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Cash and credit cards on the camino...

Past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
This is just meant to give some hopeful perigrinos some hopeful advice on their spiritual journey. Its about how to pay for the stuff you'll need along the way. Mainly meant for US visitors. Might be obvious but I had to learn the hard way.

Again, this is based on personal experience. Your mileage may vary.

So every time before I go to Spain I tell the credit card companies I am going. If you don't, well, enjoy a phone call in the middle of whatever you are doing to get that card authorized. What's funny is that when i use an airline travel card to purchase my flight they already know I'll be traveling, but just to make sure I check in and let them know anyway. In my experience there is a web interface to do so.

I always use credit cards to stay at any hotel or other place that takes them. I have 2 "no foreign transaction fees" credit cards... (more on this later)

I like to have cash tho too, usually like 50 - 200 euros always. This is very useful when that tienda doesn't take credit cards and you really want that apple.

Getting cash at an ATM is just like in the US.... put your card in and enter your pin and get your money. Mostly... now sometimes that ATM rejects my card and quite frankly its a bummer. I have no clue why but maybe my card isn't connected to whatever network they are attached to. So I kinda figure out which banks work and which don't and go to the ATMs with a bank that does. This has never been a problem for me. In most places where you plan to get cash there will be multiple banks available, and one will work.

There is also the omnipresent question about exchange rates. I pay in local currency. There will be a choice. Not sure if this is the best route and more experienced travelers may have opinions.

Now, about those credit cards... I like to use them because they have an "anti-fraud" guarantee. See, sadly, on my last two caminos I came home to some suprises! Like a $5000 bed and breakfast charge in Germany. WTF? Wasn't me.

Wiped out by my friendly cc company.

I order new cc numbers when I get back now. Might be overkill.
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Always take the ‘pay in local currency’ option when paying by card and not in your home-county. The exchange rate is then calculated by your card-issuer not the payment-processor and 99/100 that’s in your favour.

If anyone knows of a credit card provider who will not refund a proven fraud, I’d be grateful to hear of them. Changing your cc numbers proactively on your return does sound excessive to me.

I prefer to use a cc with a known low (that’s a very relative statement) credit limit and no non-sterling transaction charges.

My bank and cc companies used to be interested if I was outside the country. Not now. it’s becoming more common to use two-part authentication and get a text or email to confirm a payment.

The vast majority of my Camino transactions are still cash. I bought a significant quantity of euros and dollars on Brexit night when sterling spiked. Probably my only positive spin on that event - anyway, I’m still spending them.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
All good advice.
Whist I carry a credit card, it's really just a backup.
My main 'card' is a Euro account debit card. That can be used to pay for stuff like any other card or used in the ATM to get cash.
It just avoids currency conversion charges.
I top up my Euro account now and again as I save for my next Camino.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
This is just meant to give some hopeful perigrinos some hopeful advice on their spiritual journey. Its about how to pay for the stuff you'll need along the way. Mainly meant for US visitors. Might be obvious but I had to learn the hard way.

Again, this is based on personal experience. Your mileage may vary.

So every time before I go to Spain I tell the credit card companies I am going. If you don't, well, enjoy a phone call in the middle of whatever you are doing to get that card authorized. What's funny is that when i use an airline travel card to purchase my flight they already know I'll be traveling, but just to make sure I check in and let them know anyway. In my experience there is a web interface to do so.

I always use credit cards to stay at any hotel or other place that takes them. I have 2 "no foreign transaction fees" credit cards... (more on this later)

I like to have cash tho too, usually like 50 - 200 euros always. This is very useful when that tienda doesn't take credit cards and you really want that apple.

Getting cash at an ATM is just like in the US.... put your card in and enter your pin and get your money. Mostly... now sometimes that ATM rejects my card and quite frankly its a bummer. I have no clue why but maybe my card isn't connected to whatever network they are attached to. So I kinda figure out which banks work and which don't and go to the ATMs with a bank that does. This has never been a problem for me. In most places where you plan to get cash there will be multiple banks available, and one will work.

