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Bank/ATM machines in Spanish/English

Stephanie Martin

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino in Sept/Oct/Nov 2022 (via the French route)
Hi all,
I'm wondering if the money withdrawing machines in Spain have English words too? Also, when using card to make transactions at the pharmacy etc., what are the words/word to select before keying in a pincode. For eg., in NZ, we usually have the options of 'Cheque' or 'Savings' to make payment with, before we enter the next screen for the code. Thank you.
 
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Hi all,
I'm wondering if the money withdrawing machines in Spain have English words too? Also, when using card to make transactions at the pharmacy etc., what are the words/word to select before keying in a pincode. For eg., in NZ, we usually have the options of 'Cheque' or 'Savings' to make payment with, before we enter the next screen for the code. Thank you.
Cash machines (ATMs) are multi-lingual; including English

I’m not familiar with the cheque/savings option, but someone will be along shortly.

Always elect to pay in euros not your home currency.
 
This year there were many more "tap your card" payment options than before. At a pharmacy and almost everywhere else they will run your card with euros automatically. At the bank ATM you may also have to choose this option. Choose English from the bank menu. It is one of the first questions they will ask.

Make sure your card is touch or tap enabled. My debit card was rejected multiple times at ATM's requiring calls to our home bank. Finally the bank told us to stick the card in the machine as we do at home which worked. I know now that this particular card was not touch or tap enabled although our credit cards are.
 
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Cash machines (ATMs) are multi-lingual; including English

I’m not familiar with the cheque/savings option, but someone will be along shortly.

Always elect to pay in euros not your home currency.
I get asked the Checking account/Savings account question at the ATM here in Greece, but I haven't come across in in shops.
 
Hi all,
I'm wondering if the money withdrawing machines in Spain have English words too? Also, when using card to make transactions at the pharmacy etc., what are the words/word to select before keying in a pincode. For eg., in NZ, we usually have the options of 'Cheque' or 'Savings' to make payment with, before we enter the next screen for the code. Thank you.
The ATM’s in Spain normally offer the native language of the card automatically. You will not have a problem.
 
Bear in mind that different banks levy different transaction charges, depending on the bank and your card.

Sabadell charges me nothing; Santander once asked for a whopping 6 euro. Check them all.
 
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All ATMs I used 2019 were pan-european with multiple languages. English of course, too.
One ATM in Leon I used offered even Hebrew and Georgian as choice.

Depending on the connection and your bank account you can be asked which account do you want to use. On my card I have access to my checking account, my savings account and an investing account. But I was asked only 2 times by banks that are somehow connected to my bank at home (Caja Rural and ABanca). Shops usually only use the checking account, the transfers from those accounts are insured.
 
This information is such a relief! I remember being in Honduras and the ATMs I went to came up in Spanish and I couldn't understand anything!
 
Hi all,
I'm wondering if the money withdrawing machines in Spain have English words too? Also, when using card to make transactions at the pharmacy etc., what are the words/word to select before keying in a pincode. For eg., in NZ, we usually have the options of 'Cheque' or 'Savings' to make payment with, before we enter the next screen for the code. Thank you.
Hi Steph, hopefully you will carry a debit or credit card rather than a Kiwi EFTPOS card. You can't use an EFTPOS card in any other country unless it has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it.

In general, you won't be asked about Savings and Cheque overseas.

If you do get asked then choose Savings or Cheque so that you don't get charged Cash Withdrawal interest on your credit card.

If you do have to use your credit card (vs debit card) account then be aware that if you use it in an ATM machine to withdraw cash then you will be charged (the very onerous) interest rates specified by your bank immediately.

If you want to avoid this then either ask your bank for a debit card before you leave and put money into this account, get a third party debit card like the Wise Visa that gives you much better exchange rates than your bank or make sure that your credit card account is well in credit before you get to the ATM. This way your ATM withdrawal will come out of your funds and you won't pay horrendous interest charges.

Edited for clarity.
 
