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BoI hikes fees and ends its free banking

BANK of Ireland has hiked its fees yet again for customers who continue to rely on old-fashioned paper-based transactions.

The bank is also introducing a new €5 fee every quarter that will hit people who previously qualified for free banking by keeping at least €3,000 in their accounts.

This effectively means that fee-free banking is a thing of the past for everybody. And experts warned today that other financial institutions are likely to follow in the coming months.

Among the extra charges brought forward by Bank of Ireland is hiking the cost of lodging a cheque at a counter in a branch by more than 40pc.

Some half a million of the bank's 1.1 million customers are expected to end up paying more for their current accounts due to the changes.

It is the third time the bank has altered its charging structure for current accounts.

Chairman of the Consumers Association, Michael Kilcoyne, said fees were being imposed by AIB, Danske, EBS and Bank of Ireland, with Ulster Bank to impose fees next month.

He said: "Other banks will now follow Bank of Ireland by hiking the fees they impose."

Up to now, Bank of Ireland customers who maintained a balance of €3,000 in their accounts at all time were able to avoid charges per transaction of up to 28c. And there was no maintenance fee.

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There is also an option for those who do not have €3,000 to choose to pay €11.40 every three months. This means there is no fee for the first 90 transactions every three months.

But from August 19, even those people who keep their accounts in credit of at least €3,000 will be hit by the €5 a quarter maintenance charge.

And everyone, apart from pensioners, will be charged 20c for writing a cheque.

The cost of a string of different transactions will now surge from 28c to 40c – a rise of 43pc. This applies to both those who do not keep a balance of €3,000, and those who choose not to pay €11.40 every three months.

Other transactions that will cost 40c include cash lodgements, credit transfers, debits, lodgements and withdrawals using paper or debit cards in a branch. And there is a new fee of 20c for writing the cheque.

There is also 50c Government Stamp duty on each cheque.

However, the bank is lowering its transaction charges for electronic payments. And it promised not to charge for new contactless debit card transactions until August next year.

These are cards where a customer can pay for up to €15 in a shop by waving the card in front of a terminal.

A spokeswoman said the new fee structure will not apply to those with Golden Years accounts and students will be spared most of the new fees, apart from the 20c charge for writing a cheque.

hnews@herald.ie


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