paying bills from the UK

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23 Apr 2011 00:00 by alysonwenham Star rating in blackpool, england. 83 posts Send private message

We are about to move from builders' supply for our utilities.  I have a bank account with CAM and visit Spain 3 times a year for holidays.  Does anyone know if it is possible to set up a monthly direct debit to cover water and electricity bills, like we do in the UK.  I am concerned that bills will just sit ther and not get paid and we will get cut-off.  I'm just wondering how other people pay for their utilities and Suma bills.



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23 Apr 2011 15:52 by Jimbofinn Star rating in Calasparra. 190 posts Send private message

Jimbofinn´s avatar

I don't think that you can actually set for for a monthly sum to go out from your account, but you certainly can for the actual amount of water/electricity etc., used.  I think the best option is to visit each of the util companies and give them your bank details and the other obvious details (house details) and they will take what is due each month.  For your IBI/basura, again visit your local tax office and give them your bank details & they'll do the rest.  I believe it is possible to pay your IBI over a 3 month period - again a visit to your local tax office should provide you with the info you require.  Just ensure that you have enough money in the account because they most certainly will cut you off if payments are not made!  We used to keep about 500 euros in our account and just monitor what goes out.  Once you are registered with your suppliers  (ours are Iberdrola and aqualia) you can register online with them and keep an eye on things from there.

Hope this helps a little


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23 Apr 2011 16:37 by manorpark Star rating. 165 posts Send private message

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We are with Cambank and all are bills are paid by direct debit. As said previously , if there is no money in your account the bills will not be paid and you will be cut off. We have fallen foul of this when transferring money into our account from the UK and it hasn't reached the account in time .Cam are not the most helpful or efficient bank though and we are in the process of opening an account with Deutschebank just to pay our bills. Cam are unable to supply us with the simplest of information and ignore correspondence which can be very frustrating.

Good luck !

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23 Apr 2011 18:30 by marcbernard Star rating in Marina Alta; Alicant.... 239 posts Send private message

Some little time ago I recall seeing a piece from LloydsTSB that they (if not other banks as well) will be shortly adding a service which enables a customer to make ddms to EU companies, using the bank's FX rate of the day. Unfortunately I cannot find the source at present but it may be worth your asking (your) bank in UK if this service is yet up and running.

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24 Apr 2011 10:32 by johnnie1uk Star rating. 99 posts Send private message

But you must consider you would be paying a really bad exchange rate to use this system. bank rates are sometimes up to 6 cents less than the mid rate !

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24 Apr 2011 11:53 by alysonwenham Star rating in blackpool, england. 83 posts Send private message

I'm a Lloydstsb customer, and that service is for people with business accounts.  The only way that I could pay a bill would be to pay £20 per transaction.  They have offered me a Spanish account but the charges were very high and we are in Hondon, so no branch anywhere near.  The CAm that is there is very good and the manager speaks very good English and understand the British banking system, so is able to explain things to us.  Thanks to everyone for their response.  Sounds like the bast way is to visit the providers and give them the bank details and keep an eye on everything through the internet.



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25 Apr 2011 06:37 by EOS Team Star rating in In Spain of course!. 4017 posts Send private message

EOS Team´s avatar

 Direct Debits don't really work like they do in the UK, whereby you actually sign a DD agreement.

In Spain you just give out your account number and they then help themselves to your money whenever they want .

In theory, just about anyone with your account number can take money from your account, which is a scary prospect....and the reason why I check my account daily.  Remember that you normally have a couple of weeks to reverse any transaction on your account should you want to dispute anything.



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26 Apr 2011 22:06 by John 777 Star rating in West Midlands. 109 posts Send private message

re International direct debits, most of the larger UK Banks are already able to receive direct debit claims from other Euro Countries. It is though not currently widely used and will depend on the service provider wanting to be able to make cross border direct debit claims. I somehow think it may be a long time before the Spanish untilities feel the need to have to offer this option.

Alyson, I think you may be confusing standard International transfers with direct debits. Direct debits are when the service provider actually debits your account direct, rather than you instructing your bank  to send the money, as would be the case with a standard transfer (same as a standing order).


