Newest Review: ... Euro in 3 month thanks to advice of the local branch manager Mr. Lopez buying a Solbank fond! I am not a paid writer like others here but ... more
A ray of Sunshine!
Member Name: chicklitreviews
Advantages: Easy to open account, friendly
Disadvantages: Took a while to get my debit card
Back in January I decided that I wanted to open myself a bank account so I could be able to buy books online rather than having to rely on being sent them to review/waiting for them to appear in the book swops here in Tenerife. I did a little bit of research on all of the banks here in Tenerife (Banca March, Santander, Caja Canarias, Halifax, BBVA, BankInter, Barclays et al) and I only had two requirements: That I could get my statements in English and that I could get a debit card.
I finally settled on the SolBank as they complied to my two requirements. I went with my mum to open my bank account and we used the Los Cristianos branch. I've been in the Fanabe office of the SolBank before and both offices are similar - spacious with two desks to the left, a room behind the front desks where all the files are stored, a couple of closed offices as well as two open plan desks. It's a very large office and has multiple posters on the wall telling you of all of the offers they, er, offer and each poster is translated into three languages: Spanish, English and German.
We entered the office (via the stupid button pressing you have to do to get into the front door) and told the lady on the desk why we were here. She pointed toward a man sitting at one of the open plan desks and told us that he would be with us in two minutes. After the man had finished what he was doing he beckoned us over, introduced himself (Raul), and asked why we were here. When I told him I wanted to open a bank account he asked if I had my passport with me as well as money to put in and I said yes, I had come prepared. He brought some forms for me to fill out - name, address, what language I wanted my statements in, what cards or perks I wanted (online banking and what not), job etc - and after filling everything in, Raul inputted it into the computer. While he input the information into the computer he talked to us about opening my account and he talked me through how the process worked. After inputting everything into the computer he brought out a bunch of papers for me to sign - my contract with the bank - which I happily did. Raul then presented me with my own copy of my contract as well as the slip indicating the amount I had put into the bank as well as all of the information I would need to use the online banking service the SolBank offered. Raul then mentioned that my debit card would not arrive for a week and to come back a week later to pick it up. The whole process took around 45 minutes and was fairly painless so I left the bank happy with my choice.
My parents were also looking to change banks - they were with Banesto bank who don't offer half of the things the SolBank offers (they don't even have any English speaking personnel) - so the next day, after hearing how easy it was to open an account, they decided to open themselves one at the SolBank too. The process was the same as above even though it was a joint account my parents opened. The only difference was my parents account is a "Prestige Care" account whereas, as far as I'm aware, my account is just a regular account - if I'm correct, you have to pay 30Euro when you open a "Prestige Care" account whereas I wasn't charged that. The two accounts appear to be the same so I have no idea why my account isn't classed as a "Prestige Care" account. My parents were also told that their debit cards would be in within the week and to come back to collect them then.
My mum and I went back a week later, expecting to pick up our debit cards only to find that the lady on the front desk didn't think they had actually been ordered. She apologised and ordered them again and told us to return in a week. It was a bit annoying, as my parents wanted to transfer all of their direct debits to the new account as soon as possible, but it obviously couldn't be helped. I did briefly wonder if we had made a huge mistake by picking the SolBank as our bank of choice - they didn't seem to be totally reliable! - but we decided to wait another week. The lady on the front desk took our number and told us she would ring once our cards arrived. She eventually rang on a Monday morning a week or so after she had re-ordered our cards to tell us we could pick them up. We went down to pick up the cards and had to sign some more papers before the lady on the front desk handed over our debit cards as well as a copy of the debit card contract for us to keep. Getting our debit cards took all of five minutes and we were finally sorted.
One of the big pluses of joining the SolBank was the chance to use the SolBank website to monitor incoming transfers for my parents, as well as the chance for myself to use it to see just how much I had in my account and to track ingoing and outgoing debit card purchases. You can find the website at http://solbank.com and the site is available in Spanish, English and German. I obviously chose the English version and although the website is a bit higgledy-piggledy when it comes to the design (for some reason some of the pages aren't coded properly), it's very easy to navigate the site and find out whatever information it is you're looking for. When I opened my bank account Raul gave me an envelope containing the pass-code to log into my SolBank online account and told me that I would have to enter my NIE/NIF (the number you need to obtain if you're going to live in Tenerife, it's essential for most things) as well as the pass-code in the envelope. I did so and was told to change my pass-code for security purposes. To change your pass-code you need to insert your old pass-code, insert your new pass-code twice and then after clicking 'Continue' you need to enter a confirmation code. You find your confirmation code on a plastic card you get when you open your account and receive the information to use the SolBank online service. I mainly use the online service to check my balance, as I mentioned. You can view your statements on your screen, in Microsoft Excel or in text format and I generally check it on screen before logging out again. You can also check tranfers/standing orders, SolBank points and can transfer money and what not. The website is immensely helpful and you can also learn about the SolBank and it's owners Banco Sabadell.
If you're wondering about the SolBank itself, it's owned by Banco Sabadell (along with SabadellAtlántico, Banco Herrero, Urquijo and ActivoBank) which is currently the fourth largest bank in Spain. Banco Sabadell has a presence in 18 countries and over 1600 financial institutions worldwide. As well as having branches in Spain, you can also find branches in the USA, France and UK as well as representation offices worldwide. (Taken from solbank.com)
As you can probably tell from my review, my (short) time with the SolBank has been fantastic so far and long may it continue. Their customer service is fantastic and the personnel are all incredibly nice and the fact they all speak English helps hugely. Sure, there was a slight bump when it came to receiving my debit card, but I have it now so what does it matter? I've used my debit card multiple times to buy myself some books and it seems I'm not charged for my transactions.
SolBank's website is immensely helpful if you're looking to open yourself an account and the staff are just as friendly when you go into the bank. Sometimes the queues can be long in the bank but that's true for ALL banks in Tenerife. If you go into a bank in Tenerife without a queue then you should consider yourself incredibly lucky! All you need to open yourself an account is your passport and money to put in, as per Raul, but it's better if you have a residencia/NIE (ideally you need both which can be solved by getting a residencia which also issues you with an NIE number) and make sure they're all original documents so they can be photocopied otherwise you'll find yourself having to make another trip with the originals! I wholly recommend SolBank - they seem to be the best bank in Tenerife - as far as I'm concerned anyway.
Summary: A fantastic bank!
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