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This is a bad photo, but it was taken at a bank machine in Spain when I was using a Canadian debit card. It did ask me!
Yoohoo! First prize. This is available when collected in person.
 
This is a bad photo, but it was taken at a bank machine in Spain when I was using a Canadian debit card. It did ask me!
I have noticed that I'm not usually given the choice of checking or savings account, but that "current" account is the correct choice.
 
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that "current" account is the correct choice.
But what if I prefer to withdraw from the savings account? I took the photo because I was trying to do that and it kept coming from the chequing account. When I got home, my bank said that my newer (savings) account wasn't set up right. They presumably fixed it, but I'll need to wait until next year to confirm.
 
But what if I prefer to withdraw from the savings account? I took the photo because I was trying to do that and it kept coming from the chequing account. When I got home, my bank said that my newer (savings) account wasn't set up right. They presumably fixed it, but I'll need to wait until next year to confirm.
I should have said that "current" account takes the money from my checking account.
 
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Before I left I set Gpay up on my phone and just used that the entire time. I didn't have to insert a card ever. This was seriously one of the most convenient things I have done.

Contactless(paywave) is wide spread and the terminals won't ask which account you want to use.
 
Before I left I set Gpay up on my phone and just used that the entire time. I didn't have to insert a card ever. This was seriously one of the most convenient things I have done.

Contactless(paywave) is wide spread and the terminals won't ask which account you want to use.
Are you talking about using your phone to pay at point of sale or withdrawing cash from ATMs?
 
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Hi all,
I'm wondering if the money withdrawing machines in Spain have English words too? Also, when using card to make transactions at the pharmacy etc., what are the words/word to select before keying in a pincode. For eg., in NZ, we usually have the options of 'Cheque' or 'Savings' to make payment with, before we enter the next screen for the code. Thank you.
Stephanie, my tuppence worth...

In Lauraca on the Camino del Norte this am. Needed to withdraw cash using a debit card from my (Irish) Current account. €300.

Bank no. 1 declined Caixa Bank

Bank no. 2 accepted BBVA

Both banks had English facility, immediately, both banks were contactless. I did not have to "put" my card into the machine.

BBVA charges 2.70 for the transaction.

Not sure why 1 above declined.

Anyway happy I got my money 💰
 
Just wondering.. if there is a transaction fee on foreign debit cards by the retailers in Portugal/Spain. My bank told me that there is no fee charged by my local bank when using their debit card. Just wondering about the other party...
 
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Just wondering.. if there is a transaction fee on foreign debit cards by the retailers in Portugal/Spain. My bank told me that there is no fee charged by my local bank when using their debit card. Just wondering about the other party...
Retailers, shops, bars, restaurants, will not apply a transaction fee. Their costs are already included in the retail price. You may encounter a fee when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Someone has to pay to keep the shareholders and pension funds happy.
 
Retailers, shops, bars, restaurants, will not apply a transaction fee. Their costs are already included in the retail price. You may encounter a fee when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Someone has to pay to keep the shareholders and pension funds happy.
So much variance around. For UK folks some UK banks charge a fee for EU transactions, ATM and retail, typically 2.99%, and some don’t so get a card which doesn’t. Monzo, Metro for example. Transaction fees charged by Spanish backs vary. Many charge, some don’t. €7 seems to be median average. Spent most of last two years in Spain and banks seems to change rates a lot. Currently use Deutsche Bank who don’t charge fees at ‘point of sale’ but they largely operate in the big cities rather than small towns.

Huge growth in option to pay in either Euros or GBP in bars and restaurants! Pretty much every transaction I do ( even a €3 glass of wine) offers me this option! Be careful and don’t get screwed over! Alway local currency!
 
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You won’t encounter surcharges at retail points of sale but you will see “direct currency conversion”. This is when the POS offers the choice of euros or your card’s home currency.

