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If you have an Italian bank account read on!

Published: 22/01/2020 By The Abode Team

As we are in the age of internet banking and ATMs the chances are you haven’t seen the need to pop into your Italian bank, the bank where your account was actually opened, for quite some time now. Why would you? You only use the account to cover utility bills and they are paid by direct debit, you keep the account topped up for that very reason so what earthly reason would there be for you to visit when there is glorious sunshine outside and chilled prosecco to be consumed.

Take our advice and make the time especially if you have had your passport renewed recently. Why? If the bank only have a copy of your old passport, the one which has run out, the one where you definately look ten years younger and have plenty of hair and not so many wrinkles, then you really need to pop in and present them with a copy of the new one and potentially sign a plethora of mysterious forms concerning privacy, anti-money laundering and possibly a five year subscription to ‘Italian Bank Teller Monthly’.

The combination of an invalid passport and missing/unsigned documentation could mean that your account gets blocked. Blocked as in nothing in and nothing out. This means that at some point the direct debits, the ones for your electricity, gas, water, internet, phone and whatever else you may have, will not get paid and will eventually be cut-off/disconnected.

So, picture this if you will. It’s August, it’s a quarter to three in the afternoon, it’s 43 degrees, you waited two hours at the airport to pick up your rental car, the children are kicking off and hungry, you are all grumpy and tired because you had to get up at half past three this morning. All you want to do is unlock the door, dump your bags, kick off your Birkenstocks (other brands are available) and collapse in a lounger with a cold drink of some sort. And perhaps a few nibbles. At first you don’t notice that the kitchen is deathly quiet and it’s only when you open the silent fridge to reveal total darkness and enough mould to make your own batch of penicillin that you realise there is no electricity. You check the circuit breaker (it seems ok; all the switches are up). You even make a rare visit to the exterior electricity box located in that little niche in the wall of the house (once you remembered where it actually was and after you spent 20 minutes looking for the key to open it) plus you disturbed a swarm of very unfriendly wasps who have moved into the box and built a small apartment block. Can you find the number of the electricity supplier or even remember the name of the electricity supplier? Of course you can’t ‘cos it’s on the invoice which you a) can’t find b) don’t have because the invoices are sent to you via email and you bin them anyway because the bills are paid by the bank………….aaaha! If you actually had any electricity this could well be a lightbulb moment.

Eventually, probably with some friendly assistance, you ascertain that your electricity bill hasn’t been paid since March. Why? You just know you had enough funds in the account…….what’s gone wrong?

Get the picture?

SO, the next time you are here set aside a morning to visit your bank taking with you;

Your passport
A copy of your codice fiscale (tax code). (NB: It’s not enough to just have the number written on a scrap of paper or in the memo section of your smartphone, you need a copy of the actual document. If you don’t have one handy you can go to your local tax office (the agenzia delle entrate) and obtain a copy very easily. Check their opening times before you go!

Whilst at the bank check that they have your correct postal address, phone number and email address – the ones they have could be out of date which may be why they didn't contact you and ask for you to visit them passport and CF in hand.

You may also need to provide the bank with your national insurance number or similar.

If you have a joint bank account you both need to go armed with all of the above.

Once that's done you deserve a coffee and a sticky pastry (with whipped cream if i were you) at your favourite bar.

Good luck!