Traveling to Spain: A Guide to Money, Payments, and Transfers
With sun-soaked beaches, vibrant culture, and yearlong fiestas, Spain may be a partygoer’s dream destination but it is also a top choice for living, working, or studying.
If Spain is on your radar these days, here are some tips that will help you spend, make payments, or transfer money smoothly and worry-free.
What currencies can I use in Spain?
Spain is one of 20 countries that use the Euro as their national currency. If you’re traveling here from overseas or from a European country that uses a different currency, you’ll need to exchange your currency for EUR before being able to spend in Spain.
You can easily find exchange offices in Spain or withdraw euros from your local currency card, though it won’t be cheap. To avoid paying a hefty exchange rate on top of a withdrawal fee, we recommend moving money to a EUR card, if you have one, or bringing cash with you.
Can I pay by card everywhere?
Essentially, yes. You can pay by card virtually anywhere in Spain - from large cities like Madrid or Barcelona, to remote villages on the coast.
Some places though (like tobacco shops or bus recharge spots) do not accept card payments for very small transactions (under €10) so it is advisable to carry some cash around.
Beware that some merchants offer the option to charge your card in your domestic currency instead of euros at the point of sale. This option might draw additional fees and you aren’t able to check the exchange rate in real-time, so choose to pay in Euros to avoid extra charges.
What’s the best way to spend in Spain?
Both Visa and Mastercard cards are widely accepted in Spain, from online shops to malls or grocery stores.
When not using cash, more and more Spaniards prefer to use credit cards or pay using a digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay. In large cities, you’ll frequently see people pay using their smartphone or smartwatch.
Since only EUR is accepted for cash payments, make sure you have it on hand and beware that ATMs may practice higher fees for withdrawals in a foreign currency.
How can I transfer or receive money while in Spain?
To transfer or receive money from abroad in Spain, you can make an international bank transfer, use an online money transfer service, or use a remittance service with cash pick-up. Since they can be costly, slow, and may not offer much variety when it comes to currency, make sure to do proper research to choose the best method for your needs.
In recent years, Bizum (with over 20 million users.) has become the most popular way to make purchases and transfers between individuals locally in Spain.
Whether you’re buying a second hand item, splitting a bill, paying for a class, or purchasing something in a small boutique, you’ll often have the possibility to pay through Bizum.
The app was created by Spanish banks to facilitate small payments and replace the use of cash, but it is only available to account and card holders of Spanish banks(and a few other banks such as N26).
If you don’t have an account with a Spanish bank, you can use Fin.do to send money from and to any card, anywhere across 150+ countries. You can also send a wider variety of currency except euros.
You can also use Fin.do if you need to get paid from abroad to make sure you receive your pay instantly and in the currency of your choice.
Tipping in Spain
Gathering around at a bar or restaurant is a favorite activity in Spain. You’ll often see groups of friends, families, or colleagues enjoying a drink and snacks late into the evening.
Tipping, however, is not as common or expected as in other countries. It is a nice gesture to leave a small tip (especially in more tourist-heavy places like Barcelona), but definitely not mandatory.
We hope this quick guide to payments and money transfers in Spain was helpful. Enjoy your stay! 🇪🇸