New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

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steve_w
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New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:18 am

Hi All -

We've just received a notification from CaixaBank telling us that, from 01 Apr 2020, they're going to charge us 60€ a quarter for 'maintaining' our non-resident current account, unless we deposit a minimum of 600€ a month. There's no way that we're going to meet that requirement.

Last November, they cancelled our ATM/debit cards and forced us to take credit cards in their place. We didn't want Spanish credit cards, but we were told that we wouldn't be able to use their ATMs without them.

So, after 15 years as CaixaBank customers, we've decided to look for an alternative, more non-resident friendly, current account.

Bankia's Cuenta_ON account looks quite interesting. For the features that we need, it would appear to be fee-free.

Do other forum members have any experience with this account and/or Bankia? If so, was it good, bad or indifferent?

Alternatively, can anybody recommend an alternative account that won't cost us an arm and a leg to operate?

We really only need the account to pay regular bills (council tax, utility bills, etc) by direct debit. When we're in Spain, we tend to pay for most things using a fee-free UK credit card.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Steve

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Enrique
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby Enrique » Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:44 am

Hi steve_w,
Could be the Banks are going to cash in on Non-Resident accounts............

We are with the Grupo Caja Rural Bank and they have just pushed out some hefty "Charges"...... €90 and €88 on a joint account. Our's is used like yours to pay regular bills and only topped up as required from UK.

Be interested in the outcome of your research for a Non-Resident friendly account.
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:54 pm

Hi again -

Well, having done a little more research this morning, I'm leaning towards dropping the Spanish bank altogether and using my Starling Bank Euro account instead.

I checked with Starling, and they said that there should be no problem from their point of view. Thay can, and do, handle direct debits from Spanish utility companies, etc.

From reading posts on other forums, I see that a number of non-residents in Spain are already doing this successfully.

Another option could be the TransferWise 'borderless' account, but Starling's commission and charges seem lower.

Now I've just got to figure out how to switch the direct debits remotely.

Steve

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby elusive » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:35 pm

Thinking out loud. Is it even legal under E.U law to discriminate between res and non residents?

steve_w
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:55 pm

With CaixaBank, the quarterly fees are waived if you deposit at least 600€ a month into your account. Most residents, who pay their wages/salaries/pensions into their accounts, will therefore avoid the fees.

So, it's more a case of positive discrimination in favour of residents than negative discrimination against non-residents.

I'm not sure that EU legislators would see that as a bad thing.

Anyway, I've never felt 'comfortable' with Spanish banks. I'll be a lot happier if I can switch to using a UK bank.

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:39 pm

Again last year, CaixaBank double-charged us for the notorious 'non-resident certificates'.

When I complained about the second set of charges, the bank charged us a third time.

As one of my friends, who lives in Spain, said: "That's known as a 'Spanish refund'." :lolno:

When I complained again, I told the bank clerk that if that had happened in the UK, the bank would have to pay us compensation for the appalling service that we'd received. He just looked at me as if I was insane and shrugged his shoulders. :wtf:

At least if we switch to a UK based account, we won't have to pay for any more 'certificates', and we'll have some comeback when things go wrong.

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby fincalospinos » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:37 am

Look at Cajamar "Wefferent" account, no charges providing you do online transactions or at an ATM. The only time they charge is if you need them to carry out a transaction from the counter within the bank.
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steve_w
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:55 pm

Thanks fincalospinos, I'll certainly take a look at that account if my plans to use Starling don't pan out.

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby patricia » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:46 pm

They used to be good, but of late they have changed a lot and I am also thinking of changing banks and a lot of people have suggested Cajamar. :thumbup:
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby Beachcomber » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:59 pm

It all depends on the individual members of staff in any bank but Sabadell has a good reputation amongst foreigners in my area although, personally, I am with Unicaja.

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:56 pm

Thanks for all the input so far.

Clearly, there's quite a difference between the banking needs of residents and non-residents.

Most non-residents, like myself, probably just need an account for settling regular bills (IBI, basura, electricidad, agua, etc) by direct debit. We don't usually have a regular income (such as salary or pension) going into the account, but we top it up as and when necessary. Unless something goes wrong, we don't really need to interact directly with the bank staff.

So, for me anyway, the important requirements are that:

a) the account is easily manageable via the Internet; and
b) the charges for operating the account are minimal, preferably zero.

I don't need to be able to carry out transactions, or withdraw cash from the account, using an ATM, but if that comes at no extra cost, then that's fine. I certainly don't need an associated credit card, a personal loan facility, a reward programme, or any similar paraphernalia.

Unfortunately, CaixaBank's charges seem to be set to rise significantly in the near future, and although the account is relatively easy to manage online, the amount of 'bundled' services that come with it keeps growing.

Some accounts from other Spanish banks, such as Bankia's Cuenta_ON and Cajamar's Wefferent, appear to meet the above requirements, but I wonder how long their charges will stay low.

I'm currently trying to switch my direct debits from CaixaBank to a Euro account with the the UK bank, Starling. I'll let you know a little later how that goes.

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby maureenscot » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:34 pm

Thank you for the info. I m non-resident with Caixa and have been told nothing. let us know how you get on with Starling

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:17 pm

Hi maureenscot -

CaixaBank sent us a notification of changes to the account terms and conditions as an electronic (PDF) document through the online banking service. If you haven't checked lately, it may be worth having a look online to see if there's anything there for you.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, it's proving difficult for me to change our 'datos bancarios' with the water and utility companies remotely. I will persevere, however.

Steve

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby maureenscot » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:37 am

okdk. Thanks

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby maureenscot » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:12 pm

Got into my caixa account. there was a notification that says, from April, I will be paying E67 per year. Although I know somebody else who has been notified of E60 per quarter. So don't know what is going on

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:07 pm

Our notification definitely says 60€ a quarter, unless we deposit 600€ a month into the account.

67€ sounds like an odd amount (more like an annual fee for a debit/credit card).

Anyway, I'm fed up with paying CaixaBank for what is, at best, a mediocre service, so I'm going to vote with my feet.

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby Wicksey » Sat Feb 29, 2020 1:11 pm

Beachcomber wrote:It all depends on the individual members of staff in any bank but Sabadell has a good reputation amongst foreigners in my area although, personally, I am with Unicaja.
As a resident paying in a minimum of 700€ pm we were originally getting all banking free with the Sabadell Expansion account. Now they are starting to charge 15€ a quarter providing the account stays in credit ...... slowly slowly they are adding charges :evil:

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Sat Feb 29, 2020 1:44 pm

To misquote Milton Friedman: "There's no such thing as a free bank." Even in the UK, we all pay for our banking, one way or another.

However, Spanish banks just seem to 'invent' charges for no particular reason.

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby Beachcomber » Sat Feb 29, 2020 3:35 pm

I get 'free' banking with Unicaja as long as at least €600 is credited to the account per month, a not unreasonable balance is maintained and my credit card is used at least twice a month.

The worst of those is having to use the credit card. The only time I use it is to buy from Amazon so unless I use it there I have to go into somewhere like Mercadona twice a month and buy a carton of milk!

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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:02 pm

Of couse, you're paying for your account by lending the bank your money interest free. The bank also makes money by charging retailers for processing your credit card payments.

Admittedly, in these days of very low interest rates, the banks don't earn much from their use of your money, which is why they've started to introduce new charges or increase existing ones. After all, they're in business to make a profit.

They really want customers who are going to buy products and services from them ... loans, insurance, financial advice, etc. They certainly don't want to deal with non-residents who simply use them as a bill paying service.


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