There is also the omnipresent question about exchange rates. I pay in local currency. There will be a choice. Not sure if this is the best route and more experienced travelers may have opinions.

Now, about those credit cards... I like to use them because they have an "anti-fraud" guarantee. See, sadly, on my last two caminos I came home to some suprises! Like a $5000 bed and breakfast charge in Germany. WTF? Wasn't me.

Wiped out by my friendly cc company.

I order new cc numbers when I get back now. Might be overkill.
There is a list of Spanish ATM banks with the lowest fees on the Forum at https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...atm-cash-machine-fee-cheat-sheet.749/download
Thanks to @Ungawawa 😍
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Like many other pilgrims I slept with any valuables within my sleeping bag in a pouch beneath my feet and NEVER told anyone where and what they were!! Years ago in Trinidad de Arre an actor from LA who was bunked next to me asked anxiously "Where do you have your money?" As if on cue I rolled my eyes and answered "Why in the bank! And you?"

For further advice read this earlier thread with still useful tips on camino security
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
Debit vs credit is the issue. See, at least where I’m from debit doesn’t have the same protections as credit. Someone steals your debt account and you are screwed. Am I wrong?
Clearly, where you are from either Visa/MasterCard provide less service or you missed something. Where I am from there is no difference in terms of fraud protection.

In addition, for my personal protection I maintain a separate account with a relatively low balance and use the debit card for that account when I travel. I usually only hold up to $500 in the balance and top it up using electronic banking on my phone. It is not possible for someone to make a fraudulent charge of $5,000 from this account.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Debit vs credit is the issue. See, at least where I’m from debit doesn’t have the same protections as credit. Someone steals your debt account and you are screwed. Am I wrong?
You are generally correct - at least in the UK a credit card offers more protection in that your transaction is with the credit card issuer not the (purported) vendor. A debit card facilitates the direct transaction between you and the vendor. Getting the credit card issuer to actually take action isn’t as simple as it ought to be though.
 
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This is just meant to give some hopeful perigrinos some hopeful advice on their spiritual journey. Its about how to pay for the stuff you'll need along the way. Mainly meant for US visitors. Might be obvious but I had to learn the hard way.

Again, this is based on personal experience. Your mileage may vary.

So every time before I go to Spain I tell the credit card companies I am going. If you don't, well, enjoy a phone call in the middle of whatever you are doing to get that card authorized. What's funny is that when i use an airline travel card to purchase my flight they already know I'll be traveling, but just to make sure I check in and let them know anyway. In my experience there is a web interface to do so.

I always use credit cards to stay at any hotel or other place that takes them. I have 2 "no foreign transaction fees" credit cards... (more on this later)

I like to have cash tho too, usually like 50 - 200 euros always. This is very useful when that tienda doesn't take credit cards and you really want that apple.

Getting cash at an ATM is just like in the US.... put your card in and enter your pin and get your money. Mostly... now sometimes that ATM rejects my card and quite frankly its a bummer. I have no clue why but maybe my card isn't connected to whatever network they are attached to. So I kinda figure out which banks work and which don't and go to the ATMs with a bank that does. This has never been a problem for me. In most places where you plan to get cash there will be multiple banks available, and one will work.

There is also the omnipresent question about exchange rates. I pay in local currency. There will be a choice. Not sure if this is the best route and more experienced travelers may have opinions.

Now, about those credit cards... I like to use them because they have an "anti-fraud" guarantee. See, sadly, on my last two caminos I came home to some suprises! Like a $5000 bed and breakfast charge in Germany. WTF? Wasn't me.

Wiped out by my friendly cc company.

