These are the banks in Spain with the highest account charges | Sur in English (2024)

Some of the main banks in Spain charge up to 240 euros a year just to keep a conventional (non-online) account open. Charges have risen again in the past year: the average cost has increased by 3.5% and now exceeds 150 euros per year in the case of maintenance of current accounts without bonuses. This is the result of the latest analysis of the Bank Commissions Barometer of the Financial Users' Association (Asufin).

The banks which have applied the biggest increase to their fees are Deutsche Bank, which increases its account maintenance fee from 120 to 240 euros for customers without bonuses, and Kutxabank, which increases it from 120 to 140 euros. On the other hand, Unicaja lowers this type of charge from 120 to 36 euros per year. The study reflects the "great disparity" in the Spanish banking market, where there are four main banks (Banco Santander, CaixaBank, Banco Sabadell and Deutsche Bank) which charge 240 euros per year, and Bankinter, which remains the only institution that does not charge a fee for maintaining a conventional (non-online) account.

The requirements demanded by banks from their customers to exempt them from paying these fees are getting tougher. Many banks are now asking for more than just direct deposit of a salary or pension, as well as demanding a minimum monthly income (the majority set at 600 euros, but Deutsche Bank has raised it to 2,000). "Increasingly, customers are looking for assets to obtain the maximum bonus level, such as securities, investment funds or pension plans, among others," according to the report.

"These average rises in maximum fees continue to reinforce the policy of some banks to indirectly expel the customer who, not having links that allow reductions, has to assume an exorbitant amount in many cases or has to look for another alternative. This involves taking on products such as online accounts which, in turn, will force them to operate exclusively through the bank's internet channels, which will require them to have the appropriate knowledge and devices," Asufin said.

Transfers

Another type of charge that has risen is that of ordinary transfers: no less than 69% in a single year, from an average of 1.26 euros, in its minimum amount, to 2.13 euros. Immediate transfers are also up, but by a very small amount, from 3.65 euros to 3.69 euros, or 1.1%. This rise coincides with the European Parliament's approval of a regulation obliging banks to offer instant money transfers under the same conditions as immediate transfers in order to boost their use, with banks now having 12 months to adapt.

It should be considered that, although the customer receives free transfers as a result of having a link with the bank, this does not mean they are free of charge, but simply that they are subsidised.

Cards

The best news for consumers is to be found in the lowering of fees related to the holding and use of debit cards. The most important is in the annual card maintenance fee, which after a slight decrease between 2022 and 2023, this year is back down to 25.91 euros, 4.09 euros less than last year's 30 euros.

There is also a decrease in almost all usage fees, with one exception, as the average percentage fee for withdrawing money at other ATMs rises from 4.07% to 4.17%, but falls in the minimum amount, from 3.34 euros to 3.21 euros. For cash withdrawals outside the EU, the percentages fell from 4.35% to 4.25% and the minimum amount from 3.82 euros to 3.68 euros.

The average overdraft claim fee also fell slightly, from 32.82 euros last year to 31.45 euros this year, due to CaixaBank's decrease from 40 euros to 35 euros, and Unicaja's decrease from 45 euros to 35 euros. "In the case of an overdraft of 3 euros for 15 days, the cost is 14 times higher than the value of the overdraft," they said.

On the other hand, other fees have risen, such as the one charged for depositing cheques from other banks, from 1.83 to 1.98 euros.

Charging for mobile alerts is increasingly marginal. Of the banks analysed, only CaixaBank charges for this service, as Bankinter, which charged for it until last year, no longer does.

Above inflation

Asufin concluded its analysis by stating that the cost of basic charges continues to be "much higher than inflation and the overall cost of commissions". In total, in the last four years, basic costs have risen by 26.4%, compared to 19% of the CPI, 7.5% more, a difference that is greater compared to the total of financial services, whose cost accumulated a rise of 11.4%, according to data from the INE. In total, basic account and card costs have risen by 15%, a higher increase than the rest of financial services.

The association carried out the study using a mixed methodology: on one hand, it consulted public information, both provided by the institutions themselves and that published by the Banco de España. Although the Banco de España said it publishes the information provided by the institutions, on the date of analysis, between 8 and 12 April, not all institutions were reflected in the comparison data provided. For this reason, queries were also made at financial institutions, both online and in person, on the same dates.

"The fees shown are always the maximum, so you should always take into account possible bonuses, which do not eliminate the fees, but temporarily waive their payment if they meet a series of conditions," Asufin said.

These are the banks in Spain with the highest account charges | Sur in English (2024)

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