Spain-based financial institution Grupo Santander announced Tuesday it will offer free use of 4,300 ATMs in Spain to consumers from the United Kingdom. The offer will begin on Monday, the financial institution says in a statement.

Santander owns UK-based financial institutions Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley Savings. Abby and Bradford & Bingley will take on the Santander brand starting in the first quarter, while Alliance & Leicester will make the name change by the end of 2010. Together, the three banks have 24 million customers, Grupo Santander says.

Without free use of the Spanish ATMs, UK consumers would pay a cash-handling fee of 1.5% of the transaction amount plus a foreign exchange fee of 2.75% of the transaction amount. “Spain is an popular holiday destination for Abbey customers,” the bank says in a statement.

Of the withdrawals Abbey customers made at ATMs outside the UK in 2009, 22% were at machines in Spain, Grupo Santander says. Similar data for the other two UK-based financial institutions were not available. Last year, Abbey, which Santander bought in 2004, said it had started rebranding its credit cards to carry the Santander brand.

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