Cash and cheques
Banks have the option of either waiting for the cheque to clear before crediting the customer’s account or crediting the account straight away, subject to the cheque’s clearing. Either way, the account credit depends on the cheque’s actually being paid, so if the cheque fails to clear, any credited amount must be repaid, and a charge will be levied. Banks are required to inform customers if this happens.
Banks will sometimes inform account holders that the money paid by cheque will not be available for a few days. This is because there is a difference between the date on which the account is credited and that on which the funds actually become available. Good banking practice on clarity and transparency require banks to give full information to customers when they present a cheque for payment. In particular, customers must be informed that the funds will not be available until the cheque has cleared.
Banks are not legally obliged to change high-denomination banknotes for low-denomination ones, nor to provide foreign exchange services.
Banks may therefore charge for these services or for other services such as money counting, coin packaging, etc.
Banco de España does not provide this service and banks are under no obligation to do so either. Any banks that do will normally charge a fee. The European Central Bank website gives information on exchanging national currency and has links to the various national central banks.
In Spain cheques normally have to be presented for payment within fifteen days of signing, but there is a six month period before their final expiry. This means that a cheque ceases to be valid six months and fifteen days after the date it was issued.
Bank cheques or banker’s drafts normally expire after five years, pursuant to the first final provision of Law 42/2015 (in Spanish).