I order new cc numbers when I get back now. Might be overkill.
All good advice. Sadly most guides do not have ATM'S indicated and I got in trouble more than once. I was late and tired and trudged into Roncesvalles penniless, another three kilometers to the nearest machine and paying for private lodging was educational. ALWAYS have extra cash!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
On my first camino, I went from my albergue to the town centre in Sahagun to find a restaurant for my evening meal. On my way, I noted the location of a bank, where I planned to withdraw cash the next morning. In the town centre, I was accosted and followed by a local man who was trying to pick me up. I managed, with some effort, to avoid him and return to the albergue alone. The next morning, I took a different route than I had planned out of town, not going by the bank which I had passed the day before and where I had planned to withdraw money. Although I only met the persistent man who was attempting a pick-up shortly after I passed the bank the day before, there was no telling for how long he had been following me and I did not want to meet him while, or after, I was withdrawing money. It is important for solitary pilgrims to be aware of their security, especially while planning or carrying out financial transactions.
 

Robert Long

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct 2018
I always carry two credit cards and two ATM cards. WHY? I have had to report false charges on a credit card while on a trip only to have the cc company cancel my card and mail a new one -- TO MY HOME ADDRESS. Doesn't do me much good in Spain. So I always have a backup. As for ATM cards, I have had my card eaten by the machine. I am always careful to only use ATMs in the wall of a bank. I never use standalone ATMs. And I only withdraw cash at the ATM when the bank is open, in order to be able to get it back if eaten.

Buen Camino
 

MisterH

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2017, 2018 neither successful
All good advice. Sadly most guides do not have ATM'S indicated and I got in trouble more than once. I was late and tired and trudged into Roncesvalles penniless, another three kilometers to the nearest machine and paying for private lodging was educational. ALWAYS have extra cash!
There are additional problems with cash when traveling.

1. In Europe many coin operated machines take 1 and 2e coins. In the USA very few coin operated machines take anything other than quarters (.25 cent coins). Additionally many of the European machines accept paper money too. Again this is rare in the USA.
2. When returning, be sure to keep a reasonable amount of your home country currency with you. There are very few, if any, places where euros are accepted for anything in the USA. I was surprised by this when I wanted to get a bottle of water in the Chicago airport.
 
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CalgaryLynn

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
You are generally correct - at least in the UK a credit card offers more protection in that your transaction is with the credit card issuer not the (purported) vendor. A debit card facilitates the direct transaction between you and the vendor. Getting the credit card issuer to actually take action isn’t as simple as it ought to be though.
Yes, same as in Canada. I have always found them to be quite good in giving money back BUT it has never been as large amount as $5,000.
 

jcat

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
For those of us in the USA, a Charles Schwab debit card is a great travel option as they refund all (domestic and international) ATM charges. I also carry another ATM and credit card as backups.
 
Something to be aware of - if you have a pin longer than 4 digits you should change it before travelling to Europe - certainly Spain. I found that out when an ATM in Pamplona would not accept my 6 digit pin. Also a good idea to use numbers for your pin, not letters unless you also know the corresponding numbers. Many keypads have numbers only.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Another tip that was just made real to me. When you are making a purchase in Spain, using a credit card, if they ask you which currency you want it in, always choose Euros.

I just purchased something in Spain for about 117 euros. After putting in my CC info, the page asked if I wanted to pay in euros or dollars (about $151 or 2, I think it was). I am currently in the US. I chose euros, and as soon as I made my purchase, my bank notified me that I had just made a purchase of $143. That is a non-trivial difference if you multiply it out over the cost of a camino. The advice has been given before, but to repeat — always use the currency of the country where you make the purchase!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Like many other pilgrims I slept with any valuables within my sleeping bag in a pouch beneath my feet and NEVER told anyone where and what they were!!
I have always done exactly the same as you.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Another tip that was just made real to me. When you are making a purchase in Spain, using a credit card, if they ask you which currency you want it in, always choose Euros.

