New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

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

Postby patricia » Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:52 pm

You are so right there. Every time I go into the bank for something they keep trying to sell me something. I would not mind but this manager in the Branch has been there for at least seven years now. I see him often but he never says hello either in the street or in the bank but he does chat up the young ladies in the queue. The first one was such a gentleman.

The other day I went into the bank and he asked me if I would like to have a watch which dials emergency if you fall over. Not a bad idea, but to be honest I so dislike him I wouldnt purchase a thing from them. Customer service is dead in the branch I go to and I have been thinking of changing for quite some time now.

My bank in the UK never tries to sell me anything.
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steve_w
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby steve_w » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:27 pm

As a non-resident, I almost find it amusing that CaixaBank keeps trying to sell me car finance.

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

Postby Pamela1 » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:06 pm

We were with caja granada until Bankia took them over, our online account dosen't look that much different and it is in English, the charges for our non resident account are 15 euros a quarter so around 60 euros a year. The debit card is charged at 28 euros a year. So far we have not had any problems with them and they keep in touch by post to our address in the Uk and also by email.

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

Postby chrissiehope » Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:12 pm

"My bank in the UK never tries to sell me anything." - you must have a very good bank, or times have changed ! When I worked as a cashier in a bank (admittedly years ago) it was sell, sell. sell ;-)
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby katy » Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:19 pm

I think banks learnt their lesson with the misselling scandal that has cost billions.
My UK banks has never charged a fee for anything.

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

Postby patricia » Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:07 pm

Nor me in the UK. Here it is sell sell.
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby Pamela1 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:57 pm

It's no wonder that people are no longer being hassled into buying anything the min they walk into a Uk bank. They no longer have the counter staff.. :lol:

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

Postby steve_w » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:40 pm

You can rest assured that UK banks are still trying to 'cross-sell' other products and services to current account holders. They're just not so blatant about it as they used to be.

Retail banking in the UK is changing slowly but surely. As time goes on, so-called 'free if in credit' personal current accounts may start to become harder to find here. This could be due, in part, to the regulator's clamp-down on overdraft charges, from which the major banks have traditionally generated a large part of their profits.

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

Postby CielodeCadiz » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:41 am

After seeing this on one of my occasional strolls through the board, I quickly checked out my La Caixa account "mailbox" to see the letter explaining the new charges. They are also charging us 60 euros per quarter, and also 4 euros per month for the use of the ATM card. As our taxes/comunidad/water & elec are all auto-paid through the account, I'm not sure I want to hassle looking for a new, lower fee account and then changing everything over. The 288 euro is just part of the cost of owning in Spain ...
That said, I'm disappointed that La Caixa chose to sneak this in on us, rather than advising through email that terms had been changed as they usually do.

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

Postby steve_w » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:29 am

CielodeCadiz wrote:As our taxes/comunidad/water & elec are all auto-paid through the account, I'm not sure I want to hassle looking for a new, lower fee account and then changing everything over.
Dealing with any kind of 'bureaucracy' in Spain is usually a pain, but to me, anyway, this is worth the effort.

It's a pity that Spain doesn't have a 7-day current account switching service, as the UK does.

So far, I think that I've managed to switch the water DD over to Starling (I'll find out in a couple of weeks whether I've been successful). I'm also waiting for the electricity company to get back to me.

Once I know that those two are working okay, I'll try switching the basura and the IBI.

Poco a poco ...

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

Postby kezzaj » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:28 am

Thanks for the link to this thread, did you already have an account with starling or did you open one just to deal with the Spanish utilities?
We used to bank with bancaja in Marbella who got taken over by bankia and they changed our local branch to Malaga and would not let us bank anywhere but in Malaga which was too far and that’s why we changed to la Caixa in 2015. La Caixa re arranged all of our direct debits for us which was great, how have you gone about changing your dd’s over to starling, have you had to call the utility companies?

Thanks

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

Postby steve_w » Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:17 pm

I already had a Starling account when CaixaBank dropped the latest fee increase on us. I'd wanted to try one of the new 'fintech' banks, and Starling generally gets very good reviews.

Opening the account was pretty easy, and so far I've been completely happy with Starling. Having a GBP account and an EUR account with the same bank, managed through one smartphone app, makes a lot of sense to me.

In our case, the water and electricity companies both have webforms for changing your direct debit bank details online. Unfortunately, neither form works correctly with a UK international bank account number (IBAN). So, I sent an email/secure message to each company, asking them to make the change for us. I attached a PDF copy of a Starling bank statement as 'proof' of account ownership.

The water company responded a few days later, saying that the change had been made. I'll find out if that's true in a couple of weeks' time, when the next payment is due.

