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CURRENCY

Fake Catalan euros stir up independence bid

One man's dream of seeing an independent Catalonia in the EU has led him to create the first unofficial euro coins representing the possible future country-to-be.

Fake Catalan euros stir up independence bid
The first batch of coin cases has proven to be such a success that the only ones now available are on eBay for three times the original price of €10. Photo: monedesrepublica

The 'limited edition' coins, which number 8,000 so far, have been minted in China and are being sold through an anonymous Facebook page.

Although the 'Catalan' two and one euro coins have the same dimensions and metallic composition as any of those used across Europe, they differ from the Spanish version in that King Juan Carlos’ image has been replaced by two castellers at the top of the traditional human tower seen at Catalan festivals.

The smaller pieces – 50,20,10,5,2 and 1 cent ones – feature an image of Catalonia’s patron saint George fighting the dragon.

SEE ALSO: Ten Catalan expressions every expat needs to know

The first batch of coin cases has proven to be such a success that the only ones now available are on eBay for three times the original price of €10 ($13.70).

Decorated with the red and yellow of the Catalan Senyera flag,  two written messages stand out on the collector’s box: "First attempt at minting the euro coin of the Catalan Republic" and "Ours are not legal tender".

Spain's El Mundo newspaper managed to contact the tight-lipped person behind the scheme, a man who goes by the name of Miquel but who gave nothing else away.

"Obviously we've taken advantage of the favourable situation to promote and sell the coins," he told the Spanish daily in reference to the recent call by Catalan president Arthur Mas for a referendum on the issue of independence to be held.

Miquel claims 20 percent of his coin earnings have been donated to "an entity that works towards the freedom of his country".

When asked if he thought he was breaking EU laws by minting fake currency, Miquel defended himself by saying the coins are slightly smaller and the word ‘euro’ is nowhere to be seen on the pieces. 

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MONEY

What’s the maximum amount you should have in a current bank account in Spain?

Most people in Spain only have one bank account and use it for all different purposes, but what happens when you manage to save up a bit? Here's the official advice on Spanish savings accounts.

What’s the maximum amount you should have in a current bank account in Spain?

Our bank accounts are used for many day-to-day activities such as paying bills, receiving paychecks and buying groceries, but is there a maximum amount of money you should have in your account at one time? And what should you do if you go over this amount?

While there isn’t an official maximum amount that you should have in your current account, the Organisation of Users and Consumers (OCU) advises that your current account only be used for certain amounts and everything over that should be put into different accounts.

According to the OCU, in your main bank account, where you receive your salary, pension or other significant payments, you should have a maximum of three months of your salary.

So for example, if you earn the minimum wage of €1,000 per month in Spain, then the maximum you should have in your current account is €3,000.

READ ALSO – Ask the expert: What are the best UK banks for Brits in Spain?

They advise that you don’t want to go too much under this amount either because you want to make sure you have accessible cash to use when you need it, as well as for possible emergencies. They also suggest checking your account balance regularly to make sure you don’t go into the red and don’t incur extra bank fees.

But equally, you don’t want to have too much in your account and keep all your savings in one place for security reasons.

Savings accounts

The OCU recommends opening a savings account or cuenta ahorro for any amounts greater than three times your salary, rather than keeping it all together in your current account.

Most banks have various types of savings accounts with different interest rates and different fixed terms where you’ll have to keep your money in for a certain amount of time.

For money you’ll need in the short term, but not right away, the OCU suggests putting it into a fixed-rate savings account (cuenta ahorro plazo fijo) for 12 months, but warn that if you need the money before the year is out then you may have to pay fines take it out.

For money that you know you won’t need in the short term, the OCU advises putting it into a long-term investment or a fixed-rate savings account for longer than one year. “For amounts that you don’t plan on touching in the next five or ten years, it’s advisable to make a little profit on it, however, keep in mind there may be seasons in which you suffer some losses too”, they said.

Savings over €100,000

For anyone that has savings over €100,000 in any type of account, it’s important to distribute the amount over various accounts warn the OCU.

This is because during an economic collapse or bank failure, you will not be covered by the EU Deposit Guarantee Fund, which is only able to guarantee the repayment of your money up to €100,000.

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