Spanish consumer organisation OCU warns elderly about bank charges

by Lorraine Williamson
bank charges

Many banks charge fees for holding an account or for a card, despite the pension being paid by direct debit, or other requirements, such as insurance. This is also the case in Spain. However, fees can vary quite a bit. 

The Spanish consumer organisation OCU revealed significant differences in current account fees for pensioners. This mainly concerns elderly people who prefer personal services in their bank branch to digital services, which are normally free.  

Enrique García, OCU spokesman, points out the differences in a statement. As an example, a pensioner with a pension of €900 a month, who withdraws €400 in cash every month, uses a debit card and transfers €300 every month, pays €104, €96 and €48 a year in fees at Banco Sabadell, BBVA and Bankinter, respectively. 

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Customers of CaixaBank’s Cuenta Día a Día is the exception where elderly people pay nothing, according to the OCU. ‘It is the most interesting of the products studied if you are over 65,’ García adds. 

Comparing pays off 

The most common bank charges are those for transfers from the bank branch, which can be as high as 0.4% of the amount. Annual charges for the debit card are for the Cuenta Pensión de Bankinter: €30, for the Cuenta Pensión de Ibercaja: €28, for the Plan Tú Eliges de Globalcaja: €25 and for the Cuenta Pensionistas de Cajamar: €8. 

Fees are also charged for managing the account. The amount varies by institution; from €80 a year at Sabadell to €12 with Globalcaja’s Tú Eliges Plan. 

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