Bank Charges

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18 Oct 2011 00:00 by amatista Star rating. 440 posts Send private message


I have had an account with the Santander in Spain for six years. I pay my mortgage through them, and up until two days ago I never had to pay any bank charges. Then, as if by magic €86 was deducted from my account, which actually left me short on the mortgage payment for this month. There was no explanation for this apart from, liquidacion or settlement, in English.

I went into the bank in Fuengirola to ask for an explanation, and helpful girl told me I should check at my bank in Calypso, as that was my branch. I asked if she could e mail them, to which she replied: yes, but they may not answer .... great .. nothing new there then. I went to Calypso, where another bank assistant, who incidentally was very nice, but told me the alarming news that the charge was for maintenance and administration of my account. I told her I had never paid previously as i have a mortgage with them, so I was informed that all finished in June, 2011, and now, unless you have a pension paid in, your salary paid in, mortgage paid in or have a balance at the end of each month of at least €500, you will be subject to bank charges. (2 of these things you must have each month).

As I no longer have a salary and have to rely on money being paid in from my family´s account in UK, although I pay my mortgage which is with them, I no longer qualify for free banking. As if this wasn´t bad enough, the 86 euro charge is for just 6 months. So in other words, in a time of continuing struggle in Spain, I also now have to find 170 euros per year for the pleasure of having a bank account.

Is this legal??? I didn´t even receive a letter telling me they would take this out, and if i had not checked my account online, and it had gone another three days overdrawn (because they deducted the unexpected amount of 86 euros) they would have also charged me 30 euros for being overdrawn.

Disgusting behaviour by one of the biggest banks in Europe .. your views would be very much appreciated.



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18 Oct 2011 22:38 by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 A lot of the Spanish banks are charging for just about everything now.  We have just moved from Bankinter to La Caja to avoid charges, and I would suggest you look around too.  Barclays in Spain is pretty good at the moment, though the best account needs you to pay in 900euros each month.  I don't know how you would organise it if you have  a mortgage with them, but I an pretty sure that they only have to make an announcement in the press (just like in the UK) rather than write to customers.  Be prepared to change your account is the only answer I am afraid.



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18 Oct 2011 22:42 by Sanchez1 Star rating. 852 posts Send private message

We had the same problem with Santander.  We had a commission free account.  All we had to do was pay in 600 euros per month, which we did.  Everything was fine for the first 18 months, then we started being charged for all sorts of things.  Each time, we'd call our branch and get the charges refunded eventually.  In the end, we had enough and my wife and I both closed our accounts down.  We stick to Barclays now.  Absolutely zero charges and no minimum amount to pay in.


Read my blog: Spain Money Saving Tips and Offers 

Use TransferWise to send money abroad. A lot cheaper than the bank and other online currency exchanges!.



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18 Oct 2011 23:55 by Patty_1 Star rating in Hertfordshire. UK. .... 1063 posts Send private message

Yes have to say since we changed to Barclays there has been no charges at all.  In fact even getting interest abeit it 4 euros a month but better than charges.

But this could change the way everything is going but will stick with them for now, till the changes start coming.  I may be looking on the black side of things we will see.

But yes think you need to change banks, you never know they might be willing to drop charges if you tell them what you are doing.Good Luck with it all anyway.




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19 Oct 2011 11:43 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 4869 posts Send private message

I believe, like in UK, the local manager can waive charges.  I have in the past told bmy Spanish bank that I was going to move my account, they refunded the charges and did not charge again. I have also arranged that when funds were coming into my account they would not charge to receive them (which is usual in Spain).
The problem with changing banks is of course Direct Debits / Standing Orders etc. However, on two occasions that I changed banks I  asked for a list of those payments from my current bank, gave it to the new bank, and they made  the arrangements to change them over.
While on Banks:    Just a point of warning.
I had a sterling deposit account with Sol Bank at a very good rate fixed for a year. After the year the rate fell substantially.   Knowing that Spanish  banks make high charges for transfers I asked what the cheapest way would be to move the money. They said it did not matter how I did it, or where I sent it to (or got it by cheque over the counter)  the charge was 0.4% on the whole sum ( on £100,000 that is £400)


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19 Oct 2011 13:43 by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

Yes, the direct debits are a pain, but if you take or give the new bank bills from the utilities, they will change them on the spot.  We just run our Bankinter account down and then closed it.  Also, we were told to run two banks at once for a couple of months just to check that everything was coming off properly.  I think that in the present day, you just have to grit your teeth and be prepared to move.



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19 Oct 2011 13:50 by Patty_1 Star rating in Hertfordshire. UK. .... 1063 posts Send private message

Yes Brian, that is what we did ran the two accounts just in case direct debits did not get paid. But Barclays were very good and took them all over. Including the suma.  Then we closed our account with the Bank of Valencia.  All been running smoothly for 2 years now, but I do not like to tempt fate.




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19 Oct 2011 15:26 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 4869 posts Send private message

Re my post where I mentioned Sol Bank.

I had a private messsage and have realised the percentage I showed was not correct.  It was not 0.4% but 0.6%.  So I should have said, " the charge was 0.6% on the whole sum ( on £100,000 that is £600 ) "

This a paragraph from an email I sent to the Magager of Customer Services at Sol Bank:-


The investment rate now is very low so I decided to move the funds elsewhere.  The attitude of the bank staff was hostile.  I was accused of taking advantage of the bank as they had made hardly anything on my funds and I had to pay 0.6% fee on every pound of the capital I transfer, even to a sterling account in a bank within Spain.  That came to £881 on an investment of £144,000.  They may not have made much on my cash, through their imprudence, when they had it but if they could get every customer to transfer their funds,  now that would be a nice little earner !


They have not made any apology nor any refund.




This message was last edited by johnzx on 19/10/2011.


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19 Oct 2011 15:37 by amatista Star rating. 440 posts Send private message

They have probably not replied either have they?

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