11 Feb 2014

One in three hit with new charges for daily banking

Filed under: Business News

One in three adults has been hit with new charges for using a day-to-day bank account.

The consumers lost their ‘free’ banking facilities in the past year as the major banks have moved to impose charges for using current accounts.

This has prompted thousands of people to change to withdrawing large amounts of cash to avoid paying a fee each time they use an ATM.

Consumers have also reacted to the imposition of charges by using their debit/Laser cards less frequently to avoid fees.

Families where the parents each have a current account face paying €260 this year in bank charges, it has been estimated.

And the stiff new charges regime has prompted thousands to consider switching to a bank where they can get a cheaper current account, research conducted for the National Consumer Agency (NCA) shows.

The revelations came days after Danske Bank admitted that 8,000 customers had failed to close down their current and savings accounts in time for a deadline set by the bank.

The Danish-owned bank is withdrawing from retail banking here on a phased basis.

Hundreds of people called special helplines that had opened over the weekend seeking to get their money out of Danske and transfer it to another bank, a spokesman said.

Bank of Ireland said it had seen “unprecedented demand” over the weekend from departing Danske customers wanting to open new accounts.

And Permanent TSB is offering to make €500 available to those “locked out” of their Danske accounts. It said it had seen a 50pc rise in switcher inquiries in the past week.

Meanwhile, the research carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes for the NCA found that 34pc of adults had lost their free banking facilities in the last year.

This is particularly the case with those between the ages of 35 and 49, the research found.

AIB requires current account holders to keep a balance of at least €2,500 to avoid fees of up to 35c per transaction.

Bank of Ireland has a quarterly fee of €5 whether or not the account is in credit. And customers are hit by fees of up to 40c per transaction if they fail to keep at least €3,000 in the account throughout the quarter.


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