I have a bank account. In Italy.
I am happy and excited, because it was a weird process. I feel kind of cool, too. I mean, like, a bank account in a foreign country? Apart from the less-than-ideal flagging of myself to the IRS, I’m walking with a bit of swagger. Italian swagger that is.
Another step in becoming a part of this community and country.
I wouldn’t have opened an Italian bank account, but I needed to in order to have broadband internet at home. Apparently, they only let you pay for it with an Italian bank account.
Opening the account was touch-and-go for a while. I’m actually amazed it all went through. The bank wasn’t really prepared to make it happen. It’s possible I’m the first non-citizen the manager of this branch had ever helped open an account.
But, after two days of working and waiting – complete with multiple visits to the bank – we finally got it working. At least I got my steps in those days.
For starters, no one at the bank speaks much English, if any. Even armed with Google translate it was an uphill task. But, I figured I was in professional hands and I wasn’t at too much risk. At one point the banker called his wife, who’s an English teacher, to have her translate for me, which wasn’t really clear either because hearing an Italian speak rapid-fire English isn’t much clearer than if she’d been speaking Italian.
I’m getting better at just nodding my head – in a knowing way, smiling, and saying “Si. Si. Si.” Of course, I have no idea, but that doesn’t matter. I learned that when I say non capisco (“I don’t understand”), the Italians just keep repeating themselves and don’t skip a beat, and not a bit slower.
I read about other expats having similar experiences… it’s not just me.
So, I happily signed my name to about 48 Italian bank documents. I mean, it’s just a bank account, isn’t it?
Finished at last!
The banker and I both exhaled loudly once it all went through.
Then, he said in his limited English “your request was very strong for me.”
The bank account has fees, of course. So for our WiFi and SIM cards (totally about $50 a month), I’ll incur an additional ~$10 per month in bank fees. Which is great… sixty dollars for broadband and three mobile device accounts is way less than we ever paid in the U.S.
I wouldn’t have opened one but I needed to in order to have WiFi at home. Apparently, I could only pay for it if I had an Italian bank account. So for the monthly bill of WiFi and SIM cards (totaling about $50 a month), I’ll incur about $10 a month in bank fees on top of it.
But. I’m in Italy.
Living La-friggin’-dolce-vita. I’ve got zero complaints.