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    • biggmick1
    • By biggmick1 7th Aug 19, 4:26 PM
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    biggmick1
    0 WOW
    Avoid or Reduce Bank Charges in Spain
    • #1
    • 7th Aug 19, 4:26 PM
    0 WOW
    Avoid or Reduce Bank Charges in Spain 7th Aug 19 at 4:26 PM
    As I travel to Spain a few times a year & was annoyed by rip off fees from British banks.
    I followed the advice on travel cards from MSE
    but in the last few years Spanish banks have increasingly started to charge fixed fees for ATM cash withdrawals (these are in addition to what your British bank may charge you). Here's what I found at different banks in Catalonia, Spain.

    Firstly the only fee free Spanish bank I found was
    Caixa Bank (pronounced Cai sha) (I seem to remember not being charged a fee at Kuxta bank but I'm not certain. Love to know if you've found others)

    Then the others that I tried in cost order
    Bankia Euro 1.75
    Sabadell Euro 1.80
    BBVA Euro 1.87
    Banco Popular Euro 5.00
    Santander Euro 5.00
    (copy & paste this list to your smartphone before you travel)

    Notably for British Santander account holders there is no charge from most Santander ATM machines in Spain (one exception I found was a stand alone Santander machine in a bus station which did charge even on a Santander card.
    To check if a machine is going to charge, use the machine as normal & it will advise you of the charge just before you press the final acceptance, which you can cancel without charge. Don't forget to press the "without conversion" button as the rate is very poor. (Also be nice if you can update people here of any changes you find or any other banks that aren't listed here.

    These charges were from Autumn/Winter 2018.
    Also remember MSE's advice to not accept the conversion offered by the machine this is almost always a bad deal.
    Don't forget as well, that if you are using a credit card to withdraw cash, most cards (even most special Travel cards) will charge interest from the day of withdrawal so make sure you pay it off A.S.A.P. Don't let this deter you from using theses cards though, as they can still offer good value if their APR is reasonable, costing about 1.5% if paid off in a month.
    Also worth noting MSE's research has shown that Mastercard exchange rates tend to be better than Visa card rates.

    My take on the best cards at the moment for ATM cash withdrawals

    Debit Cards ATM charges
    Starling Bank No fees in Europe or the rest of the world
    Metro Bank No fees in Europe 2.99% + £1.50 rest of world

    Credit Cards ATM charges
    Tandem No charges overseas (except interest) but does charge for ATM withdrawals in UK (£2.50min 2.5% plus interest till paid off) also give 0.5% cashback on purchases.
    If you also want to use in the UK, go for the Halifax Clarity card (no ATM fees in the UK, except interest but no Cashback on purchases)

    When I'm abroad I use my Metro bank (Mastercard) debit card for ATM withdrawals and use Google maps to find a Caixa Bank if there's one nearby.
    Then for purchases I use an Aqua (Mastercard) credit card, although I have no problem using the Metro Bank card if needed.
    These cards I use are not necessarily the best cards available now but they were when I applied a few years ago & are still good now.

    Happy, rip off free travelling.
    Don't forget to keep us updated if you find any changes & especially if you find other banks with no charges.

    Update Santander charging British customers for using some Spanish Santander ATM's
    It seems this arises because Santander bought out its rival Banco Popular a few years ago and although some of the branches have been rebranded as Santander, the machines are still working on the old system and will charge you, so take care if you're using an ATM you haven't used before.
    Last edited by biggmick1; 13-08-2019 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Update
Page 1
    • bagand96
    • By bagand96 10th Aug 19, 5:05 PM
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    bagand96
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 19, 5:05 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 19, 5:05 PM
    Nice post and nice to have some up to date information on this. Damn these European banks trying to ruin our fun getting the best value exchange rates!

    What I’ve found particularly frustrating is that in Spain it seems to vary from region to region. One bank in Madrid didn’t charge me for a withdrawal, a few weeks later the same bank in the Balearics did try to charge. I put it down to the Balearics being far more tourist heavy they were geared up to fleece people.
    • Neil49
    • By Neil49 11th Aug 19, 9:40 AM
    • 1,531 Posts
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    Neil49
    • #3
    • 11th Aug 19, 9:40 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Aug 19, 9:40 AM
    UniCaja don't charge for atm withdrawals either.

    They are easy to spot as they have bright green signage.
    • JohnMl88
    • By JohnMl88 11th Aug 19, 12:22 PM
    • 64 Posts
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    JohnMl88
    • #4
    • 11th Aug 19, 12:22 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Aug 19, 12:22 PM
    Nice post and nice to have some up to date information on this. Damn these European banks trying to ruin our fun getting the best value exchange rates!

