Wise up and put punitive bank charges through the shredder
With a series of little fees, levies and costlypunitive interest rates, banks are trying to squeeze as much out of their customers as they can
Forget about free banking. If you are an average banking customer, it’s likely that just carrying out your every-day transactions could now cost you as much as €20 a quarter – or €80 a year.
Step over that “every-day” qualification and into the realm of overdrafts and withdrawals outside of Ireland, not to mention Government stamp duties, and you could be looking at the equivalent of another property tax.
Given the hit the taxpayer has already taken to bail out the banking sector, the swathe of charges and fees banks have recently introduced are a bitter pill to swallow.
So what can you do? Apart from trying to emulate a certain former taoiseach by giving up your bank account altogether, the other option is to wise up to how you are being charged and, more importantly, how you might be able to avoid the levies now imposed on your account.
Bank of Ireland
What fees can I expect: “If you are a customer of Bank of Ireland, you currently have two options when it comes to paying for your banking services: 1) “pay as you go”, where you will be charged 28 cents per transaction; or 2) a flat fee of €11.40 a quarter for up to 90 transactions, with a fee of 28 cents charged for each transaction over that limit.
From August 19th however, a new system will apply, with customers charged a flat fee of 20 cent a transaction, plus a €5 “maintenance fee” each quarter.
Other fees also apply, as the bank is increasing to 40 cents the cost of paper lodgments and withdrawals, including cheques, as well as so-called “staff-assisted transactions” which you carry out in the branch.
Watch out for: Banks are keen to consign chequebooks to history, so be prepared to give yours up or pay for the privilege of using it. Bank of Ireland will shortly charge you 20 cents per cheque – or a hefty €5 for a book of 25 cheques – in addition to Government stamp duty and the transaction fees for cheques. This means that if you use a cheque to pay an electrician, for example, it will cost you €1.10 (20 cents BoI fee plus 50 cents Government duty plus 40 cents transaction fee) just to write the cheque.
Can I avoid the new charges? Up to a point. If, for example, you are over 60 with a “golden years” account, or you have a graduate or student account, you won’t pay either the quarterly transaction or maintenance fees.
Alternatively, if you keep a minimum of €3,000 in your personal current account at all times you can avoid the transaction fees, but you will still pay the €5 maintenance fee every three months.
When it comes to statements, cut down on costs by signing up for the bank’s eStatements, which means that details of your accounts will be emailed to you rather than posted.