Santander closes accounts of cash-paying car buyers in Argentina

Santander Bank of Argentina is closing accounts of customers who bought new cars with cash during the pandemic. Despite authorization from AFIP (Argentina’s Administration of Public Income) and the money originating from the bank’s accounts, the former Banco Rio entity deems these accounts as suspicious.

Recently, affected bank customers started reaching out to Motor1 Argentina, the source of the initial report. In each case, it involved a Santander Bank customer who bought a new vehicle using electronic funds transfer between 2020 and 2023.

Upon making the purchase, the customer received a cellphone alert through the Santander mobile bank app, followed by a formal letter stating the closure of their account.

Despite the use of an official Certificate of Legal Funds approved by AFIP, Santander Bank considers these transactions suspicious.

Motor1 Argentina was notified by a Santander Bank customer who bought a new Toyota Hilux in 2020 about their account closure.

They had maintained the account for 20 years and used funds from it, validated with a Certificate of Legal Funds, to buy the vehicle for five million pesos, approximately $18,570 US dollars.

Another customer, after 25 years of holding the account, had their account closed due to an online transaction during the pandemic.

Similarly, a third customer bought a Jeep Renegade using their checking account funds and faced an account closure despite Santander Bank having a complete record of all their transactions.

For more than twenty years, the AFIP has mandated customers and dealers to furnish official Certificates of Legal Funds for new car transactions. Cash transactions are executed through electronic funds transfers to ensure traceability for tax purposes and to prevent any suspicion of money laundering.

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Santander Bank’s customers were also encouraged to conduct business online, often the only viable option during the pandemic.

Motor1 Argentina contacted Banco Santander for verification. After 11 days, a bank spokesperson replied, stating, “The published information is untrue and unsubstantiated.

There are no standard procedures for the general closure of accounts for car buyers. Any account closure process is assessed individually and in compliance with the relevant regulations.”

Source : motor1.com