Taking Your Money To Spain

Going to Spain and want to take some Spending Money?

Thanks to the abundance of cash machines, gone are the days of having to go to your hometown bank for travellers cheques. I hated doing that what a bother.

Personally I dont think theres any need  to buy foreign currency before your trip so read on to see why. Some tourists feel like they just have to have euros or British pounds in their pockets when they step off the airplane, but they pay the price in bad stateside exchange
rates. Wait until you arrive to withdraw money. I’ve yet to see a Spanish airport that didn’t have plenty of ATMs and after living here for 16 years now they are everywhere.

Don’t bother with traveler’s checks. They’re a waste of time (long lines at slow banks) and money (fees to get them, fees to cash them). 
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted networks in Spain.

Tell your bank before you travel to Spain

Because of fraud and theft, banks monitor spending patterns for all of their customers. If something out of the ordinary happens – like a sudden spike in spending overseas – they can block or limit the bank card while checking there is no foul play.

Tell your bank your plans before you go. If you don’t, you could find your card is blocked, leaving you out of cash. Simply call into your local branch to make sure your travel plans are recorded in your account details before you go.

Davids Top Tip.

Exchange rate fees at ATMs in Spain (DCC)

The biggest thing to watch out for while you travel is dynamic currency conversion (also called DCC for short).

DCC is where you’re offered the choice of paying for a transaction or cash withdrawal in your home currency instead of the local one. If you say yes, the exchange rate used to calculate the cost of your transaction is selected by the merchant or ATM operator. Often it’s not the real, mid-market rate, which you’d find on google. Instead, the merchant will add a markup to the exchange rate and then pocket the difference. You’ll get a better deal if you always choose to pay in the local currency instead.

Your home bank’s fees

Unless you’re very lucky there’s a good chance you’ll have charges for international ATM usage added to your transactions by your own home bank. There are a small number of specialist bank accounts which do not add charges – but aside from these, it’s common practise to find fees for the privilege of accessing your cash overseas. Santandar offer the best rates at the moment as they have branches in the UK and all over Spain.

Can I get free cash withdrawals in Spain?

Yes but This depends on who you bank with at home. If you have an account with a global name like Santander, then it’s worth checking if your account type qualifies for free or reduced fee cash withdrawals from Spanish branches of the bank.

But even if you don’t bank with an institution which has a presence in Spain, it’s still worth asking your home bank if they have a partner institution based there. Often banks work together across borders to offer their customers free or reduced fee cash withdrawals, from specific ATMs overseas. Check out the options from your own bank before you travel, to make sure you get the best deal.

Are there any tips to avoiding ATM fees in Spain?

Even if you can’t get rid of fees altogether, you can reduce ATM fees in Spain with a few simple tricks.

Choose your card wisely

All bank accounts have their own fee structures for international ATM use. Some are reasonably priced. Some less so.

If you have more than one credit or debit card to choose from, it’s worth checking out which offers the best deal for overseas cash withdrawals. if you travel often, you could even open a new account specifically for use when you’re abroad, with a bank which offers a good deal on overseas cash withdrawals.


Always choose to pay in the local currency

Remember DCC? Don’t let the ATM operator take a slice of your cash without you even realising it. Avoid this by choosing to pay in local currency, to dodge DCC’s high fees and poor exchange rates.

Personally I travel a lot and normally only take a very small amount of local cash its just easier to use cards now. I also use apple pay with my iphone that i even use in my local supermarket here in the hills of Spain at my wifes small village .

If you are like me and have friends or family visiting then why not give them a few euros in cash when they come to get them started and ask them to give you a few Pounds in return as they leave that way neither pays any commission. You only really need a small amount say 50 euros to get you by until you can get to a cash machine.

Hope this has helped just leave a like or comment thanks David

More great tips and advice in my new books…

British expats in Spain

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