    What I’ve found particularly frustrating is that in Spain it seems to vary from region to region. One bank in Madrid didn’t charge me for a withdrawal, a few weeks later the same bank in the Balearics did try to charge. I put it down to the Balearics being far more tourist heavy they were geared up to fleece people.
    Originally posted by bagand96
    Yes, Bankia in Granada is free however in Alicant isn’t free. Liberbank and Bank March are free everywhere
    • CEON44
    • By CEON44 11th Aug 19, 9:25 PM
    • 341 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    CEON44
    • #5
    • 11th Aug 19, 9:25 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Aug 19, 9:25 PM
    Debit Cards ATM charges
    Starling Bank No fees in Europe or the rest of the world
    Earlier in post you listed fees that certain banks charge. Does this mean that Starling dont charge fees at tthose listed banks? Just need to know as I go to Majorca in 3 weeks and have a Starling card. Dont want to get caught out
    I started out with nothing......And still have most of it left
    • worried jim
    • By worried jim 11th Aug 19, 9:37 PM
    • 10,827 Posts
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    worried jim
    • #6
    • 11th Aug 19, 9:37 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Aug 19, 9:37 PM
    Earlier in post you listed fees that certain banks charge. Does this mean that Starling dont charge fees at tthose listed banks? Just need to know as I go to Majorca in 3 weeks and have a Starling card. Dont want to get caught out
    Originally posted by CEON44
    Starling don't charge you a fee anywhere, it's the ATM owners charging the fee.
    "Only two things are infinite-the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the universe"
    Albert Einstein
    • CEON44
    • By CEON44 12th Aug 19, 8:50 AM
    • 341 Posts
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    CEON44
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 19, 8:50 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 19, 8:50 AM
    Starling don't charge you a fee anywhere, it's the ATM owners charging the fee.
    Originally posted by worried jim
    Right ok. Now I understand. So I need to avoid these banks ATM's if possible. Thanks
    I started out with nothing......And still have most of it left
    • skid112
    • By skid112 13th Aug 19, 12:08 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 293 Thanks
    skid112
    • #8
    • 13th Aug 19, 12:08 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Aug 19, 12:08 PM
    Cajamar charge for all but their own cards within Almeria region, not sure about outside
    Save 12k in 2019 #88 £55,838.89/£60,000
    • NoodleDoodleMan
    • By NoodleDoodleMan 16th Aug 19, 8:04 PM
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    NoodleDoodleMan
    • #9
    • 16th Aug 19, 8:04 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Aug 19, 8:04 PM
    Notably for British Santander account holders there is no charge from most Santander ATM machines in Spain
    As long as a minimum of £500 is credited to the UK Santander account monthly, otherwise the 5 Euro fee applies - and the no fee deal is only at Santander branded ATMs in Spain (including Balearics) and Canaries.

    As mentioned there can be issues taking cash from former Banco Popular machines since rebranded Santander.

    Metro Bank No fees in Europe 2.99% + £1.50 rest of world
    Without wishing to be pedantic, "Europe" in the geographic sense is not strictly accurate - it's actually SEPA (Single European Payments Area) where the Metrobank card is fee free.

    That includes some territories well outside of Europe.

    https://www.ecb.europa.eu/explainers/show-me/html/euro_outside_europe.en.html
    Last edited by NoodleDoodleMan; 16-08-2019 at 9:27 PM.
    • NoodleDoodleMan
    • By NoodleDoodleMan 17th Aug 19, 8:43 AM
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    NoodleDoodleMan
    Cajamar charge for all but their own cards within Almeria region, not sure about outside

    A Cajamar account will not be available to a British citizen resident in the UK though.
    • adindas
    • By adindas 17th Aug 19, 11:06 AM
    • 4,160 Posts
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    adindas
    Thanks very usefull summarising work. You might be one of the lucky one who spend most of the time in sunny Spain Costa Del Sol ??

    Notably for British Santander account holders there is no charge from most Santander ATM machines in Spain (one exception I found was a stand alone Santander machine in a bus station which did charge even on a Santander card.
    Originally posted by biggmick1
    It has been reported earlier here on MSE that the Santander ATM which charges fee in Spain is the one newly acquired by Santander. It might be because it has not been fully integrated into Santander systems. If you report it to Santander, you might get refund for this and might help them to investigate the things for the benefit of other people who will use it later.

    Unless the T&C has changed, it should not be any charge to use Santander Debit Card such as Santander 123, Santander 123 lite, Santander Zero, to withdraw cash "using Santander Cash machines in Spain". If my memory serves well, it is written in the T&C given that you keep paying the minimum amount required by the account and (2 DD?).
    • NoodleDoodleMan
    • By NoodleDoodleMan 17th Aug 19, 7:31 PM
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    NoodleDoodleMan
    Unless the T&C has changed, it should not be any charge to use Santander Debit Card such as Santander 123, Santander 123 lite, Santander Zero, to withdraw cash "using Santander Cash machines in Spain". If my memory serves well, it is written in the T&C given that you keep paying the minimum amount required by the account and (2 DD?).
    The basic Santander Everday current account has no requirement for direct debits - the key condition for fee free ATM use at Santander branded machines in Spain and Canaries is the need to have it funded with a minimum £500 monthly.