I just purchased something in Spain for about 117 euros. After putting in my CC info, the page asked if I wanted to pay in euros or dollars (about $151 or 2, I think it was). I am currently in the US. I chose euros, and as soon as I made my purchase, my bank notified me that I had just made a purchase of $143. That is a non-trivial difference if you multiply it out over the cost of a camino. The advice has been given before, but to repeat — always use the currency of the country where you make the purchase!
Laurie,

Also do make sure well before leaving home that your CC is not about to expire!!

April 1, 2006 in Cee on the Finistère camino I walked with 3 British pilgrims. At the local bank ATM my CC would not work, it had expired. Was this some crazy April Fools joke? While I wondered one British pilgrim, who by chance had the same last name as mine, kindly offered to lend me funds. Ouf!

Since then, of course, I always carried 2 up to date cards plus a stash of hidden cash.
 
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David with new Kit!

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
When booking a return flight from the UK to Spain its normal to get charged in £ sterling for the whole booking. But, last trip I booked a single ticket, returning from Spain with Vueling (booked while in the UK) and was automatically charged in Euros. It wasn't a problem as I use a Monzo debit card specifically for my holidays as its got no bank transaction charges, just the Mastercard base rate, which everyone has to pay.

So, if you book a single to Spain as you are unsure of your return date, watch out for the unexpected Euro charge on the return booking if using a European plane
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
Another tip that was just made real to me. When you are making a purchase in Spain, using a credit card, if they ask you which currency you want it in, always choose Euros.

I just purchased something in Spain for about 117 euros. After putting in my CC info, the page asked if I wanted to pay in euros or dollars (about $151 or 2, I think it was). I am currently in the US. I chose euros, and as soon as I made my purchase, my bank notified me that I had just made a purchase of $143. That is a non-trivial difference if you multiply it out over the cost of a camino. The advice has been given before, but to repeat — always use the currency of the country where you make the purchase!
You got this right and it’s super important. Be careful to always insist on paying the local currency when making a purchase. A similar situation can come up when you are using a ATM. Recently in Mexico I was offered an exchange rate and Ask if I would accept that rate. The rate that was offered turned out to be about 8% less favorable than what my home bank gave me. Just refuse to accept that rate. You will still get your cash.
I hadn’t run into this problem before but it looks like it’s possible for some banks to add 12% to the total cost of your whole trip.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I began my last camino, in 2019, in Madrid. Walking north through the city to join the Camino de Madrid, I stopped at a bank machine outside a bank to withdraw some cash for the walk. It came in a few large bills, with no option given for what denomination I wished. I took the money, and my receipt, into the bank to change the bills for something smaller which I could spend. I was told that the bank, and all its branches in Madrid except one, held no cash anywhere but in the exterior machines. I could go to that one branch to change my cash. But of course I could not go, given the challenges of a first day on camino. I managed somehow. My first night was in a hotel, so there was change from there. I don't know how widespread this situation is in Spain now. Hopefully, banks will have realized that, if they do not change large bills, it is possible to offer smaller ones in the machines. This is something to keep in mind for your next camino. If you stay in albergues, the smaller ones are not likely to want to accept large bills as payment and may have no facilities for processing credit card payments.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
Wondering if a prepaid Visa card bought in the states would be a good option for use in Spain?
I like to have more than one plastic option. I've been in situations where, for whatever reason, one of my cards was not accepted. It is handy to have a backup for those situations. Then you can meet your immediate needs and have time to sort the situation out with your card provider at your leisure.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I like to have more than one plastic option. I've been in situations where, for whatever reason, one of my cards was not accepted. It is handy to have a backup for those situations. Then you can meet your immediate needs and have time to sort the situation out with your card provider at your leisure.
I agree, partly from experience, as my former customary bank credit card has quit functioning during my last two foreign trips: now I have a second. My usual bank card, used to withdraw cash, may now have inadequate money in the current account for the costs of my camino. So I have a second to make withdrawals from a savings account. I am by temperament what used to be called a "belt and braces" person: two separate ways to keep your pants from falling down. But I acknowledge that unexpected events of all types can happen on camino and are likely to be more probable on a covid camino. There is still the opportunity to walk in faith.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
It is always necessary to be prepared with a Plan B and more in any effort.
Check above post number 8
 
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MisterH

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2017, 2018 neither successful
I used a debit card on a new bank account. Then I put a limited amount of cash into the account. And I gave my wife access to it. That way if I lost the card, a known and small amount of cash would be lost. As I used the money up, my wife would transfer more cash into the temporary account. This only worked because I was walking solo and she stayed home and I could call her and get more cash transferred.
 
