Saturday 24 August 2019

Tiny numbers switch bank current accounts

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Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Tiny numbers of people are switching bank current accounts, new research from the Central Bank shows.

The new statistics have emerged as An Post is attempting to get people to sign up for its new Smart current account.

Just 2,715 people switched current account in the first half of this year, despite bank fees going up.

The Central Bank said 99pc of switches under its "switching code" were carried out within the time-frame laid out in the code. The Central Bank's switching code required banks to transfer all direct debits and standing orders to a customer's preferred new lender within 10 days.

However, the percentage of switches is a fraction of 1pc of the accounts used for day-to-day banking. There are now 5.28 million current accounts, up around 142,000 since 2015.

Low levels of switching are evident despite banks introducing ApplePay and AndroidPay, which allow people to use their mobile phones to pay for things.

Not all banks offer these options, which led to speculation that consumers who want to avail of mobile payments would move banks.

Mark Whelan, of price comparison site, said it was good to see the Central Bank's switching code working but too few customers were taking advantage and switching to a bank with lower fees and better features.

Some banks charge 35c for ATM withdrawals and 20c for chip-and-pin debit card transactions. "With fees this high, many consumers are missing out on savings by not switching to a fee-free account," Mr Whelan said.

Irish Independent

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