Bank Charges

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05 Feb 2021 18:19 by jinxy Star rating. 70 posts Send private message

Unicaja have just announced that their annual charge for having a current account and a debit card will be120 euros. Are there any banks or building societies in Spain with lower charges? 

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05 Feb 2021 18:37 by marcbernard Star rating in Marina Alta; Alicant.... 253 posts Send private message

Probably, but I know only 1 which offers freedom of charges or other restrictions, and that is BBVA on line account. Google it and take a view.

I am assuming you are a resident of Spain, else perhaps not suitable?

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05 Feb 2021 22:04 by TFiLondon Star rating in East Sussex. 18 posts Send private message

I can add, that as a non-resident I have just been advised that very soon my account with La Caixa will look to charge 35 euro pm plus usual commissions for operating the account.

I would be interested to change at some point as I don't use the account much, other than funding it to pay a few bills, which they take a commission and will continue to do so.

I would prefer a Spanish bank with a physical presence in Malaga or Cadiz.

Failing that, an online bank that works both with a smartphone and online with a PC.


PS. I would add for the 35 euros pm they are including lots of frills that are of no interest to me.



This message was last edited by TFiLondon on 05/02/2021.

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05 Feb 2021 22:21 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 1126 posts Send private message

Are you sure it's a monthly fee of €35?

My neighbour with La Caixa has been complaining it's going up to €35 a quarter, not a month.


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05 Feb 2021 23:08 by TFiLondon Star rating in East Sussex. 18 posts Send private message

Hi Mariedav

Thank you for your reply, this prompted me to log back in to my account La Caixa account to double check.

You are correct, thank you, I missed read, and yes its per quarter in advance and not monthly as I missed read.

It's a lesser issue facing a 4 x 35 than a 12 x 35 charge.

Thank you for your response!

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06 Feb 2021 21:49 by MikeandHelen Star rating. 182 posts Send private message

Have a look at the thread Starling Bank Euro Account 

According to the UK's membership of the Single Euro Payments Area, the charges being made should be avoidable.

The Transferwise Accounts haave Belgium IBAN numbers..

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12 Feb 2021 16:51 by tteedd Star rating in Hertfordshire & Punt.... 978 posts Send private message

If you are old enough to have a state or private pension and want to pay it directly to a spanish bank, Sabadell do a charge free account.

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12 Feb 2021 18:06 by nicbax Star rating in Fuengirola. 196 posts Send private message

Hi tteedd, many thanks for that. I have pensions and dont pay sabadell any charges. However they are charging me €18.00 every time I have a transfer of funds from the uk to spain. Are you being  charged for transfers.

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12 Feb 2021 18:30 by MikeandHelen Star rating. 182 posts Send private message

Have a look at the thread "Starling Bank Euro Account"for an update, 

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13 Feb 2021 12:21 by tteedd Star rating in Hertfordshire & Punt.... 978 posts Send private message

Hi Nicbax

I make no transfers. My UK old age pension is paid directly into my account in Euros.

As I have not been to Spain due to Covid it will be a long time before I need to make a transfer.

Can't see the actual name of the account on my doc's but it is something like 'Cuenta Experiencia' I think.


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13 Feb 2021 16:09 by neatrees Star rating in Vera Playa. 65 posts Send private message

There is a online only bank called OpenBank (part of Santander). I do all my banking via an app on my phone or via my laptop. There are no charges. 

You get one free debit card with the account which we haved used not only in Spain but without charge in the rest of the EU euro areas to make payments.

You can use Santander ATMs for cash withdrawals free of charge.

We are happy with the service we have received, even goit some issues sorted via whatsapp in english.


This message was last edited by neatrees on 13/02/2021.

Regards Neil

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16 Feb 2021 03:31 by nicbax Star rating in Fuengirola. 196 posts Send private message

Hi Neatrees, many thanks for the info. I have had a look at the account and seems most interesting. Have you had any transfers .from the uk without any charges being applied  by OpenBank.

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16 Feb 2021 09:23 by neatrees Star rating in Vera Playa. 65 posts Send private message

Hi nicbax

We have not transferred money directly from the UK to Openbank, we have always done it via Revolut as we get a better exchange rate and no fees. (below the value of €6000.00 per month)

I can only assume that post brexit there will be fees for transfers from UK direct to Spain.


