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Can I close my Spanish bank account from abroad?

Closing a Spanish bank account from overseas can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Here's everything you need to know about the banks that tend to allow it and those that don't, as well as the different potential ways you could cancel your 'cuenta' from outside of Spain.

how to cancel bank account from abroad
Closing a Spanish bank account from abroad usually depends on the conditions of your specific account. Photo: Kredite / Pixabay

There may be several reasons you need to close your Spanish bank account from abroad.

Perhaps you moved away and forgot to close it or you had to move away quickly and didn’t have time.

According to the Bank of Spain “an account can always be cancelled at any time and without notice. And within 24 hours of the request, the entity must have closed it”.  

In practice however, it’s not always that easy, since there is no regulation that says what the specific procedure is to cancel an account. This gives individual banks the freedom to choose how it’s done.

So what does this mean for you when it comes to closing your bank account from abroad?  

It generally means that it will entirely depend on which bank you opened your account with and what type of account you have as to whether you can close it remotely or not.  

The Bank of Spain’s Banking Client Portal clearly indicates that if a bank has specific requirements for its clients to be able to close an account, “these particularities must be included in the contract, and signed by the client, after having been informed”.  

This means that it should have been stated in your original contract when you opened the account whether you need to close it in person or not.  

READ ALSO: How to avoid paying hidden fees when closing your bank account in Spain

The banks that generally do allow the closing of accounts remotely are those that  do not have customer service offices or very few of them, so-called neobanks such as N26, Revolut, Bnext, EVO Banco or Openbank, even through the latter belongs to Santander.

But most other traditional Spanish banks with branches around the country do tend to require all account holders (more than just one if it’s a joint account) to go into the bank in person to close an account, sometimes at the specific branch at which the account was opened.

As bothersome as this can be for customers who have moved to another part of Spain or abroad, the banks’ reasoning for this is that each account opened is a performance indicator for a particular branch and therefore they must handle the most important operations, such as the closure of an account.

If you are banking with a Spanish bank that lets you close it remotely, then there are several ways you can do this.


If you have online banking, you will usually be able to request to close your bank account online. This is likely to be the case for accounts that were opened exclusively online too.

However, be aware, that if you close it online, some banks may also request that you come into the branch in person in order to sign the cancellation of the account and give in your cards and checkbooks.

This means that you may not be able to fully close your account online, so you may want to call afterward to make sure it’s been done correctly. 

By phone

If you can’t close your account online, then it may be possible to close it over the phone by calling customer service. In this case, you may be required to provide extra details such as passwords and signature keys.

According to Ibercaja, it’s more common for banks to allow a cancellation by phone if the account was opened via the phone too.

Send a letter

If you’re not able to close your account online or by phone, the most recommended way to do it remotely is by sending a letter.  

To do this, you should send a certified letter, which states your desire to close the account and explains that you’re not in the country. With the letter you must also include:

  • Your full name, address and a copy of your ID number such as green residency certificate or TIE
  • The name of the bank, branch number and the account you want to close.
  • Any cards, checkbooks or other payment methods that you need to return.

Here is a template which gives you an example of the correct wording for this letter in Spanish. 

Once you receive the certification that the letter has been delivered, you should follow up and request that they send you an account cancellation certificate. 

In fact, however you close your account, even if it’s by phone or online, you still request your cancellation certificate to make sure that it’s definitely closed.  If it’s not properly closed, you could carry on incurring charges and not be aware that you still owe the bank money.

Note, that if the account has more than one holder, it is likely that you will have to go into the branch in person and will not be able to close it remotely, as both parties are required to sign the forms. 

What if my bank won’t let me do it remotely and there is no way I can return to Spain?

If all of the above methods have failed and your bank still won’t let you officially close your account without physically coming into the branch and signing the necessary paperwork, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer.

They will be able to advise you on the next steps to take if necessary.  

If the problem you face is that you moved to another part of Spain and your bank wants you to close the account where it was originally opened, before you attempt to cancel you should first go to a nearby branch and make it your reference branch (sucursal de referencia), although not all of them will necessarily allow this.

Others like Santander may suggest that a current account be changed to an online account, which would allow you to cancel over the phone. 

READ ALSO: The hidden costs of opening a Spanish bank account 

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Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.