Money For Members

Can I pay my Spanish bills via direct debit from a foreign account?

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Can I pay my Spanish bills via direct debit from a foreign account?
The SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) law is rarely respected by companies and institutions in Spain. (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP)

If you don’t have a Spanish bank account but you own or rent a property in Spain, you may be wondering if you can use a foreign account to pay your water, electricity and internet bills.


In theory, if you have a bank account in another EU country you should be able to pay your Spanish bills from it via direct debit. 

That’s been the case since 2014 when the European Union passed a law that made it illegal to discriminate against an international bank account number (IBAN) from another EU country.

In practice, the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) law is rarely respected by companies and institutions in Spain.. 

Whether you try to sign up for home internet with Movistar or get your electricity up and running with Endesa, you’ll more than likely be told that it is not possible to pay the monthly bills from a non-Spanish account, let alone one that’s from a non-EU country. 

It’s referred to as IBAN discrimination, and it’s a problem that affects plenty of other European countries as well as Spain. 

If your IBAN doesn’t have an ES at the start, service providers will claim that it isn’t possible for the direct debit to be set up, leaving you little other choice than to open a Spanish bank account.

That can be a hard pill to swallow for non-resident second-home owners for example, who may not want to incur the usual hidden fees that come with opening a Spanish bank account, especially given that they’re not living full time in Spain. 

READ MORE: How to open a bank account in Spain if you're not a resident

A number of neobanks such as N26, Revolut, Starling Bank, Klarna, Raisin and Wise have raised the alarm about this unjustified discrimination, setting up a platform called in the process.


But nothing has really been done about it at a Spanish government level, with the only change being that people can now pay their Spanish taxes from a non-Spanish account.

Revolut and N26 now offer Spanish IBANs, which could be the solution for some.  

Other fintech companies that operate in Spain and thus offer Spanish IBANs are Bunq, Nickel, Vivid, Rebellion, Wise and Bnext.

For non-residents Britons in Spain, it may be advisable to get in touch with Starling Bank or Monese as they offer a euro account, although that doesn’t mean you won’t necessarily run into problems when it comes to paying Spanish utility bills from it. 

As always, check what extra fees (if any) are attached to these international transactions. 

If you have no success overall, the best if not only option is to set up a Spanish bank account. 



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also