Sunday 17 December 2017

Bank targets customers tired of paying for ATM withdrawals

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

BELGIAN-owned KBC Bank is hoping to attract thousands of disgruntled customers from rivals AIB and Bank of Ireland with the launch of a new current account.

The bank is also bucking the trend of closing branches, with plans to open eight outlets around the country.

It is hoping to capture around 10pc of the current account market with the launch of its new current account.

The move brings to seven the number of banks offering these day-to-day accounts.

Consumers will have to pay maintenance fees of €6 a quarter.

They can avoid additional fees for ATM cash withdrawals and cheques being processed if they keep a daily credit balance of €2,000 in the account.

If they do not maintain the €2,000 balance, they will be charged 30c for each ATM withdrawal.

The 30c fee can still be avoided for those unable to keep €2,000 in their account if they take the option of getting cash when they pay for goods with a debit card in a shop.

KBC Bank Ireland's current account comes with a Mastercard debit card. There will also be overdraft facilities.

It will give customers the option to automatically transfer funds above a certain balance each month into a KBC savings product, to maximise the interest rate return.

Customers with a KBC online instant interest 15-month, fixed-term account can remit the interest to their current account at any time during the term.

New KBC branches will open in Limerick and Galway in addition to those already in Dublin and Cork. More branches are to be opened in Dublin and Cork.

It is the first time in seven years that a bank here has opened branches and offered a new current account.

AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Danske Bank and Permanent TSB have been closing branches.

If the closures of the branch networks of Irish Nationwide, and the shutdown of Halifax/Bank of Scotland are included, it brings to around 240 the number of branches shut since the financial downturn in 2008. But KBC said it would open eight new offices across the country.

The bank, which has been in this country for 40 years, has been mainly focused on the corporate market up to now, although it does offer mortgages and savings accounts to consumers.

Both AIB and Bank of Ireland have hiked current account fees for those who cannot meet strict criteria. Permanent TSB said yesterday it had attracted 30,000 new customers after offering an account with no requirement for a minimum credit balance.

Customers can get transaction-fee free banking from Permanent TSB if they make a lodgment of €1,500 each month. AIB offers free banking if you maintain a minimum daily balance of €2,500 per quarter, but increased its individual transaction fees last month.

It charges €4.50 per quarter, plus additional charges per transaction.

Bank of Ireland customers cannot avoid a €4 a quarter maintenance, but can avoid transaction fees by always keeping €3,000 in their account during each three-month period.

KBC chief executive John Reynolds said: "We're not claiming to have the lowest-cost product in the marketplace but we will be competitive. "

Irish Independent

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