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28 Jan 2013 10:22 by juliet22 Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

Hi, I live in the UK but have a property in Spain near Vera, Almeria.  I am having a nightmare trying to pay my utility bills. I have a bank account with BBVA in Vera and had my Endesa and Telefonica bills set up as direct debits from this account.

A month ago, BBVA froze my bank account without telling me, and say to unblock it they need a "certificate of negative residency" which I have to get from the Ministry of the Interior. I pointed out that I live in the UK and work full time so can't go and do this, but they insisted. About a week ago, BBVA in Madrid sent me their 2 yearly letter and form asking me to sign to confirm I am a UK resident. I have had this every 2 years, in line with the Spanish law that requires you to prove non-residency. There is no address or contact detail on the letter at all, so you can't enquire about it, and you don't know if they receive your form, which goes back in a pre-paid envelope. I told the branch I was pretty sure that they didn't need any other certificate than this one, which BBVA sends out to all non Spanish account holders, but I still dont know if they will unblock the account. 

Meanwhile, I can't pay Endesa, or Telefonica, and risk these services being cut off. I tried to call Endesa, but they don't provide a number to call from the UK. I tried to pay online. I can't seem to set up as an online user, because their system doesn't accept UK details like my phone number, so I tried to pay through a one off payment or "Pagos on-line". There are 2 options for this, but if you are set up to pay by direct debit, your bill doesn't include the bar code that you need for one option, and the other option requests a Codigo CPR or Emisura, which I can't find on the bill.

I have tried to set up another Spanish bank account in the hope that a UK linked company would be better, but it is almost impossible to do this quickly from the UK - e.g. Barclays have an email form that is pretty impenetrable and you can't ge through to any offices to talk to anyone. Is there any way round this e.g.
- Is there any way to contact Endesa from the UK?

-Does anyone know if you can set up a bank account easily from the UK which will be suitable for paying Spanish utility bills by direct debit?


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28 Jan 2013 20:35 by Jarvi Star rating in Halifax UK. 499 posts Send private message

Try this link to endesa

you may be able to pay by credit card

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28 Jan 2013 22:17 by baz1946 Star rating. 1918 posts Send private message

I had a house in Spain up to Nov 2012 and have always used Halifax in Spain to pay my service bills, never a problem. and sent money over to Spain from my Halifax account here in the UK, i still have the account in Spain ready for the next house purchase.

When i set the account up about 9/10 years ago i went into my local Halifax office to ask about it, they gave me a free phone number to Spain which i phoned from their office on their phone, set the account up so easy, dealing with them in Spain and the UK has always been 1st class...( wait for it...someone will have had trouble with them for sure)...Halifax in Spain is now called  LLOYDS BANK  INTERNATIONAL speak English, so helpful, i wont change banks because i walk in with any thing to ask or to do and it's done, with no problem at all.

I got a water bill for 55€ a year later..yes one full year later..phoned them and paid over the phone with a credit card.

A phone number for further information about products and services is 902 024 365 or +34 91 484 81 81

Hope something i said helps you.

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28 Jan 2013 22:25 by juliet22 Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

 Thanks baz,. this sounds really helpful and thanks Jarvi for the Endesa link, too, which Ill try.

Ill try Lloyds Bank International - I have tried so many British banks and most of them are completely uninterested in setting up a Spanish bank account. Even Santander which bought Abbey, told me they had just made their whole Spanish team redundant. I tried Barclays, who just passed me a (wrong) number for their office in Alicante, I also tried some Spanish banks like Openbank that do online accounts, but they won't take passport, only DNI information.

You've provided a Spanish phone number - so I guess you're suggesting I go straight to Lloyds in Spain rather than going into a UK Lloyds branch. Do you think they can set up a bank account for me remotely? Of course, I don't have a Lloyds account in the UK, my bank is HSBC who don't offer anything of this kind and have no Spanish network.



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28 Jan 2013 22:28 by juliet22 Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

 But by the way Jarvi, re Endesa, I think this is the way I already tried to pay - I spent some time on Endesa's site. The Spanish numbers I tried before don't work from the UK and the online paying system won't accept my details, e.g. it requires a Spanish phone number, not a UK one. I don't know why they don't provide a number for their many UK clients to call from the UK.


