Spanish ATM cards abroad
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Dec 13, 2012 1:48 PM Last Post By: Stevo52
Dec 11, 2012 6:20 AM
Spanish ATM cards abroadTechnically this is not about travelling in Spain but I guess this is the most likely place to find a response for my question.
I'm not officially a Spanish resident but more or less live there and have a Lloyds bank account in Spain with most of my money. I'm about to go on a long travel and was horrified to find that they charge 4% on foreign ATM transactions. Does anybody know of a Spanish bank that has more reasonable rates for foreign transactions without having current account fees (Lloyds is free if you maintain a balance of over 2,500 euro) and is A) easy to set up an account quickly and B) can deal in English? Thanks
Dec 11, 2012 7:13 AM
14% is indeed not great but most banks will charge around 2%. It varies-you have to assume that there is no bank that charges 0% (they are said to exist but prove to be very elusive...)
Also, cash exchanges will cost anything between 5 and 10% so it's still cheaper than cash.
So by all means go ahead- you should be able to do slightly better than that but just set your expectations right- it won;t go down to 0%
Dec 11, 2012 9:33 AM
2I am an official spanish resident, but have a bank-account in the Netherlands, ABNAMRO. I receive my pensions in this account and use my debit-card to get money from the ATM's in Spain and other countries. They do not charge me for getting money from an ATM within the euro-zone. I think that if I use the card in a non-euro country they get their money from the rate of exchange, but do not charge a commision. I have the idea that all spanish banks do charge a commision and I therefore use my spanish bankcard, associated to my spanish bank-account, only in Spain. The best you can do is to ask different spanish banks about their policy regarding getting money from ATM's. As you are probably aware there are three different systems in Spain with the ATM's, Servired, 4B and 2000(?). In my experience you always get charged when you use an ATM, which does not belong to the system your bank is associated with. Some banks, f.e. Banco Popular, even charges when you use an ATM of another bank, although it is of the same system. Maybe one of the internet-banks could be a solution. I think of INGDirect.
Dec 11, 2012 10:14 AM
3I might be wrong but in order to open a non resident's bank account,
I think you need a "certificado de no residente" (non resident certifcate)
which you have to apply for at any "comisaría de policia nacional".
the process takes around 10 days. Once armed with this document,
you can approach any of the high street banks (Santander, BBVA etc).
the english speaking part might be complicated though!
Dec 11, 2012 4:14 PM
Dec 11, 2012 6:48 PM
There is lots of ignorance and misunderstanding about bank charges related to exchange. People often think things are free whereas in reality they are not and they tend to focus on the wrong issues (like 'no commission' claims).
Currency exchange rate structures and costs are explained here
Now, I also assumed (and i may have been wrong) that the 4% you mentioned applied to use outside the Eurozone. If they charge 4% on withdrawing Euros within the Eurozone then indeed they're gauging their customers. I have cards from 3 eurozone countries and some of them offer entirely free withdrawals within Eurozone, some charge a fixed fee (2 EUR) per ATM transaction. None of them charge a % fee.
Dec 12, 2012 3:35 AM
6Liberat, I never asked, why a Dutch bank? Have you some link there? Do they deal with non-Dutch clients?
MTL, Excellent sticky re "Best way to Exchange and Carry Your Money". Though there are one or two finer details I didn't understand it essentially sums up what I've always done and why. Debit card, large sums etc.
However, At the 4% rate my bank is charging, I'm not sure it's so clear cut. Perhaps you can elaborate.
I've E-mailed my Spanish bank and they say that there's a 4% commission on foreign ATM withdrawals. As I'll be largely outside the EU that's my main concern. When they say 4% is it safe to assume that that means 4% total? It would be illegal for them to tell me that and then charge a 4% flat rate and then charge other than the interbank rate which could add up to significantly more than 4%?
What I didn't realise is that it's your home bank and not the local bank that charges the exchange rate. But as #2 in your sticky alludes to, in Asia, some of the local banks charge "a hefty fee" too. By hefty does he mean that they can also charge a flat percentage (which would be significant) or that they would charge a set fee (which wouldn't if you withdraw large amounts). Presumably they have to make money somewhere.
The long and the short of it from m point of view is that my Pakistani visa is in my passport and time is ticking. I have to leave soon. If I don't sort out a better bank before this Friday I'll have to go with my 4% Spanish bank which is just about palatable IF that's the entire fee or close to it.
But I looked at moneygram yesterday and they charge 45 euro on 1270 euro which is 4.4 %. The guy in the shop tells me that they transfer the official rate meaning that the 45 euro/4.4% is the entire fee. Are there hidden costs or is it as he calls it? If so, the difference is tiny (assuming there's no charge on a local ATM). Taking security and potential hassle of losing cards into account, does it seem logical to leave my ATM at home where my sister can withdraw my money for free and moneygram it to me?
Sorry for the very long post. It's just that I need to move on this of I'm setting up a new bank account.
Dec 12, 2012 7:46 AM
7Why Dutch?. Simply because I am Dutch, but live in Spain. I therefore have bank-accounts in both countries. Since I get dutch pensions, I have them paid into my dutch account and I transfer to one of my spanish accounts or use an ATM for cash.
We spent last weekend in Prague and I used my dutch debitcard to get money from an ATM, 2 times 5000 chech crowns. The bank charged my account with 201,15 and 201,29 euros, while the rate at this moment, december 12, 2012, is 25,269 and 25, 260, (crowns per euro). I paid a premium of a bit more than 1,5 %. For me this is very acceptable.
INGDirect has a so-called "Cuenta Nomina", which comes with a credit- and a debit-card. You'll have to put your salary/pension or similar into that account. They have offices now in most of the bigger cities and you could just go there to find out if such an account is possible and what the costs are.
Dec 12, 2012 9:02 AM
Dec 12, 2012 9:44 AM
9MTL, I Should clarify. I mean to say that if I don't start the process by this Friday it will be too late. That would allow all of next working week and the account would hopefully be open by new year in which case it wouldn't be too late. That in mind, if you could elaborate on #6 it would be great.
I've looked at Ing.es but as far as I can see it's looking for foreigners with more money than me and doesn't have an English speaking site.
Dec 12, 2012 3:36 PM
Dec 13, 2012 2:27 AM
1. Traditional Spanish banks like to charge lots of fees. You must then go back to the director and beg to have them removed, the probability of which increases if you buy another financial product which he has ready for you for which you'll probably be charged more commissions or mis-sold (e.g. share conversions, preferences). They may offer what looks like high interest rates but then again they claw it all back with account maintenance commissions. Don't trust them. Anyone who disagrees with this is probably happily paying too much in commissions (what they should be then a little more for good luck) and not even knowing it.
2. Online banks are ING Direct, Openbank (Santander), Uno-e (BBVA), Selfbank, Bankinter, Evobanco. Other banks have online accounts but are still traditional banks and offer less than online banks (e.g. La Caixa's online account only allows one free bank transfer per month).
3. Check the terms and conditions for each bank, their credit card commissions, their debit card commissions. E.g. ING Direct you need to maintain at least €2000 in the current account (Cuenta Sin Nomina) or get your pension paid into it every month (Cuenta Nomina). ING Direct are generally quite fast, you can get everything done in a week if you're lucky though I'm not so sure at this time of year. Uno-e can be kept open with very little in it (probably a euro will do) and you can pay money in at any BBVA, unless you live in a major city you'll have more problems paying money in with ING Direct. I opened the account so long ago that I can't remember how long the process took to open it. Evobanco is the online face of the Galician savings banks which are on teetering on the brink, I wouldn't touch that.
4. Banks are obliged to charge for debit card withdrawals in the other countries in the eurozone at the same cost as they charge for debit card withdrawals for banks on other cash machine networks in Spain. Check that Lloyds' small print to check what the charge is inside and outside the eurozone.
5. Banks are obliged to charge for transfers to banks in other countries in the Single Payments Area (which is bigger than the eurozone, it's almost all the EU) at the same cost as they charge for transfers to other banks in Spain.
6. Bearing in mind 4 and 5, you need an Internet bank as the fees are generally low for debit cards and free for transfers. Also bear in mind that you need to check the fees for each country outside the eurozone and definitely take a close look if you're going outside the EU.
7. For a credit card you don't need to switch banks, you can use a Citibank credit card and link it to your current account. They offer fee-free cards with a 1.5% on usage outside of Spain (then more on top of that if it's a cash advance).
8. ING Direct is covered by the Dutch savings guarantee scheme, not the Spanish one. You might find that more re-assuring. ;)
9. Hello tonyb?!
Dec 13, 2012 7:17 AM
Dec 13, 2012 8:43 AM
I'm not chiding you for not speaking Spanish- I am merely pointing out the financial impact of your not being able to do so.
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