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Priscilla NC

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
Yes on the need for more than 1 card. On my last Camino, I was notified by my bank (US) that someone had hacked my account. Their policy is to immediately stop any ability to use that account. And they could not send a replacement overseas. Thankfully I had another card I could use. And thankfully they stopped the use of the card so that my account could not be depleted!
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
I began my last camino, in 2019, in Madrid. Walking north through the city to join the Camino de Madrid, I stopped at a bank machine outside a bank to withdraw some cash for the walk. It came in a few large bills, with no option given for what denomination I wished. I took the money, and my receipt, into the bank to change the bills for something smaller which I could spend. I was told that the bank, and all its branches in Madrid except one, held no cash anywhere but in the exterior machines. I could go to that one branch to change my cash. But of course I could not go, given the challenges of a first day on camino. I managed somehow. My first night was in a hotel, so there was change from there. I don't know how widespread this situation is in Spain now. Hopefully, banks will have realized that, if they do not change large bills, it is possible to offer smaller ones in the machines. This is something to keep in mind for your next camino. If you stay in albergues, the smaller ones are not likely to want to accept large bills as payment and may have no facilities for processing credit card payments.
The trick is to choose an amount that is not a factor of 50. For example E90 or E110. Most ATMs are filled with 50s and 20s.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
The trick is to choose an amount that is not a factor of 50. For example E90 or E110. Most ATMs are filled with 50s and 20s.
As I understand it, the maximum amount which can be withdrawn from a Spanish bank machine is 300 euros. So I could request 290 euros, which should give me two twenties, in addition to the fifties. The only place that I regularly expect to be able to easily change fifties is a grocery store, assuming that Spanish people are still paying their grocery bills in cash. And I suppose, a restaurant, which would maybe prefer twenties but should be able to change a fifty. My calculations are a little different this year, as I expect to be staying in very few albergues, so costs will be higher, but I should be able to use larger bills to pay.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
As I understand it, the maximum amount which can be withdrawn from a Spanish bank machine is 300 euros. So I could request 290 euros, which should give me two twenties, in addition to the fifties. The only place that I regularly expect to be able to easily change fifties is a grocery store, assuming that Spanish people are still paying their grocery bills in cash. And I suppose, a restaurant, which would maybe prefer twenties but should be able to change a fifty. My calculations are a little different this year, as I expect to be staying in very few albergues, so costs will be higher, but I should be able to use larger bills to pay.
What about 280? That would get you 4 x 20's and is not much less.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Hmmm. this thread has me wondering if I should be opening an account in Spain to handle money for 6-8 months while I am there. I am about to be paid in euros for some work done for an EU-based research group and I already wish I had a spot to deposit it directly *as euros*.

Any tips for me? EU citizen, but without a permanent residence in the EU, generally paid in Canadian dollars, but occasionally in Euros by NGO’s in Europe. I will have a place in Granada starting Feb 1 it seems, but I won’t have it until I have it…. So the idea of a utility bill to go along with my identity documents seems a little elusive right now.

We do not have Santander bank in Canada.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
In the good old days ie 2004 to 2015 gas stations, especially large ones where truckers stopped, would change a 100€ bill if you bought something in the shop.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hmmm. this thread has me wondering if I should be opening an account in Spain to handle money for 6-8 months while I am there. I am about to be paid in euros for some work done for an EU-based research group and I already wish I had a spot to deposit it directly *as euros*.

