I’ve had enough concerned enquiries now to warrant a post about a looming deadline that seems to have been talked up to induce panic. As a result of money laundering legislation introduced in April 2010, banks have until 30 April to verify the ID of any customers they haven’t already got confirmed ID for. This is all banks in Spain, and on 1 May, or the 2nd really because the 1st is a public holiday, they are saying that accounts will be frozen in any cases where ID remains unconfirmed.
Please note that the requirement only applies to bank customers for whom the bank does not already hold digital copies of their documentation, i.e. passport for British account holders, Certificado de Registro for resident accounts, and possibly confirmation of economic information (perhaps the last tax return, or confirmation of autonomo status, depending on what is requested). There is a great deal of annoyance among both public and commentators that the banks have had the past five years to organize this, and that having left it until the last minute, they are now working flat out, into the evenings often, to get everything done in time – and if they don’t manage to achieve that, it will be the public who suffer.
Anyone who is in any doubt as to whether their bank has their confirmed ID should contact their bank urgently, but if it is a relatively new account, within the last few years, there will be no need for concern because all accounts opened since the legislation came into force have required digital ID in any case. Moreover, it is the banks’ responsibility to chase this up, not the customer’s, so if they haven’t been in touch, there really is little cause for concern. The only people with a potential problem are those whom the bank needs to contact but cannot because their contact details are not correct or are not up to date.
The main thing for everyone to bear in mind given the hype is that if an account is frozen on 2 May for lack of confirmed ID, it will be reopened immediately on presentation of the documents needed. The situation is not one that a concerned bank customer should ignore, but it is not cause for worry either. I hope this helps clarify the situation.