Fees for issuance of cheques used for house purchase.

When purchasing a home, in addition to savings, the buyer usually has recourse to bank financing, normally in the form of a mortgage loan. It is common for the customer to withdraw the full amount of the funds (the savings and the loan) on the day of the purchase of the property, through the issuance of a bank cheque or, sometimes, by means of an urgent transfer.

For this type of financial transactions, banks ask us, from the outset, to provide the information and documentation they need to evaluate and approve the mortgage loan. They therefore know, from the time of that initial request for information, what these funds are going to be used for and how we are going to pay the third party selling the property.

For this reason, in its 2020 Complaints ReportAbre en ventana nueva, the Banco de España has reinforced the disclosure requirements for banks when issuing cheques in overall financing transactions for the withdrawal of funds received, in addition to the those already provided for in Ministerial Order EHA/2899/2011 of 28 October 2011 on transparency and customer protection in banking services.

In this context, it has been established as a best practice criterion that banks notify the customer of the fees and costs associated with such cheques when providing the pre-contractual information for the main transaction (e.g. when arranging a mortgage loan, at the time the ESIS is provided). In addition, the information must be provided not only in percentage terms, but must also indicate the exact amount.

This criterion is also applicable when the funds received in the financing operation are withdrawn by means of a transfer.

Thus, along with the pre-contractual information for the main product (which includes the interest and fees applicable to the financial transaction), specific information must be provided from the outset (on paper, electronically or on another durable medium) on the cost of the bank cheques (or transfers) that need to be issued.

This is to ensure that customers are aware, from the time they request information about financing, not only of the cost of such financing, but also of the cost of issuing cheques and/or transfers, so that they can compare them with those offered by other banks and make an informed decision about the option best suited to their interests.

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