A new mandate has been issued by banks in line with Law 10/2010 on the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism. This law requires banks to hold copies of their customers valid and in-date ID on-file and to contact any customer with an incomplete file so that a copy of the relevant documents can be promptly provided. Banks must contact the affected customers via letter, email or SMS but if you do not receive notification, it means the bank is already in possession of your details, even so, it may be a good idea to double check your status just in case.
The accounts of any customer who does not submit their paperwork on time will be deactivated on the 1st May 2015 rendering any credit and debit cards inoperable and preventing access to online banking systems. However, if the necessary details are made available within three months from the 30th April, the account can easily be reactivated. After this period, things will become more complicated because the account will form part of the banks’ Memorandum Accounts but that does not mean the loss of the balance that existed at the time of closure.
This is not a new law by any means, banks have had the obligation to store copies of their customers’ ID since the year 1993, however, the above-mentioned law that came into effect in 2010 states they have a new obligation to preserve digital copies to prevent loss or deterioration of hard copies. The law allowed a 5 year period in order to give banks time to organise their departments and fulfil their obligations and this period comes to an end on 30th April 2015. Recent changes to the configuration of Spanish bank accounts from the traditional 20 digit bank account number to the current European standard of 24 digits are another reason why they have been ordered to comply with this law.
Statistics show that in Spain there are some 70 million bank accounts in existence, 50 million of which belong to individuals as opposed to businesses and banks used this fact to try to obtain an extension on these administrative obligations but their request was denied because the Economic Minister felt that it is their responsibility to ensure that all customers are correctly identified and the origin of funds is known.
If you prefer to avoid possible interruptions in the use of your bank account, check in with your bank and make sure they have all the information they require to maintain your account active.