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Abbey customers to get free ATM use in Spain

Santander ATMs won’t charge UK customers

Abbey logo

Santander, the Spanish bank that owns Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley, is to stop charging UK customers for using its ATMs in Spain.

The move coincides with the beginning of the re-branding process that will see the Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester names disappear in 2010.

On Monday 11 January, Santander will begin re-naming Abbey and Bradford & Bingley branches. From this date, adult bank account customers who credit their accounts with at least £1,000 a month will be able to make free withdrawals from 4,300 Spanish cash points.

Alliance & Leicester will be re-branded as Santander later in the year, and its customers will also benefit from free Spanish withdrawals once the changes are complete.

Fee-free cash withdrawals

Abbey customers withdrawing money from ATMs in Spain must currently pay several fees for taking out their money. These include a cash handling fee of 1.5% of the transaction (minimum £1.99) and a foreign exchange fee of 2.75% of the sum withdrawn.

Santander claims that a UK customer who withdraws €130 on three occasions from a Spanish ATM will be £15.51 better off after their holiday once these charges have been scrapped.

The bank says that in the last year, 22% of the cash withdrawals made from Abbey accounts at overseas ATMs occurred in Spain. It predicts that if all of its customers who visit Spain next year use a Santander ATM, they could collectively save as much as £2m.

Your best options for holiday spending

Withdrawing money from ATMs in other countries, or spending on your credit card or debit card overseas, can prove very expensive if you pick the wrong plastic.

While Santander’s announcement is good news for customers who choose to visit Spain, it will not affect those who go to other destinations.

Which? researchers have identified the Nationwide Flex account debit card and the Post Office Platinum MasterCard as the best cards for holiday spending. You can read more about using credit and debit cards on holiday in our Travel money guide.

The Travel money guide also contains advice tracking down the best foreign currency deals and buying traveller’s cheques.

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