Yes, it’s not a typo, you’ve read correctly: bank, not banks. To be completely honest, I’d tell you to avoid ALL banks in Spain (the system is ridiculous AND they’re only opened M-F until 2:30PM!), but if you are a current or future Auxiliar de Conversación, you will need a bank account in order to get paid. So here it goes. There are several banks, but I can only speak about one: Banco Santander.
I want you to know that there are a lot of options for you and I suggest you do your research first. Trust me, I did my thorough research before finally signing up with Santander and still didn’t get the best. Caja Madrid was one of my last two options, but circumstances sort of forced me to pick Santander.
One of those circumstances includes a bank representative at Caja Madrid bank telling me that I needed an initial deposit of 700€ to open an account with them (when I know it’s not true). The funny thing is that I didn’t even get to touch the chair to sit down and talk with him; therefore, there were no questions asked, no help or options offered, and he just completely disregarded me as a possible client. I just walked away because first impressions matter for the customer, as well. The exact address of this bank is: C/ General Aguilera, 12, Ciudad Real, Tel. 902 246 810. Evidently, I don’t recommend it.
Banco Santander became an option because it is a big bank and many students and people who lived here in Spain before recommended it. Also, I thought that since it is in the United States (in the form of Sovereign Bank), that it could (somehow) allow me to link to my US bank, or PayPal. Well, I am able to link to PayPal, but a transfer from the bank can take up to 14 business days. Unreliable.
The unreliability with PayPal didn’t bother me as much as the following: Banco Santander has taken the freedom to charge its customers random fees without explanation. They charged me a 15€ fee for a debit card that I never received. Then, there were “liquidación del contrato” fees that nobody really understands. If my Spanish is correct (I’m a native speaker), liquidación del contrato means “termination of contract”—I have ended no contract with them or anyone linked to my bank.
When I called my branch inquiring about these fees, the rep had no idea what they meant and suggested I waited until the fees cleared. I then called the customer service center and the explanations they gave me made no sense.
I found out I wasn’t the only one. On an Auxiliares Facebook page, discussions about Santander Bank look something like this:
Those are just some of the most recent comments I’ve seen. I won’t cancel my account with Santander because I’m closer and closer to the end as an Auxiliar. As for good banks, I’m clueless, but I’ve read a lot of posts by now about BBVA bank being a good bank. Doesn’t hurt to try.
Well, enough said—you’ve been warned, my friends. 🙂
- In Banco Santander, a Microcosm of Spain’s Troubles (247wallst.com)