24 Feb, 2021 @ 11:15
2 mins read

THE SMALL PRINT: New bank charges introduced for receiving UK pensions in Spain

New charge on UK pensions
New charge on UK pensions

SEVERAL high-street Spanish banks have begun charging a fee for receiving money transfers from the UK.

Nicole Chandler, 71, is a client of a major financial company on Denia’s Marques de Campo street. She contacted The Olive Press to warn other British expats about new charges being levied on receiving pensions and transfers from Britain after Brexit.

“I have been informed by my advisor that I now have to pay €15 for my private pension from the Bank of England and €15 for my State pension every month,” Nicole told us.

“I also have to pay €15 if I receive a transfer from the UK,” she added.

Britain is a member of the Single European Payments Area (SEPA), and until December 31 was bound by a series of regulations introduced in Europe in 2019 to prevent banks from charging more for payments made in other currencies.

Although the UK is still a part of SEPA after Brexit, some of the regulations introduced in 2019 no longer apply.

Reports such as Nicole’s suggest that some EU banks have now begun introducing additional charges to payments made to and from Britain, reportedly ranging from €12 to €18 for receiving money.

A statement issued last year by the European Commission warned: “After the end of the transition period, the EU rules in the field of banking and payment services will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.”

Following Nicole’s email, The Olive Press has learnt that clients of other major financial institutions are now also being charged up to €18 per month to receive their UK pensions.

Nicole also revealed that her bank offered her a very strange deal to cancel the monthly commission.

“I have been told by my advisor that I can avoid these charges if I purchase an emergency alarm watch paying €30 a month for three years, and then the payment will be reduced to €9 a month indefinitely.

“Then these bank charges would be cancelled and I would be reimbursed from January.”

The gadget in question is a Wivai personal safety device consisting of a watch and an Alexa-style virtual voice assistant, aimed at single pensioners and enabling direct contact with the emergency services in case of falls and other accidents or problems.

Despite repeated attempts, The Olive Press was unable to speak to anyone at Nicole’s bank to clarify the issue.

Nicole Chandler
Nicole Chandler

The move coincides with a general change in conditions currently being introduced by many banks, possibly as a result of falling profits caused by COVID and to encourage customer loyalty in these volatile times.

Charges are currently being levied at customers for failing to meet a series of requirements, such as having direct debit systems set up for utility bills and receiving regular monthly payments of wages, unemployment benefits or pensions of at least €600.

In many cases this is the only way to avoid hefty commissions for ‘account maintenance’. Reports suggest that clients are sometimes being made to pay up to €250 for NOT receiving a required minimum amount of money in transfers and cheques over a three-month period.

Customers are encouraged to check their new rules and regulations very carefully and to raise any doubts they may have with their bank manager or advisor.

Glenn Wickman

Glenn is a trained and experienced journalist, having obtained a BA Hons degree in Journalism and Communication Studies with Spanish from Middlesex University (London) in 2001.
Since then he has worked on several English-language newspapers in Alicante Province, including 11 years at the Costa Blanca News.
He is trilingual in English, Spanish and Catalán/Valenciano, a qualified ELT teacher and translator with a passion for the written word.
After several years in Barcelona, Glenn has now returned to the Costa Blanca (Alicante), from where he will cover local stories as well as Valencia and Castellón/Costa Azahar.
Please drop him a line if you have any news that you think should be covered in either of these areas, he will gladly get in touch!

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