Barcelona Financial Guide: Using Your Money Wisely

Are you concerned about financial options on your upcoming trip to Barcelona? It doesn’t have to be difficult … here’s a handy little guide.

Barcelona Financial Guide: Using Your Money Wisely


There are many banks in Barcelona that can help you with currency exchanges, withdrawals, and replacing lost traveller’s cheques. Some recommended banks you should use are:

  • BBVA
    – The second largest bank in Spain, you won’t find ATM machines quite as abundant as La Caixa, but they are highly recommended as a financial institution.
  • Caixa Catalunya
    – A popular banking institution among locals and tourists and ATM machines are fairly easy to find.
  • La Caixa
    – You can find a La Caixa ATM machine practically anywhere and happen to be the third largest bank in Spain.


If you can’t make it to a bank by the time they close for the day, there are foreign exchange offices that stay open later, but expect higher rates. The foreign exchange office can cash or replace lost traveller’s cheques and give cash advances on credit cards. Make sure the funding company you are using is applicable to the foreign exchange office … AMEX is a popular and reliable source.


It’s a good idea to find out ahead of time what kinds of taxes are applicable. In Barcelona, the VAT tax (IVA) on restaurants and accommodations is 7%. On retail, the tax is 16%. If you are purchasing from a duty-free shop in the airport, the IVA is void.
Non-European can catch a tax refund on purchases costing more than €90.15, provided the items are removed from Europe within three months of purchase. You will need a refund form from the shop, which will identify the purchases and amount of tax for each. When you show the form upon arriving at the customs check-in before leaving, the official will stamp it so you can claim your refund. Do this before checking in your baggage, as that, your passport, and boarding pass will be required as proof that you are leaving the country.

Credit cards

If you plan to use a credit card, make sure you are using a major crediting company like Visa or MasterCard. Your President’s Choice or department store credit card likely won’t be accepted in a foreign country. You can use your major credit card to pay for accommodations, restaurants, and shopping, but keep in mind that many markets may still be on a cash-only policy.
Keep phone numbers for each of your credit agencies somewhere they won’t get lost or stolen – preferably somewhere other than with your credit cards … you will need these in a hurry if you notice your credit card has gone missing.

Traveller’s Cheques

It’s handy to always carry traveller’s cheques when travelling. These can be converted into the currency used in the area you are visiting, and are replaceable if lost or stolen. Unlike a credit card, there is no concern about security if someone happens to get their hands on them. You can get these insured cheques at your bank before you set out on your trip, or talk to your travel consultant for more information.

Customs and Tax Refund

When you’re ready to claim your tax refund, you’ll need to bring it to one of the bank branches in Barcelona Airport. These can be found in Terminal A, main floor. If you prefer, you can mail the form and have your refund placed onto your credit card.

Book your trip to Barcelona today!