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Bank cards, popularly called plastic money are a means of payment that can be used to:

  • Withdraw money from our bank account at ATMs and other places.
  • Pay for purchases of all kinds of products and services.
  • Obtain credit.

These cards can be of various types, namely:

  1. Credit cards The payments and cash withdrawals we make with it are not charged to our account at the moment but in a certain term that has been contracted. Therefore, they allow us to withdraw money, even if we do not have, at that moment, sufficient balance in the account.
  2. Debit cards the difference with the previous ones is that the money withdrawals and payments are charged to the account at the moment and, therefore, we must have money in it to be able to make them.
  3. Purse cards the money is loaded on the card itself to make payments with it and, when it runs out, we can reload the card again.
  4. Commercial cards are issued by commercial chains for their customers and can only be used in the centers of the chain that issued them.

User rights

The country’s consumer regulations establish the following:

  • To have a written contract.
  • Receive information on:
    • Instructions for use
    • Charging terms on credit cards.
    • Annual fees and commissions
    • ATMs and commissions that apply depending on which one.
    • Ways to file complaints
  • Periodic information on transactions.
  • Renewal or cancellation of the contract at maturity.

Obligations of users

  • Pay commissions and interest as contracted.
  • Not to exceed the contracted availability limit.
  • Diligently safeguard the card and PIN.
  • In case of theft or loss, inform the entity as soon as possible. In this case the user is liable for fraudulent payments up to 150€.
  • In case of loss or theft, inform the card issuer as soon as possible. In principle, the user would only be liable for fraudulent payments made before reporting the loss or theft up to the amount of 150€.

Obligations of the issuing entity

  • Deliver the card to the cardholder in a secure manner, the bank is responsible for the risks in sending the card and PIN.
  • To make available a network and commercial base for the use of the card.
  • To make the appropriate payments.
  • Send the customer, free of charge, a statement of transactions indicating date, concept and amount. At least once a month.
  • Provide information on interest and expenses.
  • Manage a record of the transactions made with the card that can be rectified in case of errors.
  • Provide the customer with free means to report losses, theft or fraudulent payments.

The bank is prohibited from issuing unsolicited credit or debit cards to the customer, except in the case of replacing a card already in the customer’s possession.

Cash withdrawal fees

In the case of cash withdrawals at an ATM, the entity that owns the ATM is prohibited from charging any commission directly to the customer who withdraws the money, but may charge it to the entity that issued the card which, in turn, may or may not pass it on to the customer who owns the card, if it charges it:

  • If the withdrawal is by debit you may charge (or not) your customer, in whole or in part, the commission you have paid to the bank that owns the ATM.
  • If the withdrawal is a credit withdrawal, you may also charge another commission (linked to the granting of the credit) in addition to that paid to the other bank, but this additional amount may not be greater than that charged to your customers for withdrawals from your own ATM network.

In any case, before withdrawing the money, the bank is obliged to inform, through the ATM screen, of the commission to be charged to the card issuer for the transaction and of the possibility that the issuer may pass this commission or part of it on to the customer.

The amount of the commission to be paid by the issuing entity to the ATM owner will be the amount freely agreed between the two entities or, if there is no agreement, the amount freely set by the ATM owner. This amount must be the same throughout the national territory and must not be discriminatory and will be reviewed every year.

Limits on surcharges and commissions

Card issuers are prohibited by law from charging any type of additional surcharge for the use of the card to pay for a product or service with the credit or debit card.

As for the commissions that card issuers charge to stores or other establishments where their customers make payments, there are limits depending on the type of card:

  • For debit card payments the maximum commission will be 0.2% of the payment made with a maximum of 7 cents. If the purchase is less than 20€ the maximum charge will be 0.1%.
  • For credit card payments the maximum commission is 0.3% and, if the purchase is less than 20€ the maximum is 0.2%.
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