Best Banks in Italy for International Students

As an international student in Italy, the first thing you would want to do is open a bank account. You will need one to pay your fees and take care of bills, particularly when residing in this country for a long time. With the multiple options available, knowing which bank is ideal for you might be confusing. This is especially true when you don’t know the ins and outs of the banking system in Italy.

Best banks in Italy for international students include: 

  • Revolut
  • Bunq
  • Unicredit 
  • Intesa Sanpaolo 
  • Fineco 

Although you may encounter a language barrier in some instances, opening a bank account as an international student in Italy is straightforward and won’t take much of your time. In many cases, you can do it online. That said, below are student-friendly banks for a foreigner and a detailed description of what you may need to open an account in this country. 

Bank accounts for international students in Italy 

1. Revolut 

Revolut is an international online bank that operates purely in English as it’s based in the UK; you won’t have a hard time navigating its website. This bank is available in all European countries, including Italy. It’s the easiest bank to set up as an international student.

You only need your ID and the address where to ship the card. Every customer gets a free account and a free debit card.

Main features Revolut offers: 

  • Free, no fees bank account and debit card
  • Instant top-ups
  • Free multicurrency payments
  • Instant transfers 
  • Free withdrawals worldwide 

Here is an overview of what you get:

Feature Price 
Subscription fee Free 
Adding money Free 
Debit card Free 
Multicurrency account and multicurrency paymentsFree 
IBANFree 
Money transfers 24/7 Free 
Card replacement 5 EUR
ATM withdrawals Free up to 200 EUR per month, small fee for the rest 
Instant and normal transfers Free 
Local payments Free 
Source: revolut.com 

The main benefit of choosing Revolut over other banks is the ease of opening an account and a very user-friendly mobile app. It’s a simple bank for your daily spending, whether in Italy or on a trip abroad.

You can manage your money and get 24/7 support in the English language. Almost no Italian bank provides these benefits.

If, while traveling, you pay in a different currency, they won’t charge additional fees for it, and they will convert your money at best possible exchange rate.

2. Bunq

Bunq is a Dutch bank but similarly to Revolut, it operates entirely in English Europe-wide and has a very handy mobile app. It’s a great choice for expats, international students, and all other foreigners in Italy, especially who doesn’t speak Italian.

Bunq offers:

  • Cheap bank accounts starting from free to 2,99 EUR
  • Cheap ATM withdrawals
  • IBAN
  • Fantastic user interface and simple navigation
  • Instant transfers/payments
  • Special account for freelancers
  • Customer service in English, Italian and other languages

You can choose between a free saving account, a cheap plan for just 2,99 EUR per month, or a premium for 8,99 EUR. With a premium account, you get:

  • free ATM withdrawals
  • 25 sub-accounts
  • multiple debit cards, including Mastercard and Maestro
  • free travel card

Moreover, Bunq offers a 1-month free trial so that you can test the product.

FeaturePrice
Monthly feeFree or 2,99 EUR
International debit cardFree
TransfersFree and in different currencies
Cash withdrawals in Italy0,99 EUR per transaction
Cash withdrawals abroad 0,99 EUR per transaction
Payments in foreign currencies1,5% of the transaction plus 0,5% or 0,5%
depending on the package
Contactless paymentsFree

3. Unicredit 

Unicredit is a traditional bank and the most widespread in Italy and thus well-respected. This bank services customers in many European countries like France, Italy, Austria, Germany, and United Kingdom. It also offers various services, some of which are suitable for students.

In Italy, students can start with a free account which can be opened online. You also get free mobile banking via the app. Nonetheless, not all services of Unicredit are free. You pay for instant transfers and order your debit card.

That said, below are other perks of banking with Unicredit as a student in Italy: 

  • Low fees 
  • Free Visa debit card 
  • Various payment options: credit cards, debit cards, or bank transfers
  • Free money transfers
  • Large network of ATMs

Keep in mind that Unicredit isn’t a 100% free bank.