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28 Jan 2013 22:38 by baz1946 Star rating. 1918 posts Send private message

When i set up the Spanish account in the the first instance it was done through my local Halifax in the UK and it was a small sub office in an estate agents, i still use the Halifax here now, and like as in Spain wont change them.

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29 Jan 2013 08:35 by juliet22 Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

 OK many thanks, I will call Lloyds here and ask - though things may have changed now it's not the Halifax. I actually managed to get BBVA to unblock my account this morning, after 2 weeks of trying, but I am pretty fed up with them after all this so will definitely try to find an alternative. Thanks again for the tip.

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29 Jan 2013 09:17 by tamaraessex Star rating in Colmenar, Malaga. 508 posts Send private message

tamaraessex´s avatar
Taking a completely different approach, in case sorting out banks and Endesa proves a mountain too high (hahaha!) ..... as you don't visit often, do you let friends use it? Or do you have some friendly neighbours? If there is somebody going in, say once a month, just to air it, water the plants, and empty the letterbox, then could they fish out the bills (it's always pretty obvious which the bills are) and they could pay them at their bank, and you could give them €150 at the start of the year, and then top them up whenever you are there.

Always worth having a helpful Spanish neighbour who has the keys, for a thousand reasons (to check all is OK after a storm, reset the electric trip-switch after a power-cut so your freezer food doesn't melt, and now perhaps to pay the bills?).

Just a thought ....


 Blog about settling into a village house in the Axarquía.

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29 Jan 2013 10:12 by juliet22 Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

 Hi there - it's rented, in fact, via an agency - but the bills are my responsibility alas - they get sent to me in the UK which is better, really - the agency is unwilling to take on the bills, besides which, it is a nightmare trying to change over the bill from my name

I do of course have neighbours, but the house is in a hamlet of about 15 houses up in the sierra, so we are talking Spanish farmers!

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29 Jan 2013 10:40 by tamaraessex Star rating in Colmenar, Malaga. 508 posts Send private message

tamaraessex´s avatar
Just for clarity, of course the bills need to be in your name and reference the correct property, but they can be sent anywhere (as you know as they are currently coming to you in the UK), so they could be sent to the agent, who could pay very easily and simply add the amounts to the bill. OK you say they don't want to, but maybe they would do it for a small charge?

But no, by far the easiest is to have it taken straight from your account. Telefonica and other bills normally do that - I didn't want Endesa to do it as their "estimates" are so stupid! I want two full years of accurate bills, paid under my control, before I'll let them do their silly estimates. And hopefully they are stopping that system anyway. I know too many people who are virtually banking with Endesa, as the company takes far too much and then won't give it back. So I've kept control of that one and pay it each month, and my Spanish neighbour collects it if I'm not there and pays it, and I give her the money when I'm back. She knows it's arrived as it comes when hers does!


 Blog about settling into a village house in the Axarquía.

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29 Jan 2013 14:06 by bobaol Star rating. 2262 posts Send private message

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Could you not set the direct debit up from your UK bank? I don't know about Endesa but Iberdrola does.
Paying bills monthly means you get a fairly high estimated bill as they only read the meters every 2 months. We had a letter from Iberdrola and now get a bill every 2 months which has got rid of the old, high, estimated bill. You can (again Iberdrola and don't know about Endesa) pay the bill monthly if you wish and even take out a fixed payment.

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29 Jan 2013 15:35 by juliet22 Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

 I always had the impression Endesa wouldn't accept a UK bank - maybe they do. But I can't get through to them to ask! I am going to try the numbers that jarvi sent below as maybe one of those works, but the number on my bill can't be dialled from the UK. Even if I get through, it's always a challenge communicating. I speak quite good Spanish but they always speak very fast, using as many technical terms as possible, so I often struggle - and the English speakers usually speak worse English than my Spanish.

It's right what you and Tamara say about monthly bills - they are unbelievably high - and vague.  Overall, dealing with Endesa is not easy..

Great tip from baz though - I sent an email to Lloyds International and got a response immediately, with a number to call in the Isle of Man. I will try it and post the outcome.

Meanwhile, if anybody has managed to find an easy way to talk to Endesa, please let me know. They have all my contact details wrong, including the spelling of my name, and my passport (which has changed) so I would really like to talk to a helpful person!



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