Bank account holders in Spain face identity crisis


MANY bank customers have until the end of the month to prove who they are or face having their accounts frozen.

A law first passed in 2010 aimed at preventing money laundering and funding of criminal and terrorist organisations is finally coming into force from April 30.

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It requires banks to hold digital ID of their customers to pass on to the authorities. But despite having had five years to get their act together some banks have only recently started notifying their customers to provide identification. For many it has come via a message in Spanish when withdrawing money from cashpoints, something that may have left English-speaking expats in the dark.

Those who have opened accounts since 2010 may not need to take action as the information should have been recorded when they signed up. Many more, however, who have held accounts longer may face having their accounts frozen without receiving any notice, leaving them unable to honour direct debits, pay bills or withdraw cash.

That is because accounts opened years ago before digital information was filed are likely to need clarification of identity.

A valid NIE (or DNI for Spanish nationals) or a valid passport will be necessary. In addition you could be asked for a contract of employment, an income tax return, an IVA receipt, a utility bill, a recent payslip or a DAE, which is a statement of economic activity.

One bank employee told Euro Weekly News: “You wouldn’t believe the chaos this has caused, both for the bank and for our clients. We face so much anger and criticism from our customers but the freezing of accounts is conducted by the Bank of Spain and our hands are tied. We cannot legally delay matters while clients collate their documents.”

Anyone unsure of their position should check with their bank.


  1. I attended my bank (BBVA) and gave all the documents and information they required. They even set up on-line banking for me. They told me I had now done everything needed and was in the clear. Yet I am getting letter after letter after letter, telling me to go to my bank and provide all the above, which I have already done. With all their postage costs, it is no wonder they charge so much in commissions.

  2. It’s about time, not only in Spain but other countries too. Where nationalities have best of two lives, We are also living in the age of Terrorism, Where Money is fatal to their needs. I know it’s ok for me to say.has i’m not in their situation,but all it needs it your papers to prove who you are..

  3. The idea is good, this should also check many Political office holder from other countries that stealing money meant for the development of their people to foreign banks. If other countries can follow this line peace will soon come to the World.

  4. I was told yesterday, 22/4, by email – which of course I mistrusted as it asked me to send the details by email . . . ! I have until 30/4 to do it. Pathetic incompetence, yet again

  5. We went to our bank this morning, with pass ports etc.; and they told us that the information was, and I quote ”a load of B/S”.As long as you keep them in the loop when you renew your passport, no action, such as freezing an account will be taken!

  6. We had an account with (BBVA) got fed up with their attitude a few years ago after 25 years banking with them and opened a new account at Sol Bank, best thing we ever did and when we closed the account a (BBVA) they didn’t even ask why !!

  7. Having retired some years ago I am a non resident regular visitor to our property on the Costa Blanca. To my knowledge I have not as yet been affected by the ‘recent’ implementation of the 2010 changes to Banking requirements. I do however get increasingly frustrated at regular legislative ‘changes’ that the Spanish authorities tntroduce. These ‘changes’ always seem to target law abiding visitors and residents alike in an effort to increase the complexity and difficulties of living in such a beautiful country. I do not condone tax evasion or avoidance and try to comply with all that I am asked to do when I am asked to do it. However yet another rush to comply with yet another requirement leaves me wondering – why the Spanish system is so pleased to benefit from the fees and taxes that I pay but less pleased to have me actually in country. Inefficiency or simply incompetence?


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