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Spaniards urged to dig out their old pesetas and trade them in for euros

They haven't been legal currency in Spain since 2002 but apparently there is an estimated €1.6 billion worth of old pestas hidden away in Spanish homes, cluttering up the drawers of old desks and trunks in dusty old attics.

Spaniards urged to dig out their old pesetas and trade them in for euros
Old peseta notes and coins can be now be exchanged until September 2021. Photos: AFP

The Spanish government announced that it will extend the deadline on exchanging the old currency in the hope that people can be persuaded to trade them in.

At the beginning of this year, the Bank of Spain insisted that the final date for exchanging old peseta notes and coins for their euro equivalent was December 31, 2020.

But an extension announced by the government on Tuesday means they can now be traded in anytime up to September 2021.

Ministers Nadia Calviño, Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation said:  “The deadline to exchange pesetas for euros is extended until September 2021”.

Any notes produced during the Franco era, which ran from the end of the Civil War in 1939 until the dictator's death in 1975 can be automatically changed by the Bank of Spain.

Those issued during the conflict can also be exchanged but the process will involve them being analysed by experts to confirm their authenticity.

And any coins still in circulation at the time that euros were brought in on New Year's Day in 2002 can also be exchanged at Bank of Spain headquarters in Madrid.

The exchange rate offered  by the Bank of Spain is 1 euro = 166,386 pesetas but the bank advised that commemorative coins and notes may be worth more as collectors' items than for their face value, which is all that will be offered in the exchange scheme.

The Bank of Spain estimates that pesetas worth some €1.61 billion have been squirreled away.

Many will never see the light of the day and others have become collectors' items now worth more than their exchangeable value.

Spain adopted the Euro at the start of 2002 but pesetas were still legal currency during a transition period that lasted the first three months of that year.

Exchanges can be made in person at the Banco España building on Madrid's Calle Alcala or via a postal or online service, even available to those abroad.  For more information check out the official webpage of the Banco España HERE. 

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MONEY

Why banks in Spain are obliged by law to offer a low-cost basic account

Low-cost basic accounts may not be widely advertised in Spain, but they are available and your bank must, by law, offer you one if you want.

Why banks in Spain are obliged by law to offer a low-cost basic account

According to EU law, banks must offer a “basic account” for essential operations such as depositing and withdrawing money, making transfers and receiving salaries.

The EU created this “basic account” with the aim of avoiding financial exclusion and providing everyone residing in the bloc with a current account, even if they hardly earn any money or don’t have a fixed address.

READ ALSO: What’s the maximum amount you should have in a current bank account in Spain?

What are these basic accounts?

They allow you to carry out up to 120 operations per year and have a debit card, paying only a commission of €3 per month or €36 per year to use it. 

The Bank of Spain along with consumer associations are encouraging banks in Spain to make these types of accounts more well-known to their customers. 

READ ALSO: What to be aware of before opening a shared bank account in Spain

Who are these basic accounts for? 

The accounts are ideal for those who have minimal incomes, as well as those who are not comfortable with technology such as using computers, tablets or smartphones as they don’t require you to use any apps or carry out any extra operations online. 

They are also good for vulnerable consumers, due to the fact that banks must agree to give you the account free of charge for two years, extendable two by two, provided you demonstrate that you continue to be so.

You will be considered vulnerable if: 

  • You are not part of a family unit and you do not earn more than twice the amount of the IPREM. For 2023, this will be €14,400 per year.
  • Or, if you are part of a family unit of fewer than four members and you earn less than 2.5 times the IPREM – no more than €18,000 in 2023.
  • And if none of the members of the family own property, except for the main residence, or own a company. 

Can banks refuse to give me a basic account? 

Not really, no. Banks are obliged by law to be able to provide these low-cost accounts and can’t refuse you unless they find out that you are using it to launder money or threaten national security.

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