Always choose euros! There is a huge markup hidden in the exchange rate, upwards of 9%.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
You won’t encounter surcharges at retail points of sale but you will see “direct currency conversion”. This is when the POS offers the choice of euros or your card’s home currency.

Always choose euros! There is a huge markup hidden in the exchange rate, upwards of 9%.
This is virtually everywhere in Spain now! I get offered Euros vs GBP at 1.12 at retailers/ATMs and the spot rate is 1.18. Pound had a good run versus the Euro last cpuple of years so don’t miss out!!
 
They hide their fees in the exchange rate that they use.
Well when I asked them, they said they'll charge according to the visa/mastercard rate. No additional fee (credit cards will have a 2% charge). Hope its as true as they say. Will have to test it out when I get there. I'm from Malaysia btw.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
You won’t encounter surcharges at retail points of sale but you will see “direct currency conversion”. This is when the POS offers the choice of euros or your card’s home currency.

Always choose euros! There is a huge markup hidden in the exchange rate, upwards of 9%.
And then your bank will also do a conversion, so you get hit up with double conversion fees.
 
If you have Google Translate on your phone, you can put it in vice video mode where you point the camera at the screen and it will live translate whatever words it sees. I've used this in Bali many times as their ATMs don't have English at all, it's very helpful
 
Well when I asked them, they said they'll charge according to the visa/mastercard rate. No additional fee (credit cards will have a 2% charge). Hope its as true as they say. Will have to test it out when I get there. I'm from Malaysia btw.
Try both methods to test it, but as someone who has tested this a lot - it has always been 1-3% more expensive using my native currency
 
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Try both methods to test it, but as someone who has tested this a lot - it has always been 1-3% more expensive using my native currency
Ah they do recommend charging in Euro. What I meant was that using a credit card there will be a transaction feed of 2% (or much higher when using a credit card to withdraw money at the atm) but no fee with the debit card when using at retail stores (and a flatrate of something less than €3 at atms)
 
Ah they do recommend charging in Euro. What I meant was that using a credit card there will be a transaction feed of 2% (or much higher when using a credit card to withdraw money at the atm) but no fee with the debit card when using at retail stores (and a flatrate of something less than €3 at atms)
Ohhh gotcha, yeah agreed 👌
 
Fee per withdrawal everytime except when using my own bank (santander)

As cash machines are sometimes few and far between I withdrew enough for a week ( guessed) and only made 4 withdrawals. Most places take card nowadays but if you need cash for anything, don't leave it until the last minute to grab some if a machine appears. Easy enough to just withdraw in the larger towns or cities. As others have said, the machines often will often use your home language but the words are easy to work out if not
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Cash machines (ATMs) are multi-lingual; including English

I’m not familiar with the cheque/savings option, but someone will be along shortly.

Always elect to pay in euros not your home currency.
Hey, Henrythedog
I have seen this suggestion of choosing euros instead of home currency. I wonder if you will tell me why--my little brain says it makes more sense for me to choose the US $ since I know exactly what I will be charged. If I choose euros, then (I am told) the exchange rate is not what is happening at the moment I purchase, but whatever the rate is when it goes through the vagaries of bank transactions (even though in this digital age such things are pretty much instantaneous). My sense is you are correct because a few years ago at a pension the owner practically cheered when I chose US dollars which I interpret as giving him more money. I just don't inderstand how.
 
Hey, Henrythedog
I have seen this suggestion of choosing euros instead of home currency. I wonder if you will tell me why--my little brain says it makes more sense for me to choose the US $ since I know exactly what I will be charged. If I choose euros, then (I am told) the exchange rate is not what is happening at the moment I purchase, but whatever the rate is when it goes through the vagaries of bank transactions (even though in this digital age such things are pretty much instantaneous). My sense is you are correct because a few years ago at a pension the owner practically cheered when I chose US dollars which I interpret as giving him more money. I just don't inderstand how.
Here's an article that explains things
 
