Monday 21 January 2019

Banks to waive charges for customers who miss payments due to Storm Emma

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Banks are to waive fees and other charges for those who miss payments due to Storm Emma.

Customers are at risk of missing direct debits or standing orders because they have not been able to lodge money into their accounts during the snow storms.

The State’s retail branch network has been forced into a shutdown after the Government told citizens to stay indoors.

This has meant consumers have not being able to get into bank branches to lodge money to cover bills like mortgage payments and electricity bills.

The Banking and Payments Federation, which represents all the retail banks, said no fees would be charged to consumers who miss a payment.

A spokesperson for the banking body said that due to the closure of bank branches over recent days, because of the severe weather conditions, some customers may not have been able to lodge funds to their accounts to meet the funding requirement of scheduled payments such as direct debits, cheques and standing orders. 

Read more: 'People will struggle' - Post offices running out of cash as panic grips the country

“This may result in unpaid transactions and associated bank fees/charges for some customers. 

“In the circumstances banks have agreed to refund any such referral fees and any such unpaid fees/charges which may have applied to the following business days – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” the Banking Federation said. 

AIB charges €10 if a standing order goes unpaid, with Bank of Ireland imposing a fee of €12.70 for a direct debit being returned unpaid.

Customer communications and the refund process will be managed by each individual bank.

The move comes after some post offices ran out of cash earlier this week, as panic grips the country due to the severe storm.

Offices in Dublin, Louth and Offaly were reported to have been emptied of cash as social welfare recipients queued to collect payments.

The move by the Government to pay a double fuel allowance payment was blamed for the run on the post offices.

But people collecting other social welfare payments, such as pensions, have also put pressure on the cash reserves of the post offices.

An Post spokesperson Anna McHugh revealed that roads blocked by snow meant that some post offices had not got deliveries of cash this week.

She said this meant some post offices had run out of cash, leaving postmasters with no option but to make partial social welfare payments.

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