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ATM fees - which ones are a rip-off?

notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
Since I got my preloaded currency card to avoid the predations of my UK bank's steep ATM fees and awful exchange rate, I've been paying more attention to the fees charged by the Spanish banks to use their ATM's, which seem to vary widely.

I started a list on my phone last year of the culprits that had steep fees:
BBVA
Sabadell

Can anyone add to this list, or recommend cheaper ones?
 
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brian560

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, VdlP 2016, Port. Central, Norte , Port. Coastal (2018).San Salvador and Primitivo (2019)
Since I got my preloaded currency card to avoid the predations of my UK bank's steep ATM fees and awful exchange rate, I've been paying more attention to the fees charged by the Spanish banks to use their ATM's, which seem to vary widely.

I started a list on my phone last year of the culprits that had steep fees:
BBVA
Sabadell

Can anyone add to this list, or recommend cheaper ones?
If you're walking the northern camino, Leiberbank has no charges. The cash machines in supermarkets appear to have no charges either
 

Felice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
If you have a Santander card, not only do they not charge you an ATM fee, they also do not charge you the 2.75% currency conversion fee, I believe. Only applies in Spain though.

And if you need to use plastic to pay for something, use a Halifax Clarity card. No fees there too.
 
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None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Last edited:

Jay Es

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017 the del Norte, home via the Portuguse to Vigo, Planning a Via de la Plata for October 2018.
Santander charge €5. BVA charge €2 Caixa €5
Best is Liber Bank is free. Iber Caja is free.
 

aname4me

aname4me
Year of past OR future Camino
2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, (2021)
I am Canadian and last Fall I used the IberCaja

They were a challenge to find (a few times) but charged NO Service Fee
 

Roland49

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I drawn 3 times on my CF last year and was charged ~1,70€ per withdrawal.
I used the Caja Rural, that's the equivalant network as my bank at home.

Many pilgrims I've met in bigger supermercados used the chance to withdraw cash at the cashier as they pay for their goods they bought. That's free most of the time.

Anything above €2 is too much in my opinion.
 
Last edited:
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I drawn 3 times on my CF last year and was charged ~1,70€ per withdrawal.
I used the Caja Rural, that's the equivalant network as my bank at home.

Many pilgrims I've met in bigger supermercados used the chance to withdraw cash at the cashier as they pay for their bought goods. That's free most of the time.

Anything above €2 is too much in my opinion.
Thanks for that reminder. I had read that certain places may allow you to add your ‘cash’ withdrawal to the sum of items purchased in a store with your card and avoid the bank cash machine fee.
 
Last edited:

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Caixa €5

Caixa charges seem to vary according to whether your bank corresponds with them either directly or indirectly -- fun fact, I once paid fees on a bank to bank transfer even though I was technically an employee of both banks at the same time on the transfer date (so contractually free at each end), because the transfer went through a third party bank which charged a fee.

Personally though, I pay no withdrawal fees at Caixa ATM, and as it's € to € no exchange commissions either ..
 
Last edited:

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
You should realize that many of those “no fee” machines make up for it by charging you a worse exchange rate, so the only way to REALLY know the cost if your withdrawal is only AFTER you take your money out and your home bank processes it. 😔

In short, they will always get their piece of the action...
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
Well I also feel sorry for Spanish people - in the UK we can use any cash machine at any bank for free (apart from the gougey ones in corner shops which people only use when intoxicated..😆)
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Santander such a bunch of gougers!
Yes, but with my Charles Schwab debit card they remove ALL fees, so Santander bank is no issue for me to use! I then step inside and exchange some of the larger bills for smaller ones.
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
Unfortunately the Schwab card is only good for the Americans on this forum. If you're European, you'll need to shop around a bit more. I currently use Starling Bank for no-fee withdrawals around the world.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Santander such a bunch of gougers!
Not really!
Santander members can withdraw cash without incurring any charges whatsoever whilst in Spain ....from a Santander bank only ...also their exchange rate is pretty good from my many years experience with them and there's a Santander bank in almost every town
When PAYING with a Santander debit card however...charges are incurred ...therefore we have a Santander ZERO credit card for this purpose
By using both at different times in Spain, we haven't ever paid a penny in charges
 

caminka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
see signature
what about stepping inside a bank (if it's there and it's open) and withdrawng the cash from the cashier? do they charge any extra fees there too? (apart from the exchange rate which is no issue for euro-using countries.)
 

