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Bank overdraft in Spain: What are the risks and penalties?

The Local Spain
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Bank overdraft in Spain: What are the risks and penalties?
Several neobanks that operate in Spain don’t charge any overdraft fees. (Photo by LEON NEAL / AFP)

Being overdrawn by even just a euro can cost you €50 if you have a Spanish bank account. These are the risks of being in the red in Spain and the fees banks charge, as well as the more lenient financial institutions. 

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Having your Spanish bank account en números rojos (in the red), or al descubierto as the more technical term states, can cost you dearly. 

In the UK, banks can now only charge users a simple annual interest rate for an overdraft, in the US it’s an average fee of $35 for an overdraft, but in Spain banks continue to claim several fees from customers who are in the red. 

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These can be considerably more if you have a loan or a mortgage.

The usual fees and penalties Spanish banks charge are:

Comisión por descubierto: Overdraft fee. This can be up to 2.5 times the legal interest of the money that’s in the red. The legal interest rate is 3 percent so the commission can’t be higher than 7.5 percent. Most Spanish banks charge a minimum commission of €15.

Tipos de interés: Overdraft interest rate. Overdrafts have an annual interest rate which can’t be higher than 7.5 percent. Overdraft interest rates are added to overdraft fee. If the overdraft fee already reaches the legal limit, you will not be charged the overdraft interest rate

Gasto por reclamación de posiciones deudoras: Notification of an overdraft. This can either by email or post. Spanish banks have a fixed cost for this which can go from €15 to €50. 

Most Spanish banks are notorious for charging their customers extra and often hidden fees, and as can be seen above they don’t miss out on the chance to do when it comes to an overdraft either.

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Below is a breakdown of what each of Spain’s main banks charge for an overdraft: 

Santander

Overdraft fee: 5 percent, with a minimum of €15 

Overdraft interest rate: 7.5 percent APR

Notification of an overdraft: €49 

 

BBVA

Overdraft fee: 4.5 percent, with a minimum of €15 

Overdraft interest rate: 7.5 percent APR

Notification of an overdraft: €30 

 

Caixabank

Overdraft fee: 4.5 percent, with a minimum of €15 

Overdraft interest rate: 7.5 percent APR

Notification of an overdraft: €40 

 

Sabadell

Overdraft fee: 4.5 percent, with a minimum of 15 euros

Overdraft interest rate: 7.5 percent APR

Notification of an overdraft: €28 

 

Deutsche Bank

Overdraft fee: 4.5 percent, with a minimum of €15 

Overdraft interest rate: 7.5 percent APR

Notification of an overdraft: €30 

 

ING

Overdraft fee: free for the first two days or if the overdraft is less than €10. From that date, a monthly commission of €3.99 euros is charged

Overdraft interest rate: No charge

Notification of an overdraft: No charge

 

Several neobanks that operate in Spain don’t charge any overdraft fees either.

These are EVO Banco, Pibank, Revolut and N26. 

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What else should I know about bank overdrafts in Spain?

Some banks such as Sabadell have as part of their conditions the option of blocking or closing a bank account if the overdraft isn’t paid within a predetermined period of time. 

You can also be classified as a defaulter if you don’t sort out the overdraft within the limit, a situation which could prevent you from accessing other financial and banking offers in future. 

Overdraft fees and interest charges are legal according to Spanish law, but not so in cases where the overdraft is caused for reasons beyond the customer’s control, such as an unknown extra fee is charged by the bank.

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