bank was very convenient for my estate agent who helped me open the account but once I’d moved in, it was very inconvenient for me. I now have two accounts, one with Tercas / Blanca Popularity di Bari *Tercas was taken over. And Posta Italia. I’ve not had any problems with either and the post office account is very useful because there a post offices in most towns.

It worth also remembering that accounts for residents and non residents are different and from what I’ve heard it can be difficult to set up Direct Debit payments if you are non resident, although this is fairly recent and old accounts continue to allow this. Also, there are bank charges and getting a credit card is not automatic.

Good luck

Oh and you’ll need a codice fiscal before you can do anything!

Offline Venatore

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2019, 11:12:03 AM »
We used the Italian Post Office. They have branches everywhere and the larger usually have an English speaking member of staff. Oddly to open an account you will also need an Italian mobile number which you can pickup with a sim cheaply.
V.

Offline Berris

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2019, 11:15:39 AM »
Thanks, again, Levissima! I was going to go with Pescara. Just thinking; biggest city, most banks, most likely to forgive my gestural Italian. But this has given me some good pause for thought.

Codice Fiscale applied for just now, using this form:  https://secure.jotformpro.com/form/40504918647964 HT to Allan Mason for the link. (if anyone is reading this and is concerned about uploading personal docs to a form they found on the interwebs you can find this form linked from the Italian consulate in London's page here: https://conslondra.esteri.it/consolato_londra/en/i_servizi/per_i_cittadini/codice_fiscale/ )

Offline Berris

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2019, 11:17:22 AM »
Thanks, again, as well, V. Good to know about needing the phone number. I might finally get to use that second sim slot!

Offline GeordieBorn

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2019, 12:49:44 PM »
I don’t think any bank here in Italy is failsafe, although I did read from a very good source that Unicredit are too big to fail!
If it’s only to buy for now, why don’t you look to use a direct transfer? Banks would be the most costly for this, an FX company or Transferwise or CurrencyFair. The latter last I looked were better for anything over £500. Either way, check your UK bank limit for transfers as no matter who you are transferring to it is likely your bank will have a daily limit (some as low as 20,000). In which case you may have to do this in bits. One other problem with getting an Italian account is that until you are resident they have to have a non-resident account and be prepared to let you open one. As stated by others, these days many want an Italian mobile number to run the account for using 2-factor-authentication (2FA).
In the early days look at a UK pre-loaded credit card for cash and/or some payments, such as the likes Fairfx and Caxton.

Offline Berris

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2019, 04:48:11 PM »
Thanks, Geordieborn. You mean i could transferwise straight to the seller's account? Pay my bills and taxes in cash?

Offline GeordieBorn

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2019, 05:00:13 PM »
Thanks, Geordieborn. You mean i could transferwise straight to the seller's account? Pay my bills and taxes in cash?
I think you will find CurrencyFair best for the house payment or anything else over £500.
The cash advice is just a suggestion whilst you get settled. The odd thing is paying a bill the post office cost 1.20 last I used it, same on-line at their site was 1.00, but go on to the bill site (say TIM for the landline) it cost nothing! Many places there (as opposed to companies which most will not) accept the likes of FairFX or Caxton cards for payment. However long term without a UK address I think you would run into trouble trying to continue using these.

Offline Berris

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2019, 05:36:06 PM »
Ah, thanks. I've used an fx company before and gone through some of the peculiarities of large transfers, i just didn't know it might be possible for the sale. Seemed to be the 12th commandment was thou shalt have an Italian bank account! This is great information to have in the back pocket though. Especially if things need to go fast.

Cheers!

Offline Essex Red

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2019, 05:58:22 PM »
I have a non resident account with Unicredit in Lanciano. They have a couple of people there who speak reasonable English. I used to work in banking and had a role which included evaluating Italian banks and thought they were one of the best and more internationally focused, which is why I chose them as well as convenient location for me.
The account works fine. I monitor it on line and top it up when needed with transfers from the UK. I use it to pay my electricity bill by direct debit and paying bills / spending money via my ATM card when I visit my house. I rarely go into the branch but when I do they are always helpful.
Charges are about 6 Euro a month which gets reduced when I have a balance over a couple of thousand.
I needed a local Sim pay (pay as you go) to get the pin when the account was opened but have not needed it since. 
Hope this helps.

Offline Berris

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 09:23:49 PM »
Thanks, EssexRed! That does really help. I haven't got the plan entirely figured out and we've still to find *the* house. So it's really hand to have some options and an idea of what's possible.

Cheers!

Offline Relaxed

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 10:19:14 PM »
I don't use it myself, but various friends recommend Fineco, which is an internet bank with quite low charges. I expect you'll find a website for them outlining their offerings (in English, because I think they are Europe wide). Of course you cannot fully depend on the English information, because there may be some wrinkles which the Italian banking authorities impose whch may not be mentioned - but it'll give you an idea.
You can certainly pay any house vendor by an electronic bank transfer (through a currency exchange, or from your own UK bank), but you cannot pay the notaio or your estate agent using cash, (money laundering regs) so I think you'd need to make those payments electronically as well if you don't have an Italian bank account.
The cell-phone number can be someone else's number if they agree - mine is used by half a dozen people for their debit cards (which has the side-effect that I always know when they are in Italy!)

Offline Berris

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2019, 10:22:33 PM »
Thanks, Relaxed. Good points about the notario and agents fees. And thanks for passing on the tip about Fineco. I shall look them up!

Cheers!

Offline GeordieBorn

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2019, 11:18:05 AM »
Since Relaxed post on Fineco I've come across them quit a few times on other forums with very positive posts. A quick look at their UK site here would seem to indicate they are actually part of Unicredit. Not looked into charges, but reports I've read are good and they do a multiple currency account that may well suit those travelling by car to Italy as well as those living in Italy. Worth a look to see if it gets around any residency issue as you may well be able to run the account from the UK and/or Italy and still use both EUR and GBP, although there is some indication card transactions will always be in EUR and a exchange involved.

Offline 2Heads

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Re: Bank recommendations
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2019, 05:04:17 PM »
I agree 100% with Levi about considering the positioning of the bank. At first we banked in Pescara but once we moved in it was completely inconvenient and we closed the account and opened a new one locally with BCC. (We've not had any problems with them) Fortunately we set up a direct debit for electricity before the resident/non-resident banking business was introduced and that simply continues. Incidentally, I was assured by the bank that the change came about not to 'punish' stranieri but to catch out Italians who were pretending to be from another nation for nefarious purposes. They asked us to come in to the branch to make the changeover and, in true Italian style, we had to sign 72 times between the two of us - God help the Brazilian rain forests! It doesn't seem to have made any difference at all except for the cheques, which I use to pay the delivery driver for gas, are now stamped to show we are not Italians.
For everyday transactions we use a pre-loaded card which is very convenient and can even be loaded on a mobile if you get to the checkout and find you haven't enough euros left on it.