Paying with Cheques in Spain

The use of cheques for payment in Spain and how to fill in a Spanish cheque...

Personal cheques (talón or cheque) are rarely used in Spain, and are not accepted as a form of payment by most establishments as they are not guaranteed (note: debit and credit cards are not cheque guarantee cards).

There may be certain situations in which a cheque is required, for example paying the deposit on a house to an individual. Before issuing any cheques, particularly for larger amounts, it's recommended to check the commissions that may be applied by the bank, and see if there are alternative and cheaper means of making the payment.

Note: Most banks calculate the commission for processing cheques as a percentage of the nominal amount of each cheque, so if a cheque is written for a large amount the commission will be very high.

An alternative method of paying by cheque is to request a Bankers Draft (Talón Bancario or Cheque Bancario), drawn on the bank and branch (Note: a fee is charged for a cheque issued by the bank).

According to the laws enforced by the Bank of Spain (Banco de España) it is illegal to write a cheque if there are not sufficient funds in the account to cover it. If this occurs, the account holder will have to pay a penalty, usually 10 percent of the excess amount, as well as the charges levied by the bank for processing an unpaid item.

Filling in a Spanish cheque

  1. Bank account details.
  2. The amount, following Spanish numbering conventions. The # character may be used before and after the amount to prevent it from being altered (it's not obligatory).
  3. Cross the cheque.
    Note: by default, most Spanish cheques are not crossed when they are printed, meaning they can be exchanged for cash by the holder of the cheque. This means that if the cheque is lost, it can be cashed by anyone that finds it. For security, cross the cheque with two lines as shown, and write the words PARA ABONAR EN CUENTA (For Payee's Account) in between the lines which ensures that the cheque can only be paid into the payee's bank account.
  4. PAGUESE POR ESTE CHEQUE A… = Pay this cheque to…
  5. The town in which the cheque was written (usually pre-printed on the cheque)
  6. Write the date of the cheque, with the date and year as numbers, the month in words (in Spanish), for example 19/10/2008 = 19 DE OCTUBRE DE 2008
  7. The cheque number.
  8. Signature goes here. (Note that the cheque does not include the account holder's name)
  9. The cheque number and account details in digital format. Do not write in this section.
Information prepared by Duncan Chuter, International Business Development Manager with Barclays Bank S.A. Spain Barclays Bank S.A. Spain website Contact the bank by e-mail Copyright © Duncan Chuter, Barclays Bank S.A. Spain All Rights Reserved