Any tips for me? EU citizen, but without a permanent residence in the EU, generally paid in Canadian dollars, but occasionally in Euros by NGO’s in Europe. I will have a place in Granada starting Feb 1 it seems, but I won’t have it until I have it…. So the idea of a utility bill to go along with my identity documents seems a little elusive right now.

We do not have Santander bank in Canada.
Faye Walker,
Perhaps this article will be helpful re Spanish banks and Canadian accounts.

Good luck and Buen camino
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hmmm. this thread has me wondering if I should be opening an account in Spain to handle money for 6-8 months while I am there. I am about to be paid in euros for some work done for an EU-based research group and I already wish I had a spot to deposit it directly *as euros*.

Any tips for me? EU citizen, but without a permanent residence in the EU, generally paid in Canadian dollars, but occasionally in Euros by NGO’s in Europe. I will have a place in Granada starting Feb 1 it seems, but I won’t have it until I have it…. So the idea of a utility bill to go along with my identity documents seems a little elusive right now.

We do not have Santander bank in Canada.
From my experience in Sweden, they won't let you open a bank account without a Spanish Government ID number but one way around that is to ask your Canadian Bank if they have any partnerships with banks in Spain and if they do then ask your Canadian Bank to either ask their partner to open a Spanish account for you or to get a letter of introduction to facilitate you opening an account yourself when you are there.

Of the two choices, the first is the most reliable but sometimes hard to convince your local bank to go to the bother for you. They may try to fob you off with a letter of introduction but that may still not be enough to convince a Spanish Bank.

Edit: I have now read the article that @mspath posted and that seems to be much more recent than my experience which was about 12 years ago, so rely on that article more than my experience.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hmmm. this thread has me wondering if I should be opening an account in Spain to handle money for 6-8 months while I am there. I am about to be paid in euros for some work done for an EU-based research group and I already wish I had a spot to deposit it directly *as euros*.

Any tips for me? EU citizen, but without a permanent residence in the EU, generally paid in Canadian dollars, but occasionally in Euros by NGO’s in Europe. I will have a place in Granada starting Feb 1 it seems, but I won’t have it until I have it…. So the idea of a utility bill to go along with my identity documents seems a little elusive right now.

We do not have Santander bank in Canada.

My experience is US citizen in Portugal, yours is Canadian in Spain but maybe there are some similarities.

As someone who has a bank account in Portugal for similar reasons, it creates a bit of a headache at US tax time, but Canada may be different. On the European side, to open a bank account in Portugal you need a “contribuinte” number, to make sure you pay the taxes that might be owed on that money. All in all it is a headache, and I’m not sure I’d do it again that way but it does give me a small account in euros from which I can withdraw money when I’m in Europe, and that saves the two currency conversions. Since we are not talking about huge sums, though, the overall savings are probably quite small.

The times I have lived in Spain for a period of a year, we always just used our credit card as much as possible and did some big transfers from the bank and then held onto a lot of cash in the apartment. Not a very sophisticated banking scheme for sure, but it worked. 🤣
 
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OMG this year (2021) is all about ApplePay and I love it!

So during the height (or pit) of Covid in the USA I got into ApplePay because I just used my phone and the little cc machine with some tech for comms that was absolutely contactless and fast! Never had to pull out my card and insert it anywhere… just wave the phone, insert my personal code on the phone (or face recognition when not wearing a mask) and boom done…

Well, it’s the same, IF NOT EVEN MORE WIDELY ACCEPTED in Spain and it is just better then the whole insert/hand over your card thing we all used to do. I am in Spain now on the Norte, like day 18 or something like that, and I almost exclusively use ApplePay attached to my Chase credit card at all pensiones, restaurants, bars that take cc’s, and supermercados. In Spain they all have either fixed or handheld terminals that readily accept ApplePay. Like seriously, not one place hasn’t taken it. And I think the merchants prefer it too!

The best part is I don’t get asked for some PIN (which I don’t have)! The exact same credit card in its physical form sometimes requires a PIN… with ApplePay it doesn’t!