The electricity company (Energía XXI) is still 'processing' my request. Supposedly, I should get a response by 17 March.

I've also downloaded a PDF form from our town hall's website for changing the council tax and rubbish charge DDs over. I've decided to wait and see what happens with the water and electricity before I try that, though.

Finally, I'll WhatsApp the president of our community and ask him what I need to do to change the community charge over. He's always very helpful.

There's no reason why all of these organizations shouldn't be able to take payments from a UK bank account. Regardless of whether we leave the EU with or without a 'deal', the UK will remain in the Single European Payment Area (SEPA), so cross-border payment methods won't change.

Replacing our Spanish bank with a UK bank seems like a very attractive idea to me ... no more 'surprise' charges, no more non-resident certificates, no language barrier and proper recourse if something goes wrong. What's not to like about that?

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

Postby patricia » Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:38 pm

That is very helpful Steve. :thumbup:

Thanks for that. Can you keep us informed. I am not going to pay Caixa 60 euros a quarter. :problem: I see there is an urgent message in my account online which I cannot get into at the moment so will be paying the bank a visit next week. :evil:
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Re: New CaixaBank fees ... time to change banks?

Postby maureenscot » Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:31 pm

Very helpful Steve. Is it possible to use your own UK bank account to pay direct debits or will they just not allow it?

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

Postby steve_w » Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:28 pm

This is my understanding, but I'm no expert so I stand to be corrected.

If your UK bank account has an International Bank Account Number (IBAN), then it may be possible for you to pay regular bills in Spain from the account by SEPA Direct Debit (SDD). You should check with your bank whether it offers this service. I believe that Lloyds and Santander do.

To set up an SDD, you need to give your bank's Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and your account's IBAN to the organization that you want to pay. You also need to authorize the organization to collect payments from your account, but this can be done electronically.

So, in those respects, an SDD is very similar to a normal UK direct debit, except that you provide a BIC and an IBAN instead of a sort code and an 8-digit account number. A typical BIC looks like this: NWBKGB2L. A typical UK IBAN looks like this: GB29 NWBK 6016 1331 9268 19.

However, SDD payments can only be made in Euros (EUR), regardless of the currency of the payer's account. So, if your UK account is a Pound Sterling (GBP) account, your bank will convert the payments from EUR to GBP before debiting your account.

You should be able to get a refund of any unauthorized SDD payments from your bank during a period of up to 13 months from the date of payment.

Some Spanish organizations may tell you that you can only set up a direct debit with them using a Spanish IBAN. However, any such claim violates Article 9 of EU Regulation 260/2012. Whether or not you can persuade them to comply with that regulation is, of course, another question entirely.

To me, the benefit of using Starling Bank, rather than, say, Lloyds, is that it offers separate GBP and EUR accounts, both free of fees, with the facility to transfer funds between them quickly and easily. That should make it easier for me to keep a check on what I'm paying in Spain. Starling's GBP to EUR exchange rate is pretty good, too.

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

Postby kezzaj » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:20 am

Thanks for the info that’s a great help, I am going to look into the starling account, if you could keep us updated on how you get on that would be great

Kezzaj

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

Postby steve_w » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:25 pm

A quick update for anyone who's following this thread ...

This afternoon I got a notification from the Starling Bank app on my phone telling me that the water DD is due for payment at 4pm tomorrow. Getting 24 hours advance notice of the payment is really handy. :thumbup:

I haven't managed to change the bank details for the electricity DD yet. The Energía XXI webform is telling me that my Starling account number is invalid, so I'm trying to make the change by email. Unfortunately, it takes them 2 weeks to respond to each message. :roll:

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

Postby maureenscot » Sun Mar 15, 2020 1:49 am

Thanks SteveGood luck with the leccy

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

Postby steve_w » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:00 pm

Another quick update for anyone who's interested.

After two unsuccessful attempts to switch the electricity DD from CaixaBank to Starling via the 'Reclamaciones y consultas' section of the Energía XXI (formerly Endesa) website, I decided to have a go at doing it by online 'live chat'.

I was connected to an agent within about 10 seconds. The agent's English language was flawless, so I didn't need to practise my pidgin Spanish.

It took the agent no more than 30 seconds to set up the Starling bank account details and switch the DD over. She emailed me an authorization form, which I need to sign and email back within 20 days, but the new DD is effective immediately.

¡Perfecto! Compare that with the usual experience of live chatting with an agent in the offshore call centre of a UK utility company.

Now I'm going to move on to the IBI and basura DDs with my local ayuntamiento. More updates to follow.

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

Postby maureenscot » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:45 am

Great. thank you


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