Q&A: compensation scheme explained


An explanation of the Ulster Bank compensation plan including who is eligible and how to apply.

Ulster Bank is back in the news? What have they done now?
It’s good news this time. The bank has announced details of a financial package to compensate more than half a million customers affected by the collapse of its computer systems.

Up to 600,000 people were unable to access account balances, denied access to funds, hit with delayed payments and higher charges due to the problems.

A major mess, then?
Well, the bank prefers to call it a “technical incident”.

How is it planning to make amends?
Ulster Bank is reimbursing customer’s “reasonable out of pocket expenses” and has committed to paying an additional 20 per cent.

That 20 per cent top-up will not exceed €120 so even if your expenses are €1,000 you will only get €120 from the bank. Personal and current account customers who called into branches will get a once-off payment of €25 while people with savings accounts get a payment equating to an extra 0.25 per cent interest on the average daily balance over the next three months.

Is that it?
No. Some fees, charges and interest will be waived for three months and no account maintenance fees for personal current account customers will be introduced before next summer.

How can people claim their expenses?
You need to complete and print an “online technical incident customer form” available on the Ulster Bank website.

When complete it can be sent back, via freepost, or dropped into a branch network. Customers without access to the website can call the bank or drop into any branch to collect a form.

What kind of paper work will I need?
The bank says it “will help if customers can backup their claim with any original paperwork for example, phone bills, bus tickets, travel receipts, bills or invoices”.

Do not send original receipts. If you do, and they are lost, it becomes more problematic.

What if I have no receipts?
The bank says it will deal with such customers on “a case-by-case basis”.

How much will this cost the bank?

A lot. All told the scheme will be well in access of the €35 million Ulster Bank initially said the systems collapse would cost.

What about my credit rating?

The bank accepted credit ratings are a “significant concern to customers” and it said it was continuing to work with credit reference agencies to ensure that no customer's credit rating is permanently affected as a result of this incident.

It has said that customer with concerns about their credit rating should visit their local branch or call the bank which will facilitate a credit report for them free of charge.

What if I have not incurred any “reasonable out of pocket expenses” or did not qualify for the €25 automatic payment for visiting and transacting at a branch more frequently than normal but was still very annoyed?
The bank says it will be “happy to discuss that customer’s individual circumstances”.

I am not an Ulster Bank customer but money that was to come to me from an Ulster Bank customer did not. As a result I was hit with extra fees and charges and interest. Will these either not be applied or refunded by my own bank, where identified?
No. If customers are seeking reimbursement for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses they should contact their own bank directly. Banks will use their usual complaint handling policies and procedures to investigate and respond to any claims arising from this incident.

If a customer of another bank has concerns about their credit rating as a result of this incident, they should contact their bank who will facilitate a credit report for them free of charge.

What is I am not happy with my bank’s response?
First speak to your own financial institution. If the situation is complicated, it may need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The other financial institutions have pledged to work together to do this as quickly as possible. If you are not satisfied with the solutions proposed you should ask to follow its formal complaints procedure.

And failing that, you can raise a complaint with the Financial Services Ombudsman.