Finding reliable and trustworthy banking services is an important part of living and working abroad, and expats will find that, in most countries, a range of options are available. You may well wish to maintain a bank account at home, for paying bills and other activities, but you will probably also need a local bank account, in order to receive salary payments and handle your living expenses.In most countries, a range of options are available. It is even possible that your existing bank will have international facilities. Alternatively, you may wish to open an off-shore bank account. Different countries have different rules with regard to banking. In many, you will need a local bank account in order to acquire residence. In others, employers may only be able to pay you via a local account. This may also apply if you are self-employed.
Andorra is a popular destination for expats, and, as of 2020, more than half of its resident population were born outside the country. As a result, its banks are used to dealing with expats and new residents, so it is easy to find a suitable one. The financial sector is one of the three main industries (alongside tourism and retail) in the country.
Andorra is a member of the European Customs Union and signed a Monetary Agreement with the European Union in 2011. As a result, its banks comply with most EU regulations and fiscal legislation, and deposits made by personal customers are insured up to €100,000 via a central fund. Andorran banks additionally adhere to Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD) guidance on sustainability, transparency, responsibility and the prevention of money laundering.
Andorra is not a tax haven, and banks will, if required, disclose information about your accounts to the authorities in your home country. In recent years, one major bank was closed down due to a suspicion that they were enabling money laundering.
All the banking groups in Andorra are rated highly for solvency, and they maintain higher levels of capital than is legally required. Andorra adopted the Euro in 2013, but most international credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express, are recognised and accepted.
The official language of Andorra is Spanish. You will find that being able to speak at least some is helpful when seeking and using banking services. Andorra has five local banking providers. These are:
• Banc Sabadell d’Andorra
• Crèdit Andorrà
• Mora Banc
• Vall Banc
While all five offer personal banking, Morabanc and Crèdit Andorrà are full service banks. Crèdit Andorrà is the only one that offers banking facilities to temporary workers. Andbank, Banc Sabadell d’Andorra and Vall Banc are more focused on wealth management. While none of them offer services specifically aimed at expats, all of them are used to dealing with new residents.
A little advance research will help you decide which bank is most suited to your needs. For most types of accounts, apart from premium levels, fees are charged. These vary from bank to bank and account to account. You will find details of account types and fee structures on bank websites, which all have English language pages (as well as Spanish).
Andorra is not large, but there is at least one ATM or bank branch in every parish. Banking hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but there is some local variation, and some branches close for lunch between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Make sure you check the opening hours of the bank you are planning to visit before you go.
In Andorra, it is a condition of residence that you have a local bank account. The high number of resident expats means that the system for opening an account is streamlined and easy to use. To open a current account, you need to provide:
• Proof of identity (passport or government identity card)
• Proof of your current local address
• A reference letter from your existing bank
• Proof of income – this applies whether you are employed, self-employed, or retired
• Proof of the origins of your assets.
In all cases, original documents are preferred. If you have to provide copies, these must be notarised. You are advised to make an appointment in advance, particularly if you do not speak much Spanish.
At time of writing, no international banks have a presence in Andorra.
You may find the following websites useful: