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Viewing posts categorised under: Bank Charges

New Spanish bank charges post-Brexit

By John Hayward - Topics: Bank Charges, Spain
This article is published on: 11th February 2021

11.02.21

If you bank with Sabadell, you may well have noticed that they are charging you for transfers in and out of your account. Although you may have an account that didn´t attract changes before Brexit, it could do now. When approached by a client of mine, who has a Premium account with Sabadell, their response was, and I paraphrase “because we can”, using the Bank of Spain rule book to justify the charges. It is because the UK is no longer in the EU. It appears that these charges are being applied to ad hoc transfers as opposed to regular payments such as pensions.

I have heard of other instances where transfers have been made from the UK using a currency exchange company. Currencies Direct, for example, have stated that they will cover the charges made by banks as they feel that it is incorrect and goes against the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) agreement, challenging the actions of the banks.

Solutions

  1. Close the account with Sabadell. (This is probably not convenient for many)
  2. Tell Sabadell that you will close the account if they continue to charge. (You will probably not get too much of a reaction to this one)
  3. Instead of transferring money as and when required, which is something many people do, set up a regular payment.
  4. Make transfers via companies where you can have an account in GBP and another in Euros. When the money is received or paid by Sabadell in Euros, from or to an EU based account, they do not charge.

I understand that other banks are also making charges when they did not before Brexit, so check with your bank. You do not have to just accept what they are doing.

Avoid Bank Charges

By John Hayward - Topics: Bank Charges, Banking
This article is published on: 20th March 2017

20.03.17

A number of banks have a variety of current accounts. It would appear that customers are not always advised by their bank what is the best account for them. For many expatriates, especially those buying and selling property, when money is paid into or from a bank account, the charges made by banks can be huge. It is quite common for charges to be made on both the money entering the account, after a sale of a property, and then again on the same money when a new property is purchased and money is transferred to another party. Some banks have accounts which do not attract fees. There will almost certainly be conditions such as a minimum deposit into the account each month. However, and for many retired expatriates, these conditions are not likely to be too difficult to satisfy. You may even be paid interest on balances or receive bonuses on direct debits. Make certain that the account you have is the best for you.

Paying too much tax on pension income

When submitting an annual tax return in Spain, there are (at least) two ways of calculating the tax due on UK sourced income. One way is to tell your accountant how many pounds you received and the accountant will convert this into euros using the exchange rate from the previous 31st December. For example, the exchange rate used for annual tax returns submitted in June 2017 will be based on the rate as at 31st December 2016. The problem is that, with fluctuating exchange rates, one could be paying tax on money that was never received. Let’s say that each month from January to November you received monthly income based on an exchange rate of 1.15 but then by 31st December it had increased to 1.20 euros to the pound. Your tax bill will be based on 1.20 even though you had only received 1.15 for 11 months. The alternative way of submitting the return is to ignore P60s etc. and simply submit evidence of exactly what euros you received through the year. If you are not certain, talk to your accountant.

Obtain proof of your current address

More and more often, financial institutions will be asking for evidence of where you live. In so many cases, all bills are put in the name of only one partner and in these days of online banking, people are no longer sent bank statements and not all companies accept printouts from the internet. Make certain you have a bill (not mobile phone) in your name or obtain an updated Padron certificate.