Sunday 28 December 2014

Rivals set to follow as Bank of Ireland hits customers with raft of new fees

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 14/06/2013 | 05:00

Bank of Ireland is to hike its current account fees again in a move that is set to be followed by other banks.

The bank is increasing the cost of lodging a cheque at a counter in a branch by more than 40pc. And it is also introducing a new €5 fee every quarter that will hit people who previously qualified for free banking by keeping at least €3,000 in their accounts.

Around half a million of the bank's 1.1 million customers are expected to end up paying more for their current accounts due to the changes.

It is the third time the bank has altered its charging structure for current accounts.

Consumers Association chairman Michael Kilcoyne said fees were now being imposed by AIB, Danske, EBS and Bank of Ireland, with Ulster Bank to impose fees next month.

He said: "Other banks will now follow Bank of Ireland by hiking the fees they impose."

Up to now, Bank of Ireland customers who maintained a balance of €3,000 in their accounts at all times were able to avoid charges per transaction of up to 28c. And there was no maintenance fee.

BALANCE

There is also an option for those who do not have €3,000 to choose to pay €11.40 every three months. This means there is no fee for the first 90 transactions every three months.

But from August 19, even customers who keep their accounts in credit to the tune of at least €3,000 will be hit by the €5 a quarter maintenance charge.

And everyone, apart from pensioners, will be charged 20c for writing a cheque.

The cost of a string of different transactions will now surge from 28c to 40c – a rise of 43pc. This applies to both those who do not keep a balance of €3,000, and those who choose not to pay a flat fee of €11.40 every three months.

Other transactions that will now cost 40c include cash lodgements, credit transfers, debits, lodgements and withdrawals using paper or debit cards in a branch.

It will now become more expensive to use cheques. It will cost 40c for lodging a cheque at a counter in a branch.

And there is a new fee of 20c for writing the cheque.

There is also 50c government stamp duty on each cheque.

However, the bank is lowering its transaction charges for electronic payments.

And it promised not to charge for new contactless debit card transactions until August next year.

These are cards where a customer can pay for up to €15 worth of goods in a shop by waving the card in front of a terminal.

A spokeswoman said the new fee structure will not apply to those with Golden Years accounts. And students will be spared most of the new fees, apart from the 20c charge for writing a cheque.

The bank said this would mean 400,000 of its 1.1 million active customers will have both transaction fees and the maintenance fee waived.

The new fee regime comes in from August 19.

Ulster Bank is to impose fees of €4 a month from July for those who fail to keep a €3,000 in credit, or lodge the same amount every month to their accounts.

Irish Independent

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