The majority of Spanish banks have increased their commissions on debit and credit cards since January according to the Bank of Spain (article in Catalan, Avui). The annual administration cost of a debit card has gone up by an average 7.9 percent since the start of the year, bringing their average cost to €16.66, while the cost of credit cards has risen by around 6.5 percent to an average of €33.30 a year. As such, if a client has both a debit and a credit card, they are paying around €50 annually for them, which is 10 percent more than this time last year. The main exception to this trend is on-line banks although there are also a few traditional banks that haven’t raised their commissions. Consumer associations say that customers should be more demanding and critical with their banks, look around for the best deal for bank services and be willing to negotiate.
Authorities in the southernmost Catalan county of Montsià are searching for a lioness who was allegedly spotted by various people last weekend (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Rural agents, the nature protection service of the Guardia Civil and the Catalan police have initiated the hunt in the mountains of Sénia following reports from locals that they had seen the wild animal. The first notification happened on Saturday, but it wasn’t until more people contacted the authorities on Sunday that the search operation was started. As well as looking for the lioness, officials are trying to work out where the animal may have come from; one possibility is a circus that recently passed through the area.
The funds for the 2000E scheme to increase car sales in Spain will come to an end on Saturday, thanks to the success of the plan, while the results from a similar campaign in Catalunya, AutoCat, have been below what was expected (article in Castilian, El Periodico). Some 4,000 cars have been bought through the Calatan scheme, which provides financial aid to people who want to buy a new car in exchange for their existing car that has to be at least 10 years old; in Catalunya, the amount given is €1,500 with €500 contributed by the Generalitat and the rest by the car companies, but when AutoCat was approved in May, it was thought that up to 20,000 cars could be sold thanks to the initiative. The scheme has run parallel to the state-wide 2000E Spanish project, with both aiming to help the local car industry which has suffered as a result of the current economic crisis, although there have been some key differences between the Catalan and Spanish plans: in Catalunya it’s aimed at a wider price range of vehicles (cars can be bought that cost up to €49,000 compared to €30,000 under 2000E) and there is no limit on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the vehicle purchased, although it must be less polluting than the buyer’s existing car.
Also in the news: Barcelona could host Davis Cup final (Avui); Spain rises to 15th place in global wellbeing list (El Periodico); Catalan elections could take place on a workday for the first time in 30 years (La Vanguardia)