Making Cents with Liam Croke: Where is the value with bank current accounts?

Liam Croke

Reporter:

Liam Croke

Email:

liam@harmonics.ie

Making Cents with Liam Croke: Where is the value with bank current accounts?

Ulster Bank cut their monthly maintenance fee in half, reducing it to €2, but they introduced a number of other fees, which were going to be applied on day to day transactions

I received an email from a reader a couple of weeks ago, advising that the monthly fees charged by his current account provider, Ulster Bank, had increased by 350% and he was naturally taken aback.

I briefly answered his question in the ask Liam section, but it was a trigger for me to review what other providers were charging and whether it was worth him considering moving providers.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to look at other providers, and review what each have on offer, what they are charging etc. in more detail.

Ulster Bank’s new charging structure came into effect on April 19. They cut their monthly maintenance fee in half, reducing it to €2, but they introduced a number of other fees, which were going to be applied on day to day transactions.

For example, €0.35c for an ATM withdrawal, a chip and pin fee of €0.20c, online transaction cost €0.20c, if your salary is mandated into your account it will cost you €0.20c, a €0.20c fee per direct debit/standing order, a contactless fee of €0.01c, and any branch assisted transaction will cost you €0.80c.

AIB

They have ATM withdrawal fees of €0.35c, debit card purchase fees of €0.20c, internet and phone transactions of €0.20c, and in branch transaction fee of €0.39c, and they charge a quarterly fee of €4.50. But you can avoid this, and other fees charged by keeping a minimum of €2,500 in your account at all times – if you go one cent below this at any time in a quarter, charges will apply retrospectively for the entire quarter.

Bank of Ireland

They have a quarterly maintenance charge of €5 and impossible to avoid this regardless of what is in your account. But if you maintain at least €3,000 in your account throughout the charging period, you can avoid transaction fees. If you don’t, charges like €0.25c will be applied for ATM withdrawals, a debit card purchase fee of €0.10, internet and phone transactions will cost €0.10c, in branch cashier €0.60c. etc.

KBC

They have two fees - a quarterly maintenance fee of €6, and any ATM transaction will cost you €0.30c, but both can be avoided, if account holders lodge a minimum of €2,500 into their account every month.

They have a second account called their extra current account and again no fees will apply if €2,500 is lodged into your account every month, but extra features associated with the account are discounts on home insurance, bonus interest rates applied to regular savings and fixed term accounts. But what I really like about this account is the 0.20% discount applied to their mortgage rates, if you take out a mortgage on your primary residence with them, and the monthly repayments are debit from your KBC extra account.

An Post Money

They charge a monthly maintenance fee of €5, which covers the cost of contactless payments, direct debits, online purchases and transfers and point of sale transactions. They do have an ATM withdrawal fee of €0.60c.

They have a cash back feature, where you receive a percentage of the amount spent at a qualifying partner of An Post’s, which can eliminate the maintenance fee altogether. For example, if you spend more than €25 at a Lidl, you get 5% back which is credited to your account, on the last working day of the month, which followed the month the transaction took place. So, if your spent €200 in Lidl in May, €10 will be lodged to your account on June 28.

PTSB

Their explore current account has a €12 quarterly account maintenance fee, but that’s it. All ATM, contactless, point of sale transactions are covered by this fee. However, in August, this fee will increase to €18.

They offer cash rewards every time you use your debit card to buy something. They will give you €0.10c every time you use your card, but the maximum amount you can get back in any one month is €5. So, if you want to cancel out their monthly charge of €4, you would have to use your card 40 times every month. They also have a cash back facility on bills paid by direct debit, to partners of PTSB, where you can get up to 5% back on your monthly bill.

N26 Bank GmbH

Challenger bank, N26 don’t charge a maintenance fee, and account holders can avail of five free ATM withdrawals per month, but a charge of €2 applies to any subsequent withdrawals after the five free ones have been used.