Do I Have to Be in Spain to Close My Spanish Bank Account?

Do you have a Spanish bank account that you forgot all about? Or perhaps you had to leave Spain quickly, as a result of the pandemic, and didn’t have time to visit the bank. There are many reasons why you might want to close your Spanish bank account from outside Spain: but is it possible? The short answer is yes: you can close most Spanish bank accounts from overseas, but you are likely to find the process to be time-consuming and challenging. Here’s everything you need to know about closing your Spanish bank account from outside of Spain:

Each Bank Has Their Own Rules

The first thing you need to know is that there is no universal or overarching rule dictating how to close your Spanish bank account from overseas. This means that the Spanish bank that you hold your account with, and the kind of account you have, will have an impact on whether you can close it remotely.

According to the Bank of Spain “an account can always be cancelled at any time and without notice. And within 24 hours of the request, the entity must have closed it” but this should be considered ‘best practice’ rather than reality. The Bank of Spain’s client portal also specifies that “these particularities must be included in the contract, and signed by the client, after having been informed” meaning that the original contract you were issued when you opened your bank account will state more clearly whether you are obligated to close your account in person.

If the bank you choose doesn’t have a customer service office, or offers minimal customer service support, then they’re more likely to allow you to close your account remotely. Banks that would fall into this category include N26, Revolut, EVO Banco, Bnext and Openbank.

If you opted for a more traditional branch with plenty of branches around the country then it’s more likely that they would require you to visit a branch in person in order to close your account. The reason for this? Because each account that is opened acts as a performance indicator for that branch: the branch is therefore responsible for any important account actions, including closing the account.

Closing Your Account Remotely

If your bank will let you close your Spanish account remotely then there are three main ways of doing this: online, by the phone, or by post. Here is a brief outline of how you can make these three methods work for you:

Online

Closing your bank account online is likely to be easiest if you already have access to online banking, or if you have a bank account that can only be used exclusively online. Closing your account online might sound simple, but it’s not the whole process: many banks will still require that you go into your branch to sign the cancellation documents and hand in your bank card and cheque book. For this reason, it’s worth calling the branch after you’ve closed your account online, to ensure that it’s been closed properly and you have nothing left to do.

Over the Phone

Some banks will allow you to close your account over the phone by calling a customer service representative rather than seeing them face-to-face. It is more common to be allowed to close your account over the phone if you opened it over the phone, and you should be prepared to answer a myriad of security questions to ensure that the process is safe and secure.

By Post

If closing your account over the phone or online hasn’t been successful for you then you can send a certified letter from your home country to your bank branch in Spain.  This letter should clearly state your desire to close your account and include information such as your name, address and ID numbers, the details of the bank, branch and account you would like to close, and you should enclose your bank cards and cheque book with the letter too.

By sending a certified letter, you will receive a certificate stating that your letter was delivered: at this point, you should call your bank branch to clarify that your account has been closed and request an account cancellation certificate. It’s important to check that your account has been properly closed, as otherwise your account could still incur charges.

What Happens If I Can’t Close My Account Remotely?

If you have tried all of the above steps, and your bank still won’t allow you to close your account remotely, but you are unable to return to Spain to do this in person, then it’s time to contact a lawyer. A good lawyer will be able to advise you on the next steps you can take, and help you to close your account as soon as possible. Often there are workarounds to ensure you reach your goal: Santander, for example, won’t let you close a current account online but if you switch your account to an online account then you will be able to close it online and complete the process remotely.

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