The currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), currently shared by 17 nations of the European Union. Interest rates are set by the European Central Bank, based in Frankfurt, and as of September 2011, interest rate is 1.5%. Banks are allowed to offer preferential rates to new and existing customers, though these will usually end after a set time period.

Banks in Spain are usually open from 8.30 to between 13.30 and 14.30, Mondays to Fridays, closing slightly earlier on Saturdays (though during summer months, some banks do not open all weekend) and never opening on Sundays or public holidays.

There are two main types of account in Spain: Savings and Current. Current is the standard cheque account, requiring a regular deposit of money (your salary or student loan) to remain functional. Savings account is self-explanatory.

Spanish banks will tend to levy charges for most account functions, including opening the account itself, setting up standing orders and fund transfers. It is important that you obtain a list of these charges prior to opening an account and that you compare these charges with other banks, so you get the best deal.

Many transactions are completed through bank transfers and a large portion of these being carried out online. Cheques are NOT normal in Spain. Travellers cheques are also not common. Virtually all banks in Spain will not convert travellers cheques to euros and the very few that do charge additional fees and generally offer substantially lower exchange rates. Cash is still King and many transactions are still carried out in cash. For example, if you are renting an apartment the deposit and first month's rent are often paid in cash.

To send money to Spain you will need the IBAN number and BIC/SWIFT number of the bank you will send the money to. However, for foreign exchanges (Sterling/Euro, Dollar/Euro etc),  banks are often not the best way to send money to Spain. For better rates use a Currency Broker. It is easy to set up an account and the rates are often very much better than the banks.