When clients of ours buy or sell a property in Andalucia, we do all we can to make the process as simple, enjoyable, transparent and cost-free as we can. Unfortunately, sometimes we are let down by other players in the chain, as happened recently.

A vendor client of ours had returned to Germany to live and no longer had a Spanish bank account. When the sale went through the buyer's lawyer agreed to cancel the bank guaranteed cheque which had been issued that morning and he made a transfer in the same amount to the vendor's euro account in Germany. A straightforward favour, which should have cost little money.

Imagine our surprise when the vendor sent an email to say that Banco Popular had charged €1.227.51 to make a transfer of  €182.625.00. No exchange, just one click of a mouse to effect the transfer. Absolutely outrageous. And when it was challenged by the lawyer, the claim fell on deaf ears. His request for a refund was continually passed around from office to office. Delaying tactics, hoping that it would be forgotten.

Banco Popular will never again see an account opened by any of our clients. Whatever damage we can do to their business, we will.

The cheapest and most efficient bank is ING Direct. If you are happy to do your banking online they are by far the best and the cheapest. But if you are the sort of person that likes to go into a bank regularly they are not idea as they have few branches: one in each of Granada, Málaga, Sevilla and Cádiz.

Author: Allan Hilder