Ulster Bank is to write to thousands of credit card customers next month to tell them they have six months to close their card accounts.
The bank said it will write to around 75,000 personal credit card holders in September asking them to move their credit card account to a new provider.
The customers will also be asked to pay the outstanding balance and close their Ulster Bank credit card.
Ulster Bank said credit cards will no longer work from the end of the six month notice period. This will mean the cards will stop working from next March.
The bank said that customers closing credit card accounts should ensure they have sufficient funds to cover the Government stamp duty, which is €30.
This is applied upon closure of the account, the bank said.
Stamp duty on cards is charged on April 1 each year for the preceding or prior year.
Customers who have closed their credit card accounts and are moving to a new credit card provider will receive a 'Stamp Duty Letter of Closure’.
They can share with their new credit card provider to avoid being charged stamp duty on April 1 next year for 2022.
Customers who have already closed their account before July 1 can also access this letter if required, Ulster Bank said.
The bank said it held an information session this week with representatives of the financial sector to brief them on this plan.
It plans further briefing sessions with other stakeholders over the coming weeks and months as this activity progresses.
The bank insisted it has proactively contacted customers who may have difficulty repaying their full balance within the notice period to offer support and to remind them of the activity underway to close accounts as part of Ulster Bank’s phased withdrawal.
“Ulster Bank recognises that some customers may not be able to clear their balance within six months and will work with customers on a case-by-case basis for individual plans,” it said in a statement.
Ulster Bank chief executive Jane Howard said that since the start of this year, many customers have taken action on their current or deposit accounts.
She encouraged credit card customers to review their options now and to be ready to take action when they receive their email or letter.
“While six months will be enough time for the majority of our customers to find a new provider, I recognise that some customers may have difficulty repaying their balance within six months and we will continue to work with these customers on an individual basis to assist them,” she said.
“If any customer needs additional support, I’d strongly encourage them to contact us as soon as they can either in branch, or on the phone. We want to ensure that customers who need additional help are supported at this time.
Customers who need support in repaying their balance, are in financial difficulty, or are in a vulnerable situation can contact the bank’s credit card team on 0818 210 261 (lines open 24 hours a day including bank holidays) for account closure and any general enquires, the bank said.