And I never have to pull out my wallet or go digging through my pack to find my card. Let’s face it, my phone is my camera and it’s always readily available in my pocket!

Now, about 3/4 of the time it asks me if I want to pay in EUR or USD just like the physical card too… I always choose EUR for the reasons stated by others. I don’t know what it’s charging me in when I don’t select an option, or if the vendor is just selecting it for me… but any significant charge I am always asked.

Seriously - ApplePay tied to my normal US travel card changes the payment ballgame. It’s easy, fast, convenient, and just cleaner.
 
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If my phone were to break, get lost, or more likely run out of charge, I still have my physical card buried in the “do not touch unless you really need it” section of my backpack… right next to my US passport and Pilgrim’s credential.
 

SioCamino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
That's really good to hear, thanks for the update @Damien Reynolds, i did wonder would the covid experience trigger the move to contactless payments for small purchases much like it has here in Ireland.
I'm assuming when you refer to Apple Pay you mean contactless payments so Google pay or simply tapping your credit card also works. Cheers!
 
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06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
That's really good to hear, thanks for the update @Damien Reynolds, i did wonder would the covid experience trigger the move to contactless payments for small purchases much like it has here in Ireland.
I'm assuming when you refer to Apple Pay you mean contactless payments so Google pay or simply tapping your credit card also works. Cheers!
SioCamino, have you got a revolut account? I have just put in my toes, but so far, it works. A brother who travels to Ireland from Scotland uses it as his payment method for whatever he needs to spend. He lodges money in it from his bank account from time to time to cover those expenses.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I agree, partly from experience, as my former customary bank credit card has quit functioning during my last two foreign trips: now I have a second. My usual bank card, used to withdraw cash, may now have inadequate money in the current account for the costs of my camino. So I have a second to make withdrawals from a savings account. I am by temperament what used to be called a "belt and braces" person: two separate ways to keep your pants from falling down. But I acknowledge that unexpected events of all types can happen on camino and are likely to be more probable on a covid camino. There is still the opportunity to walk in faith.
I would say, @Albertagirl, that you have good anticipatory planning skills. 😀 After all, you are in a foreign country, and having money or credit available is vital, unless you plan to live off the land or beg your way to Santiago!
 

SioCamino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
SioCamino, have you got a revolut account? I have just put in my toes, but so far, it works. A brother who travels to Ireland from Scotland uses it as his payment method for whatever he needs to spend. He lodges money in it from his bank account from time to time to cover those expenses.
Yeah @kirkie that's how i use GooglePay actually.... I didn't feel comfortable linking it to my actual bank account so its linked to my Revolut... Which is linked to my credit card. I just use the revolut app to top up the amount whenever i need to and the use the GooglePay app on my phone to pay. I have a revolut card but never activated it (its on my list of things to do tonight because i might use it for my trip..... I'm heading to France TOMORROW!!!! to start the Aragonés from Somport - Can. Not. Wait.)
 
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06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Yeah @kirkie that's how i use GooglePay actually.... I didn't feel comfortable linking it to my actual bank account so its linked to my Revolut... Which is linked to my credit card. I just use the revolut app to top up the amount whenever i need to and the use the GooglePay app on my phone to pay. I have a revolut card but never activated it (its on my list of things to do tonight because i might use it for my trip..... I'm heading to France TOMORROW!!!! to start the Aragonés from Somport - Can. Not. Wait.)
Buen camino! I look forward to your reports!
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
OMG this year (2021) is all about ApplePay and I love it!

