Many banks charge commissions for each entry that is made into the account. And its cost varies, according to a study carried out by the financial users association Asufin, between 0.18 and 0.80 euros per operation. With regard to operations subject to this fee, for example, payments for subscriptions to audiovisual platforms or the electricity or telephone bill may be accounted for, although they are not, as a general rule, income or cash withdrawals, which would be exempt. In the case of companies, card charges, as they are charged another fee for using the dataphone. On this occasion, it was not individuals who raised the alarm about the existence of this charge, but companies, which tend to have more bills in their accounts and for which the bill for this commission could skyrocket.
The financial entities consulted – the main ones operating in Malaga and in the country – argue that, although the commission is in operation, very few of their clients, both individuals and companies, must pay it, as those linked to it are exempt from paying. , that is, those who have a closer relationship with the bank, because they have their payroll or pension deposited and several receipts, and who also perform a minimum operation with credit cards, have investments in investment funds or pension plans and make periodic insurance contributions. In addition, in many cases, accounts of young people or vulnerable people do not have to assume this fee either.
The commission per note rises to this value, according to a study prepared by Asufin.
From Unicaja, for example, they explain that they have several programs that allow the exoneration of the administration fee, which reaches 65 cents per operation; whereas its scope is limited, as it only applies to operations complementary to the cash service inherent in each account; and that its effect is limited to individuals.
In the opinion of Antonio Luis Gallardo, head of studies at Asufin, what the application of this type of commission seeks is to “expel” non-profitable clients to banks, that is, those who do not have many contracted products and do not leave much business to the entity. In short, the final objective pursued, adds the specialist, is that each client operates with a single bank, which does not have accounts in other entities, since diversifying savings would be expensive. Although it should always be remembered that the deposit guarantee fund protects with a limitation of 100,000 euros per customer and entity.
From Adicae, Luis García warns about current accounts with almost no movement and which may have incurred commissions when updating them. Also, remember that this is a charge that has been more frequent among banks than among savings banks. Although recently it was a bank, BBVA, that stopped charging. It took that decision in mid-2022. Although its major competitor in the Spanish market, Santander, although it does not apply the launch fee to individuals in any account – except in foreign currency -, it charges the Santander Legal Persons account (although the entity clarifies that in the vast majority of its clients the conditions are individualized).
Financial entities use, to defend the existence of this charge per note, that in this way whoever has a more voluminous operation pays more. In this way, they also argue, an increase in the maintenance fee is avoided. It would be, in the words of its defenders, a progressive charge according to the intensity of the operation carried out by individuals or legal entities, as it usually taxes both types of customers. Although with differences.
The commission per point is usually limited for private customers, but not for companies and self-employed
In this way, the fee per entry is usually limited for the former (for example, about a dozen operations per quarter are usually free and the charge is a maximum of 9 euros every three months, in the case of Unicaja).
But there are no maximums for companies and freelancers. Although this fee sometimes also takes the form of an annual management fee –sometimes equivalent to the maintenance fee–. Thus, the rate applied by CaixaBank amounts to 240 euros per year, but the commission per point is not included. And something similar happens with Sabadell, whose ‘business’ account has a fee of €100 per year for administration if the relevant linking requirements are not met. This entity also has another business account that requires an annual review of the conditions to verify the link and assess the renewal of the conditions – for example, the exemption of commissions –.
Gallardo explains that the most common thing is for private customers to pay a maintenance commission that includes a certain number of movements and, in case it is exceeded, the transaction fee will start to be applied -as long as the necessary link. However, the expert explains that for freelancers and companies it is more common to apply this commission per transaction. And indeed, between them the account can become quite voluminous, since there are no limits on its total amount. Although financial sources specify that when dealing with companies, the conditions are more “personalized”: each case is attended to, depending on the operation they present or the type of activity.
Bank of Spain role
Comparing charges made by different entities using this administration concept or by note is more complicated than doing it with other types of bank fees. And one of the reasons is that entities are not obliged to send the Bank of Spain information about this specific commission. According to the regulator, banks are free to establish the administration commission they decide; there is no legal limitation.