No Second Surname Still Causing Problems In Spain!

3 wise stick peopleAs I’ve been living in Spain for nearly 30 years, I’ve seen how not having a second surname has caused numerous problems (and arguments), with everything from bank accounts to official documents.

Back in the late 80’s it was with some amusement that I received a credit card printed with the letter “X” as my second surname. However, not only was an “X” used, on other documents a full stop or other punctuation marks were inserted (I was told by one bank that it was the only way to override their computer system). This caused multiple complaints as I questioned how I could have a document, bank account or credit card that didn’t have my real name on it. Of course one of the easiest solutions was to use my middle name as my first surname, but this also didn’t seem right.

So it was with some trepidation that with the advent of the Internet and the inevitable “mandatory field” that the second surname would cause problems in Spain for many foreigners. And so it was, from being unable to contract online with Iberdrola to many other large and small companies. Phoning was usually the only way to get around the problem, but this meant missing out on online-only offers.

But as time went by and companies, and computer programmers, realised that there is a world of names that don’t conform to the Spanish standards, things got a lot better… until a couple of weeks ago. Alcampo supermarkets offer free WiFi and as I’d planned to meet someone for coffee just next to a local Alcampo I decided to sign up for the free WiFi service. However, there was the mandatory second surname field. Rather than phone, I decided to put a message on Alcampo’s Facebook page. They answered to say that the second surname field wasn’t mandatory, so I checked again and still no luck. So, I took a screen shot and uploaded it to their Facebook page and………. Silence!!!!

Having just checked once again (a couple of weeks later) it’s still not been changed and I wonder why (I doubt it can be that difficult to amend the coding).


But they’re not the only big company to ignore the problem faced by thousands of residents in Spain with no second surname. When trying to get tickets to visit the tourism trade fair in Madrid online I chose the option of “tickets for residents in Spain”. BUT: no second surname, no ticket, as the system refused to accept that the field was left empty.

If you’ve had any of these issues, let us know how you solved them on our Facebook page.