This message was last edited by neatrees on 16/02/2021.

Regards Neil

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17 Feb 2021 15:41 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9345 posts Send private message

Legal Questions? Speak to Maria Direct

These charges on transferences to Spain is because you aer not getting the SEPA benefits anymore as not being a member of the EU


Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA



El blog de Maria

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17 Feb 2021 15:45 by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 278 posts Send private message

juansheetisplenty´s avatar

Maria, the UK as I understand it remains a member of SEPA, If you click on the link within the article you quoted, the UK is still listed and does have IBAN numbers. It is the the Spanish banks who are applying this interpretation (unfairly in my opinion).

Attached link offers some insights in particular the comments

Un saludo


This message was last edited by juansheetisplenty on 17/02/2021.

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17 Feb 2021 15:56 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9345 posts Send private message

17 Feb 2021 16:32 by MikeandHelen Star rating. 182 posts Send private message

This is a thing called 'IBAN Discrimination'.

Starling bank has recently published this blog.  

There is also a website which is run by Transferwise, Revolut, raisin and n26 which says more about reporting.

IBAN descrimination is illegal under article 9 of the SEPA regulations, but the Spanish seem to be the best at it. They do also decriminate against other SEPA countries, that's why N26, a German bank, opened a Spanish branch to issue Spanish IBANs apparently.

There are Spanish businesses that insist on Spanish bank account payments only.

The problems with Direct Debits on UK SEPA accounts are to do with the need to supply the Billing Address to the Bank, which was not a requirement until 1/1/21 and despite the FCA warning in July neither banks like Starling nor Spanish companies geared up for the changes.



This message was last edited by MikeandHelen on 17/02/2021.

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18 Feb 2021 20:15 by jackt Star rating. 41 posts Send private message

Hi, I continue to research this question of bank charges. It would appear that spanish banks are going to do what they do best and that is to rip off their customers and especially expats.

Thus far I am minded to open a bank account with N26 and an account with Transferwise. Both provide debit cards, pay d/d and exchange currency which is paid to our spanish accounts via a TW spanish account so it becomes an internal transfer which does not attract a charge.

Some expats are having their uk bank accounts closed but state and private pensions and money transfers can be paid direct to N26 or TW. 

I would welcome any comment should the above be incorrect or any alternatives to my suggestions. nic


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19 Feb 2021 09:25 by neatrees Star rating in Vera Playa. 65 posts Send private message

jackt - Can I just point out that Spanish bank accounts are designed for Spanish people and not for British immigrants to Spain therefore to the Spanish people they are not rip off. I 

At one point when I was an immigrant to the UK, I thought the British bank accounts were not good compared to the country I came from.

If you meet certain conditions for various Spanish bank accounts then you will find they do not inccur charges but most British immigrants in Spain do not meet these conditions. We did our research like you have done and found Openbank to offer us the most functionality & variety of options (eg. investment tool, discounts on purchases, competitions etc)

If you read the N26 account conditions you will find that you can't do much with the free account (eg. limited atm withdrawals per month), check the comparison function on the their website of what the various accounts they offer in order to see just how little you get.


Regards Neil

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28 Feb 2021 10:43 by free_bee Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

The EPC list of Countries in the SEPA Schemes’ Geographical Scope (EPC409-09) states: "It is assumed that legislation adopted for the EEA (including Regulation (EU) No 260/2012) only fully and directly applies to payment transactions between institutions located within the EU and the EEA."

So, it could be argued that Article 9 of EU Regulation 260/2012, which deals with Payment Accessibility (ie IBAN discrimination), no longer applies to SEPA Direct Debit transactions involving a UK bank.

Also, the Criteria for Participation in the SEPA Schemes for communities of banks or financial institutions outside the European Economic Area (EEA) (EPC061-14) states: "The EPC recognises that a challenge to the level playing field principle arises where SEPA Scheme Participants in EU and EEA countries are eligible for waivers or other special benefits under European Directives or Regulations but which would be unavailable to Scheme Participants in non-EEA countries."

Unfortunately, that probably means that Spanish banks can get away with charging whatever they want for receiving transfers from UK bank accounts.


This message was last edited by free_bee on 28/02/2021.

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