Roland49

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Thanks for that reminder. I had read that certain places may allow you to add your ‘cash’ withdrawal to the sum of items purchased in a store with your card and avoid the bank cash machine fee.
As far as I am informed it's possible at EROSKI, MERCADONA and LIDL as a service. The small oldtown stores won't offer that service, but the bigger ones will.
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I had read some years back about it being a possibility in the larger stores - but hadn’t thought of using it or asking at a supermercado..
never a harm in asking.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
what about stepping inside a bank (if it's there and it's open) and withdrawng the cash from the cashier? do they charge any extra fees there too? (apart from the exchange rate which is no issue for euro-using countries.)
Hi,
We tried that a few times but they always direct us to the ATM which are usually outside the bank
Also we always ..and only..take out money from the ATM when the bank is open
Years ago we tried to take out money in Finistere and the machine "ate" the card. we then had to wait till 10.30 the morning after to get it back!
Not ideal if one wants an early start.
Annette
 

caminka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
see signature
Hi,
We tried that a few times but they always direct us to the ATM which are usually outside the bank
Also we always ..and only..take out money from the ATM when the bank is open
Years ago we tried to take out money in Finistere and the machine "ate" the card. we then had to wait till 10.30 the morning after to get it back!
Not ideal if one wants an early start.
Annette
I thought that might be the case. ripping us off at the ATMs.
pilgrims have reported that you need to take out the card immediately after the transaction, otherwise the machine will eat it and possibly destroy it - a security measure.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi,
We tried that a few times but they always direct us to the ATM which are usually outside the bank
Also we always ..and only..take out money from the ATM when the bank is open
Years ago we tried to take out money in Finistere and the machine "ate" the card. we then had to wait till 10.30 the morning after to get it back!
Not ideal if one wants an early start.
Annette
Yep, I only get cash from ATM's in Spain during bank's business hours too. I had a card "eaten" as well on my first camino and learned my lesson.
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
You may know already but I'm maintaining a "cheatsheet" image which you can all save to your phones. It lists the fees of all the different banks, from free up to 5 euros. It's the result of another forum discussion where everyone contributed their experiences. Wherever possible I've verified the fees personally. Not getting overcharged by banks has become a minor obsession for me ;-)

See here:

My one line summary of all of the above is this:
Liberbank or Ibercaja, and when not: ABANCA!
 
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Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdeP-FIN(09/2018)
PORTO-SANT(11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe(01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT(09/2019)
Madrid(7/2020)
Since I got my preloaded currency card to avoid the predations of my UK bank's steep ATM fees and awful exchange rate, I've been paying more attention to the fees charged by the Spanish banks to use their ATM's, which seem to vary widely.

I started a list on my phone last year of the culprits that had steep fees:
BBVA
Sabadell

Can anyone add to this list, or recommend cheaper ones?
Halifax Clarity card has no charge to use, no commission or loading fees 🤠
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
Since I got my preloaded currency card to avoid the predations of my UK bank's steep ATM fees and awful exchange rate, I've been paying more attention to the fees charged by the Spanish banks to use their ATM's, which seem to vary widely.

I started a list on my phone last year of the culprits that had steep fees:
BBVA
Sabadell

Can anyone add to this list, or recommend cheaper ones?

It's good to stress that fees can come from two different sources : your bank or the Spanish bank / ATM owner. The cheatsheet list I mentioned should let you avoid fees from the latter. For the former, in the UK you can try either Metro Bank or Starling Bank for banks which give you a Mastercard debit card which is fee-free in Spain, and in the case of Starling, for the whole world.
 

JanelMcB

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (2018)
Since I got my preloaded currency card to avoid the predations of my UK bank's steep ATM fees and awful exchange rate, I've been paying more attention to the fees charged by the Spanish banks to use their ATM's, which seem to vary widely.

I started a list on my phone last year of the culprits that had steep fees:
BBVA
Sabadell

Can anyone add to this list, or recommend cheaper ones?
If you open an account with Charles Schwab, you can get their credit card that will work at an ATM. They do not charge ATM fees. If you do get charged, CS will reimburse you at the end of the month.
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
If you open an account with Charles Schwab, you can get their credit card that will work at an ATM. They do not charge ATM fees. If you do get charged, CS will reimburse you at the end of the month.
Schwab is definitely the best choice for pilgrims from the USA, but it's unfortunately not an option for Europeans, who instead have to do a combo of having a good home bank and being careful which brand cash-machine they use if they want to avoid the fees.
 
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Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2020)
For US based pilgrims, I’ve had luck with a capital one 360 debit card. Never a charge from them, and they even refund fees from overseas banks. Or they did the last time I was in Europe. On the other hand, I have an old account with them so I might be grandfathered in. Check their terms and conditions for yourself.

And it’s funny, that bank account actually started out as a ING account, but then Capital One gobbled up ING’s American division. I have a different bank account that started out when I was a small child. A small neighborhood bank with a passbook. But bigger and bigger banks kept gobbling various smaller banks (there were at least 3), Until I ended up with an account with one of the big international banks. There’s the story of the financial system in a nutshell, and why fewer and fewer people end up with most of the wealth.
 

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