Can I be sent an unsolicited card in the post?


You open up your letterbox to find a letter from the bank. They’ve sent you a card. Is it a debit or a credit card? It seems odd, since you haven’t asked for one or taken out any other product associated with a card. You call your bank to ask about it and they tell you “it’s a free card that offers substantial benefits and will come very much in handy”. You are unconvinced and decide that you don’t need it.

This scenario should not actually happen. The regulationsAbre en ventana nueva state that financial institutions must not send unsolicited cards to customers except as replacements, for instance when a card is about to expire. However, it does sometimes happen and can be confusing for consumers.

You are, of course, under no obligation to take out any unsolicited card that you are sent. As long as you don’t sign the contract, it’s not a functioning form of payment.  Also, for your peace of mind, the entire process of sending the card and the PIN is the institution’s responsibility, meaning the institution is liable for anything that happens during this stage.

Having said that, what should you do if you don’t want the card?

One option is to go to the financial institution’s office (or branch, if it is a bank) and decline the card. Another possibility is to contact the institution’s customer service department (the services of the institutions supervised by the Banco de España can be found hereAbre en ventana nueva).

In either case, it’s always a good idea to have a record of the notification. For instance, if you talk to the institution over the phone, you can send a follow-up email.  Also, to avoid custody issues, the best course of action is to destroy the card.

Lastly, if for any reason you think the card will be useful to you, before deciding to sign the agreement, check the terms and conditions carefully and if necessary ask the institution to provide full information on the type of card in question, the interest rate should it allow deferred payment, any associated fees, and so on. 

You can find more information on these products in the Payment Cards section of this portal.

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