Bank charges back with a vengeance
Woe betide anyone who falls short on any of these criteria even for a moment because you will be liable for the full schedule of charges.
Anyone smart enough to have €3,000 to park will probably notice that if they lodge it into a savings account at 3.1 per cent, by a simple interest calculation they stand to make €93 pa.
With inflation eating away, it would not be rational to keep the money in a zero-interest current account in the hope of reducing banking fees. Reading between the lines, it looks like Bank of Ireland does not really want anybody to take it up on its free banking “offer”.
As an aside, it is curious to note as you flick down through its brochure of fees and charges that customers of Bank of
Ireland in Northern Ireland and Britain do
not have to pay fees at all.
In a similar vein, AIB demands that you maintain a balance of €2,500 to avail of its free banking. Otherwise, it imposes a quarterly standing charge of €4.50 (€18pa) on standard accounts.
Thereafter, it levies 20c for every self- service transaction such as ATM withdrawals, Laser card payments and online banking transactions.
As the financial analyst Joe Brennan
points out in a recent post about the AIB fees on his Money Guide Ireland blog ( moneyguideireland.com), in running their household, the charges for an average family can add up fast.
“If they use a debit card 10 times a week, use an ATM twice a week, write one cheque a week and have four direct debits a month, they will be charged €42.80 in fees in a quarter (€171.20 a year).”
With daily updates, moneyguideireland. com analyses Irish consumer-level money matters from banking to online shopping, insurance and electricity. He has worked out the comparisons.
So what bank does Brennan use? “I’m with Ulster myself,” he says, “and there are no charges at all (yet).”
If Ulster Bank’s “no fees” sounds good and you are not already a customer, switching banks is not quite frictionless but the hard work is done by the bank once you make the decision to move.
It brings across your direct debits and standing orders and contacts your employers to pay into your new account. The whole process takes about 10 days. There are no transaction charges or standing charges on a standard account with Ulster Bank.
There is also a fairly attainable set of criteria to qualify for free banking with Permanent TSB on its “Everyday Bank Account”, although National Irish Bank charges a standing fee of €20pa on its basic 24/7 account, plus transaction charges starting at 25c and rising.