    It is the best Santander debit card account for Spain for this purpose.
    • skid112
    • By skid112 18th Aug 19, 12:45 PM
    • 346 Posts
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    skid112
    A Cajamar account will not be available to a British citizen resident in the UK though.
    Originally posted by NoodleDoodleMan
    Err I have one, I am British and resident here, but I was just pointing out their ATM's levy a charge for non Cajamar cards as that is what the thread is about
    Last edited by skid112; 18-08-2019 at 12:48 PM.
    Save 12k in 2019 #88 £55,838.89/£60,000
    • NoodleDoodleMan
    • By NoodleDoodleMan 18th Aug 19, 4:46 PM
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    NoodleDoodleMan
    Err I have one, I am British and resident here, but I was just pointing out their ATM's levy a charge for non Cajamar cards as that is what the thread is about
    I was always under the impression that Brits had to be resident in Spain to have a Spanish bank account.

    Apologies if that is not the case.

    I also understand that some (?) Spanish banks charge customers fees for having an account - fees that we don't have in the UK.
    Last edited by NoodleDoodleMan; 18-08-2019 at 4:53 PM.
    • biggmick1
    • By biggmick1 18th Aug 19, 9:24 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    biggmick1
    A Cajamar account will not be available to a British citizen resident in the UK though.
    Originally posted by NoodleDoodleMan
    Err I have one, I am British and resident here, but I was just pointing out their ATM's levy a charge for non Cajamar cards as that is what the thread is about
    Originally posted by skid112
    I was always under the impression that Brits had to be resident in Spain to have a Spanish bank account.

    Apologies if that is not the case.

    I also understand that some (?) Spanish banks charge customers fees for having an account - fees that we don't have in the UK.
    Originally posted by NoodleDoodleMan
    I Wonder Skid if you can give us a brief rundown of what you need to do to open a Spanish bank account.
    I assume you need an address in Spain or can you have an address outside Spain?
    What ID do you need?
    Is the process as tortuous as some other official processes in Spain?
    Are there charges for having an account?
    Are there transaction fees?
    • NoodleDoodleMan
    • By NoodleDoodleMan 19th Aug 19, 1:13 PM
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    NoodleDoodleMan
    https://www.terrameridiana.com/blog/491-bank-accounts-for-non-residents-of-spain.html
    • biggmick1
    • By biggmick1 19th Aug 19, 3:35 PM
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    biggmick1
    Thanks NoodleDoodle for the informative link on opening bank accounts in Spain.
    Here's a rundown of the main points.

    For non residents, who spend less than 6 months in Spain

    To open a non-resident account, you will need the following:

    A valid, current passport.
    A document that proves your address in Spain, utility bill.
    A document proving your employment status. A payslip, tax return or a government document showing you are unemployed, or receiving a state pension will suffice.
    The bank may require a ‘certificate of non residence’. They're available from Spanish police stations, or the bank will get it for you at a cost of around €15.

    Generally there are charges to maintain an account & for transactions.

    So only probably worth it if you have a home in Spain so you can transfer larger amounts of money to Spain or to pay bills.
    • NoodleDoodleMan
    • By NoodleDoodleMan 19th Aug 19, 4:38 PM
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    NoodleDoodleMan
    This is well over 2 years old - please note.

    https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/saving/article-4264612/Santander-offers-3-current-account-Spain.html
    • skid112
    • By skid112 21st Aug 19, 8:49 AM
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    skid112
    Apologies for the late reply.
    The recent replies are mainly correct, however, if you have a Spanish bank account as a non resident you are liable for tax, there isn't a free for all escape from the Spanish taxman. Whilst the money in the account will not be taxed at source be prepared for an annual inspection for any additional monies that go into the account. There is also non residents tax to be paid on any Spanish assets that are owned, such as property. As all utilities are taken from the bank account this is inescapable as its a prerequisite for buying a property.
    Santander have more information on non resident accounts here https://www.bancosantander.es/es/particulares/cuentas-corrientes/non-resident-bank-account-spain
    Cajamar here, https://www.cajamar.es/en/particulares/productos-y-servicios/ahorro-e-inversion/cuentas-a-la-vista/cuenta-global-account/
    Cajamar include a provision on interest received being treated as capital gains and taxable in Spain
    Last edited by skid112; 21-08-2019 at 6:50 PM. Reason: spelling
    Save 12k in 2019 #88 £55,838.89/£60,000
    • huw01
    • By huw01 21st Aug 19, 5:18 PM
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    huw01
    i still think that using a Santander debit card in a Santander ATM is the best option to avoid fees charged by Spanish banks for using ATMs. Contrast that with TSB who is owned by Sabadell.

    If I take out the equivalent of £200 on my TSB card from a Sabadell ATM in Spain. TSB will charge me 2.99% non sterling transaction fee = £5.98 and a non sterling cash fee of 1.5% = £3.00 then Sabadell charge €1.80 for using the machine. Thats a total of around £11.00 from tsb and Sabadell.
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