Hey, Henrythedog
I have seen this suggestion of choosing euros instead of home currency. I wonder if you will tell me why--my little brain says it makes more sense for me to choose the US $ since I know exactly what I will be charged. If I choose euros, then (I am told) the exchange rate is not what is happening at the moment I purchase, but whatever the rate is when it goes through the vagaries of bank transactions (even though in this digital age such things are pretty much instantaneous). My sense is you are correct because a few years ago at a pension the owner practically cheered when I chose US dollars which I interpret as giving him more money. I just don't inderstand how.
Simply put, they ATM gives you a worse exchange rate than whatever your bank does. They profit from it. And your bank may still end up charging you a fee for using a foreign ATM. So the cheapest option is to just choose the local currency - so the ATM bank doesn't get any cut, and your own bank just takes their standard amount.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
They hide their fees in the exchange rate that they use.
Indeed, don’t think because the fee is low or there is no charge that you are getting a better deal. They may be charging you a much higher exchange rate for non europeanunion transactions.
 
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Note that on some ATMs, the language is selected by flags. Americans need to tap the UK flag for English.


-Paul
 
Arriving in Madrid on Sept. 13th. Is there an ATM with reasonable fees at the airport ?
 
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Arriving in Madrid on Sept. 13th. Is there an ATM with reasonable fees at the airport ?
The bank ATMs at the airport should charge the same fees as those in town. Don't use machines that say "currency exchange" or similar.

Here's a list of ATMs at the airport.

I have heard that the Euronet ATMs charge higher fees (not just at the airport, but everywhere)
 
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Hey, Henrythedog
I have seen this suggestion of choosing euros instead of home currency. I wonder if you will tell me why--my little brain says it makes more sense for me to choose the US $ since I know exactly what I will be charged. If I choose euros, then (I am told) the exchange rate is not what is happening at the moment I purchase, but whatever the rate is when it goes through the vagaries of bank transactions (even though in this digital age such things are pretty much instantaneous). My sense is you are correct because a few years ago at a pension the owner practically cheered when I chose US dollars which I interpret as giving him more money. I just don't inderstand how.
The technical term is “direct currency conversion” and it allows the merchant’s bank or whichever bank operates the ATM to hide an obscene markup in the exchange rate, upwards of 9%.

If you charge in euros, the currency conversion will be much closer to the interbank rate which is the best there is.

This morning I withdrew 80 euros from my Schwab checking account and it came it $80.29.
 
The bank ATMs at the airport should charge the same fees as those in town. Don't use machines that say "currency exchange" or similar.

Here's a list of ATMs at the airport.

I have heard that the Euronet ATMs charge higher fees (not just at the airport, but everywhere)
From a UK cardholder standpoint, most of the major Spanish banks are charging €6 or €7 per transaction irrespective of location and irrespective of withdrawal level. I assume other nationalities are same. Have been using Deutsche Bank last couple of months in Valencia which is ‘fee free’, comparable rate, and has very clear instructions when the EUR/GBP conversation rate is offered. They quote the mark up rate which I think is 2.5% Obv always press EUR! Don’t think there is one at airport but if you can get into Madrid without using cash you should find on there.
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Thank you for the information. We still have some euros from our trip last year. We found ATMs near where we are staying in Santiago before heading to Tui. Has anyone used luggage storage in Santiago ? We want to leave a luggage in Santiago and retrieve it at the end of our Camino.
 
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The technical term is “direct currency conversion” and it allows the merchant’s bank or whichever bank operates the ATM to hide an obscene markup in the exchange rate, upwards of 9%.

If you charge in euros, the currency conversion will be much closer to the interbank rate which is the best there is.

This morning I withdrew 80 euros from my Schwab checking account and it came it $80.29.
Thanks for explaining!
 
The technical term is “direct currency conversion” and it allows the merchant’s bank or whichever bank operates the ATM to hide an obscene markup in the exchange rate, upwards of 9%.
I believe that it's dynamic currency conversion.

Here's an article on how it works and why you should avoid it.

These are the main points of the article

DCC.jpg
 

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