Information prior to opening an account: what you need to know


You’ve decided to open an account at a bank. Whether in-branch or online, the bank gives you reams of paperwork and documents that you need to read carefully before you sign. You thought it was simple, but you find yourself deep in text to decipher…

But don’t fret. There’s good reason for all of those documents. Essentially, they are there to help you better understand the product and allow you to compare it with other accounts offered by the competition. Here’s a rundown to help you understand it all a little better:

  • One sheet you will be given is the fee information document. It will feature a symbol of a stack of coins under a magnifying glass. This document is brief and easy to understand. It informs you about the fees for using the main services linked to the account. You can use it to compare these fees at a glance with those of other accounts. Equipped with this information, you can then choose the account that suits you best.
  • You will also be provided with pre-contractual information for the account, which describes how the account works and its features. The most important information will be highlighted in bold. It is often extensive. The bank may provide you this information in a draft version of the contract itself or in one or more separate documents. The name of the document may vary. Some banks call it the FIPRE, others refer to it as the pre-contractual information document. Its purpose is to provide you with full information about the account before you sign.
  • When opening an account, you are typically offered one or more cards. Accordingly, you must be provided with the corresponding pre-contractual information, which will set out the associated terms of use and cost. Again, the most important information will be highlighted. For credit cards, you will also be given the European Standardised Information sheetAbre en ventana nueva, which summarises the features and costs of the credit so that you can compare it with other offers on the market.

Lastly, keep in mind that your bank must explain anything that you do not understand or that you would like clarified, so don’t hesitate to ask.

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