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How to ..... ?

This blog is intended to be helpful to English-speaking foreign residents in Spain by explaining "How to ... " do certain things. "The Crazy Guy" has lived in Spain full time since 2008. A fluent Spanish-speaker he reckons he knows his way round the bureaucracy, the indifference and sometimes downright rudeness of "funcionarios".

HOW TO ..... RE-APPLY FOR ALL YOUR CARDS, when you lose your wallet or have it stolen.
Wednesday, May 25, 2022 @ 7:56 AM

This is one of the nightmares of modern life. Your wallet is gone, you may have lost a significant sum of money, but the worst is having to block your bank and credit cards, order new ones and replace all those other important documents, like your ID card, driving licence, health card(s), railcard, store cards, etc.

The Crazy Guy has lost his wallet or had it stolen three times in Spain in the last dozen years, the last time this very week. During the same period his wife has been pickpocketed on two occasions. Here’s their story.


Wallet gone - five times

The first time my wallet went missing I had apparently dropped it one Sunday morning 12 years ago in the pouring rain in or outside Libreria Dumas, the newsagents in Ronda (Málaga).

I returned to the shop immediately. There was no sign of it in or out. Bugger!

I drove straight to the comisaría de policía nacional. When I announced to the duty sergeant that I’d lost my wallet he asked my name and immediately informed me it had been handed to a beat bobby 10 minutes previously and he was on his way back to the station with it.

Five minutes later I had my wallet again, fully intact with cash present. A passerby had found it on the street outside the newsagents and handed it in straightaway. I was impressed with the honesty.

I had been lucky.



My wife’s first loss was in the La Cañada shopping centre in Marbella. We informed the security guards at the centre, reported the theft to the police online and my wife cancelled her bank cards.

Amazingly, a week later, we got a call – the wallet had been found in a bin – minus the cash of course. But at least she didn´t have to reapply for new documents.

She had been to some extent lucky.

Four years later it happened again, this time on the pedestrian shopping street, Calle La Bola, in Ronda. We went to the policía nacional to do the denuncia. While we were doing so my wife’s purse was brought in, minus the cash of course. It too had been found in a rubbish bin.

Lucky once again that she didn’t have to reapply for her cards and documents.




In 2020 my wallet was stolen in a bar in Montejaque (Málaga). The villagers were so outraged that they started their own private investigation and found the culprit, an 18 year old druggie. His father handed my wallet in to the local hotel. No cash left, of course.

I contacted the mother of the culprit and made it clear that if I did not get the cash back within two days I would do a denuncia to the guardia civil. I got the cash.

I had been fortunate that the village had rallied round and helped to solve the crime.

This week, however, my luck appears to have run out. My wallet went missing after a family party in Germany on Sunday. I spent Monday retracing my steps, but no sign of my wallet.

After a dozen phone calls that night and yesterday I’d cancelled everything and ordered new, with a couple of exceptions.


How to do it?

First priority was to check my bank accounts online. Phew! No suspicious activity. But I cancelled all my cards anyway and ordered new ones.

With my UK bank I was able to do that in a few seconds online. In theory that should have been possible with my two Spanish banks, but their apps decided not to play ball, so I rang their 24 hour emergency lines and dealt with it quite quickly.

Point to note: Don’t ring customer service. With CaixaBank I waited 25 minutes unanswered until I gave up and rang the 24 hour line. I was answered immediately. With BancSabadell it was just as quick.

With luck, my new cards will be waiting for me in my buzón when we get back.


A replacement driving licence is trickier. You have to pay the tasa of 20.81€ first. Tricky, nay impossible, when you are abroad. You can apparently pay online, but with no bank card ….. how?

My senior citizen’s card was tricky too; the website function was down and the free telephone number does not work from outside Spain. Oh, well, that’s not so urgent.

To order a replacement EHIC (tarjeta sanitaria europea) proved troublesome also. After 22 minutes waiting in a telephone queue listening to atrocious muzak, I eventually got to speak to somebody. We’ll see how quickly they manage to sort that out.

For my tarjeta sanitaria (Spanish Health Card) I rang my local health centre and ordered a replacement in seconds over the phone.

For my private health care card, it was similar. I rang them, they answered straightaway and my card is already in the post.

My replacement press card was dealt with quickly via email and I discovered that Amigos de Paradores no longer issue plastic cards. It’s all done online. At least my accumulated 288 points are intact.

That just leaves my store cards and loyalty cards. I’ll sort those out when I next visit Bauhaus, IKEA, Leroy Merlin, MAKRO, Springfield and the AVIA petrol station.


Final word of advice:


Like 0


DavidH said:
Saturday, April 22, 2023 @ 7:32 PM

Same for me. I arrived home and found my wallet was no longer in my jean's back pocket - distress! Took a few days to get the Spanish bank cards replaced, and the wallet. Then, 12 months later, my old wallet was handed in to a Marbella police station complete with the original cards but less the cash of course. So, don't walk around with a wallet in your open back pocket, it might fall out or get nicked. In any event it's unlikely you will see the cash again.

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