Feature Price 
Account and debit cardFrom free to 4 EUR
SEPA transfers Free 
Opening and maintaining current account 1.50 EUR
Monthly statements delivered by email Free 
Changes to account Free 

4. Intesa Sanpaolo 

Intesa Sanpaolo is another traditional bank in Italy, hence convenient if you prefer handling your financial issues face to face. This bank is also the country’s largest, asset-wise and therefore trusted and respected. Additionally, it’s multilingual, unlike Unicredit, and thus you won’t have difficulty understanding its terms and conditions. 

Another benefit of banking with Intesa Sanpaolo is its widespread ATMs; you shouldn’t worry about running cashless in any part of Italy. Opening an account is also free if you’re a student between the ages of 18 and 35. 

Opening a current account in this bank allows you to access online banking services and manage your finances in the comfort of your home. For instance, you could make payments using your Mastercard debit card. 

Intesa Sanpaolo also offers: 

  • Cost-sharing payments 
  • Wise range of free services
  • Fast international transactions 
  • Multilingual support 
  • Easy access to mortgages and insurance 
  • Free accounts for up to 35 years of age 

5. Fineco 

Fineco is a purely online Italian bank offering free accounts for people under 30. Great solution if you are busy with school work and have no time to attend bank appointments.

However, it also has a desk customer service if you need some in-person clarifications. This bank has more than 1,4 million customers in Italy, thus respected and trusted. 

A Fineco bank account is free to open and maintain for the first year of use if you are under thirty. If you are older, maintaining an account in this bank will cost you 6.95 EUR monthly.

Moreover, obtaining a current account in this bank will get you a free Visa debit card, making it easy to transact in all parts of Italy. 

The Fineco debit card allows you to withdraw cash of up to 3,000 EUR from any Unicredit ATMs found countrywide. You should note that this benefit applies provided you don’t withdraw less than 99 EUR. Otherwise, you’ll pay 0.80 EUR for anything less. 

Using this bank account, you can also make instant payments via Apple pay or Fitbit pay. Fineco allows you to borrow loans of up to 50,000 EUR, which can come in handy if you are short on your fees. Below is an illustration showing the benefits of Fineco loans. 

Feature Price 
Bank account and debit cardFree for people under 30; otherwise, free for only 12 months and 6.95 EUR/month later on
Debit card delivery fee2,25 EUR
Cash withdrawalsAbove 99 EUR is free; 3,000 EUR per day is limit
SEPA transfersFree
Instant transfers0,2% fee – min. 0.85 EUR – max. 2.95 EUR
Opening and maintaining current account 1.50 EUR
Changes to account Free 
Options for loans and credit cards
Source: finecobank.com

Other pros and cons of using Fineco include:

  • Access to investment services, e.g., trading 
  • Helps you track your spending; money management features
  • Inexpensive instant transfers; 0.20% of the amount 

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Italy? 

Opening a bank account as a foreigner in Italy is not only possible but also straightforward. A foreigner is eligible for an Italian bank account provided they live, study, or work in Italy. Moreover, a foreigner can choose between traditional, international, or online banks. 

That said, opening an account in an online bank as a foreigner is easier than in traditional banks, as they don’t require much documentation. Moreover, online banks like Revolut and Bunq allow you to open an account in the comfort of your home and just in a few minutes.

On the other hand, traditional banks offer more specialized services as they better understand the Italian financial market. But they won’t let you open an account online. You will need to visit a branch to verify your identity.

That said, opening an account in a traditional Italian bank will require you to visit the bank in person and follow the exact procedure, which is quite similar to that of a citizen or permanent resident.

Remember, the process may differ from bank to bank; it’s advisable you contact the bank before the appointment to identify all the requirements. 

That said, below are the standard documents required to open an account in a traditional bank in Italy. 

  • A residence permit 
  • Codice fiscale; an Italian tax code 
  • Passport or valid ID 
  • An Anti-Money Laundry certificate or compliance 
  • Proof of studies, employment, or self-employment 
  • A valid Italian address 

As a student, you could opt to open a student bank account which may require the following documents. 

  • Current student ID 
  • Certificate from the head of the Educational Institution 
  • Current valid passport 
  • Proof of the address 

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Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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