Tuesday 23 May 2017

So what are your options if your bank doesn't do banking?

Your local post office and credit union could be your only option if you're unhappy with any over-the-counter restrictions introduced by your bank
Your local post office and credit union could be your only option if you're unhappy with any over-the-counter restrictions introduced by your bank

Louise McBridge

You might soon be able to open a current account in your local post office - or something very similar to one.

"An Post is working on a practical, accessible, value-for-money transaction account which would provide a range of handy facilities for customers of all ages and requirements," said a spokesman for An Post when asked if the company had any plans to introduce a current account. "Discussions are ongoing with the necessary State bodies."

Your local post office and credit union could be your only option if you're unhappy with any over-the-counter restrictions introduced by your bank - or indeed, if you live in a village where your local bank has recently shut up shop.

You cannot currently get your salary paid into an An Post deposit account. However, you can pay many bills in cash at an An Post branch or through Postpoint (a subsidiary of An Post). More than 3,000 outlets offer Postpoint across the country.

An Post also has online bill paying services known as mybills.ie and billpay.ie.

You may be able to get your salary paid into a credit union account. In November 2013, credit unions got a licence to provide electronic payments services.

The service allows credit union members to have their wages, salaries or any payments from a bank, employer or social welfare office paid directly into their credit union by electronic transfer.

You can also set up direct debits with some credit unions to pay electricity, phone, gas or any other bills. "Over 30 credit unions will be live offering direct debits by year end," said a spokeswoman for CUSOP, a not-for-profit company which provides an electronic payments service for credit unions. "Over 100 credit unions have a salary payment option."

This is good news for many of the towns and villages which have been badly hit by bank branch closures. Such towns include Roscrea and Athy, where Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank have both shut branches. EBS has also closed its Athy branch. AIB has closed a lot of branches in Donegal, including Gweedore, Raphoe, Lifford and Falcarragh.

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