So during the height (or pit) of Covid in the USA I got into ApplePay because I just used my phone and the little cc machine with some tech for comms that was absolutely contactless and fast! Never had to pull out my card and insert it anywhere… just wave the phone, insert my personal code on the phone (or face recognition when not wearing a mask) and boom done…

Well, it’s the same, IF NOT EVEN MORE WIDELY ACCEPTED in Spain and it is just better then the whole insert/hand over your card thing we all used to do. I am in Spain now on the Norte, like day 18 or something like that, and I almost exclusively use ApplePay attached to my Chase credit card at all pensiones, restaurants, bars that take cc’s, and supermercados. In Spain they all have either fixed or handheld terminals that readily accept ApplePay. Like seriously, not one place hasn’t taken it. And I think the merchants prefer it too!

The best part is I don’t get asked for some PIN (which I don’t have)! The exact same credit card in its physical form sometimes requires a PIN… with ApplePay it doesn’t!

And I never have to pull out my wallet or go digging through my pack to find my card. Let’s face it, my phone is my camera and it’s always readily available in my pocket!

Now, about 3/4 of the time it asks me if I want to pay in EUR or USD just like the physical card too… I always choose EUR for the reasons stated by others. I don’t know what it’s charging me in when I don’t select an option, or if the vendor is just selecting it for me… but any significant charge I am always asked.

Seriously - ApplePay tied to my normal US travel card changes the payment ballgame. It’s easy, fast, convenient, and just cleaner.
Outside of the USA that is how most credit cards work, you just present them to the terminal, no insertion required.
 
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Ok… I am having trouble inserting quotes from the beach on the Norte but yes, I assume google pay, etc works as well.

I am also differentiating between “tapping” your card and ApplePay because with ApplePay I don’t even have to pull out my card or wallet from my backpack or carry it in my pocket. All I have to do is have my phone, which I always have anyway. In my opinion this is far more convenient and makes it so that I am less likely to lose important stuff by not pulling things out of my bag all the time.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Have been using Apple Pay at home more and more…
For those who aren’t aware, it is, of course, at the very root of things, tied to my bank. Apple simply contact my bank in the transaction for the money… and *done*.
There are 3 features I really like about it over a credit card transaction:

1) for things that will be shipped, for example, from @ivar in the Camino Forum store, Apple Pay automatically ships to my home address.

2) ease of security for the online transactions: it uses my fingerprint to verify that it is I doing the shopping, and I don’t need to remember a PIN.

3) at a payment terminal, I can use Apple Pay from my watch (in which case it’s using other biometrics for security, i.e., if someone else were to take my watch, none of the features would work (and I can lock anyone/everyone out of the watch should it ever go missing). It also has a tracking feature (as does my phone, tablet, etc) so that it can be found if lost/stolen. Disabling tracking renders the watch etc. useless.

I think there are similar products in the Android ecosystem.

I’ll be interested to see what is available in 2022 (if/when) I am in Spain.
 
Past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
Ok, more on ApplePay… I choose to have it connected to my credit card rather than my debit card for reasons described previously. But everything else she said… on the Camino I don’t have to pull out my wallet! Ever!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I started using Google Pay on the Camino a few of years ago because it was so much more convenient. Back then I didn't have a contactless card or a PIN for my credit card, which is standard in Europe, but not the US. It was always a bit of a hassle for the vendor to have to print out a receipt for me to sign, since that's not the norm in Spain. And, as @Damien Reynolds says, it's usually much easier to pull out my phone which than a credit card.
I can also pay by tapping my Fitbit on the terminal.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I started using Google Pay on the Camino a few of years ago because it was so much more convenient. Back then I didn't have a contactless card or a PIN for my credit card, which is standard in Europe, but not the US. It was always a bit of a hassle for the vendor to have to print out a receipt for me to sign, since that's not the norm in Spain. And, as @Damien Reynolds says, it's usually much easier to pull out my phone which than a credit card.
I can also pay by tapping my Fitbit on the terminal.
Debit and credit cards in the UK are now being issued with no ‘raised’ numbers and no magnetic stripe - they’re ‘chip only’ and the contactless payment limit is soon to be raised to £100. That’s likely to be universal, outside the US, fairly soon.

Even some buskers and opportunistic street vendors accept contactless payment now.
 
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