Money For Members

What to be aware of before opening a shared bank account in Spain

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 16 Dec, 2022 Updated Fri 16 Dec 2022 13:45 CEST
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Opening a joint bank account in Spain. Photo: JOSE JORDAN / AFP

Find out all about the different types of joint accounts in Spain, their conditions and how to avoid potential issues with Spanish tax authorities.


These days it’s very common for couples or families to have a shared or joint bank account. It’s useful for paying household bills, rent, the mortgage, food and many other shared expenses, but it's important to be aware of exactly who owns the money. 


There are various ways to go about it, you could each pay in a certain amount every month to cover these expenses, or all your money goes into this one account, even when the salaries are different amounts.

Most major banks in Spain offer joint accounts, in many cases without commission. There are accounts for two holders, three holders or even more.  

It’s very easy to open a joint bank account in Spain with the necessary paperwork if all holders agree to the same conditions, but it can sometimes cause issues, not only with the people you share your account with but also with the Hacienda or tax authorities.

Many banks these days even allow you to open a joint account entirely online.

It’s particularly important to protect yourself when you have a shared bank account warns the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU). Relationships and friendships can break down and this can cause problems with your finances.

They advise that the most important thing is to be clear about the ownership of the money in the shared account and that this depends on the type of account you open.

Authorised account or Cuentas con autorizados – In this type of account you have various types of people that are authorised to use the account, however, the money in the account does necessarily belong to them, unless they are specifically stated as a co-owner.

Joint accounts or cuentas mancomunadadas or conjuntas – In these types of accounts, members own all the money in the account, however, they must seek approval from the rest of the members before making certain payments and transfers.

Indistinct accounts or cuentas solidarias or indistintas – In these accounts, members have total freedom of what they want to do with the money in the account and don't have to ask permission. They have joint ownership with the other members without restrictions.

Finance website HelpMyCash also has a few tips for those wanting to open shared accounts in Spain. They say that one option is to open an account without commissions and without payroll, meaning that co-owners have their own personal account that their salary is paid into and only make contributions to the joint account.

This solution will also help you maintain your privacy too. They advise having a joint one for common and household expenses.  

But, in the case that you do want to share a payroll account, they agree that these accounts can offer more advantages and be a good option if all the holders comply and have rules set out ahead of time.

They also suggest that you could have a shared savings account.  When it comes to joint savings accounts, HelpMyCash recommends ING's Orange Account, which allows you to save at your own pace, without charging commissions for saving your money. They also recommend Openbank Welcome Savings Account with payroll, designed for new online bank customers who deposit their entire salary into the account. It has a fairly high-interest rate compared to the competition.

Other recommended joint accounts are ING's Cuenta NoCuenta, BBVA's Cuenta Online Sin Comisiones, Abanca's Cuenta Clara, Openbank's Cuenta Corriente Open and Sabadell's Cuenta Online, all of which promise no extra charges, a varying amount of holders from 2 to 5 and other perks.


Avoiding problems with the tax authorities

According to OCU, it is vital that you know exactly who owns the money in a joint account so that you know what to declare to the tax authorities.

As is the case with those who have joint accounts, the amount declared often does not match the amount you have in your shared account.

If the correct balances are not declared, this can lead to fines and other sanctions, so it’s important to make sure you have the correct type of shared account.

OCU advises that one of the simplest ways of making sure there is no problem is to open an authorised account, as the holders do not own the money for legal purposes and are not required to declare all the money.

If you have a joint account, they recommend that when opening the account you also sign a contract that states exactly who owns what.  

Similarly, with an indistinct account, they recommend that ownership be clearly defined because any member of the account can use the money without permission from the others.



The Local 2022/12/16 13:45

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