Cantillon: Realex set for next wave of banking services
Payments processing provider setting itself up in competition with main clearing banks
Realex founder and chief executive Colm Lyon. Photograph: Brendan Lyon/ImageBureau
If “contactless banking” is the model for the future, with cheque books, debit cards and even physical branches soon to be consigned to the rubbish bins, payments processing provider Realex is positioning itself well to offer the next wave of banking services.
Realex is also setting itself up in competition with the main clearing banks, by offering a low-cost – even free, it says – option for transferring money.
While it might fall short of the services you expect from your bank – and you’ll need a bank account to be able to fund it initially – Realex’s new Fire payment service will nonetheless offer a welcome alternative for consumers and businesses given the creeping growth in charges banking customers have experienced in recent months.
As of next Monday, for example, current account customers of Bank of Ireland (BOI) will find there is no way to avoid its new flat charge of €5 a quarter, while if they don’t keep at least €3,000 in their account every month, they will also be stuck with transaction charges .
And while it will waive all domestic contactless transaction fees this year, the bank will also impose a transaction fee of 15 cent from August 2014.
It’s a painful pill to swallow and BOI is not alone in looking to boost its income by hiking charges, with the days of free banking also going the way of cheque books.
Against this background, KBC Bank’s much-touted foray into the current account market, which is expected to take place in September, will be closely watched.