Day 2 of officialdom.
We now had our NIE numbers and had managed to purchase a house. However, before we could do much else we needed to open a Spanish bank account. We have our house but it lacks both a water connection (and associated meter) or electricity (and associated meter). Signing up for both services requires a bank account because both services require direct debits to be set up. Opening a Spanish bank account requires passports and NIE numbers. It would also need an address so our helpful estate agent – yes, you heard me right: helpful estate agent – offered to meet us at 9:00 AM today at the local Correos [post office] to arrange a postal address.
Mr Estate Agent duly turned up at 9:00 AM. We had two options. First, we could make a one-off purchase a personal mail box and secure it to the back wall of a shed-like building at the bottom of our development along with countless others. Anyone could drop stuff in a mail box such as this – circulars etc. Alternatively, we could pay a yearly rental of 62€ for a post office box inside the post office. This seemed more secure and, perhaps, more official so that’s what we went for. This is a cash-only transaction so I handed over my 62€ in exchange for our mail box key. Though the actual post office counter is open only for 1½ hours daily between 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM, we’re told the mail boxes are accessible outside of those hours.
Now life got a bit more scary. Up ‘til now, during our brushes with Spanish officialdom we’d always been accompanied by a native Spanish speaker. Not so at the bank; we were dispatched all alone to go and open an account, though we were told that the nice men in the bank spoke English. And so they did. After a relatively short wait we approached a bank teller and told him we needed to open an account. More paperwork to sign, of course, passports to copy and NIE numbers to note after which we had a new account. I had a quick walk through of the Spanish online banking system – too quick for me to remember much and, of course, it was all in Spanish though apparently I can change the language later. Mr Bankman also wanted me to prove that my funds, when they arrived, were not coming from the Russian Mafia so I’d need to supply details of the accounts used to fund this new account. That could happen later by email.
Now armed with bank account details, our next stop was to the Town Hall to arrange for our water meter. Once again, and very necessarily, we were again in the company of our very helpful estate agent. [I really can’t get used to regarding an estate agent as helpful. How refreshing!] Communication here in Jalón is a little more complex by virtue of the fact that some folks speak Valencianan rather than Spanish/Castillian. we sat, once again, like bemused lemons, signing as required, as water services were ordered. Though we had a bank account, it still contained no money. Fortunately, whereas the Correos dealt only with cash, here I could pay the water meter charge of 850€ using a credit card. Future bills, however, would be by direct debit.
I wonder how long the fitting of the meter will take? Progress, nonetheless!
What we couldn’t yet do was request the electricity to be connected because that would cause an immediate direct debit to pay for the meter and we had no dosh in the bank. So, last important job of this day was to email our new bank account’s IBAN number to the international currency exchange company I’d been using and wait, with bated breath, for funds to arrive. This is always a heart-in-mouth job the first time; you only need to transpose a couple of digits to make what I assume would be an unholy mess of it. Fingers firmly crossed!