Bank fees unfair to blind customers, group says

Under new rules, Bank of Ireland account holders will be charged 40 cent for over-the-counter transactions

Bank of Ireland has been criticised for not making allowances for visually impaired people under its new fee structure which is to be rolled out later this summer. Under the new rules current account holders, including the blind or people who are severely vision impaired will be charged 40 cent each time engage in any transaction over the counter in a Bank of Ireland branch.

The National Sight Loss organisation (NCBI) yesterday wrote to the bank's chief executive Richie Boucher asking him to take account the particular needs people who are blind or are severely vision impaired and remove charges it imposes on affected people who use the bank's over the counter services.

It made contact with the bank after the issue was raised with the bank by the Ray Darcy Show on Today FM and The Irish Times.

In the letter the NCBI’s chief executive Des Kenny asked Mr Boucher “to look at what it is introducing, by way of new fee structures, to see how modification to the fees structure being proposed could be made to provide for the particular needs” of the visually impaired.


The organisation pointed out that in the past, “a branch manager could admit blind and severely low vision people to free banking where the manager felt that the customer experience of such individuals could be improved by assistance given by tellers or other bank staff” and .

Mr Kenny said directing customers to use internet banking through the new fees structure was "unfair on customers who have always had their sight loss accommodated by personal and modified banking arrangements developed for them by the bank".

When contacted the bank defended its decision to charge the visually impaired for using its counter services.

It said that as “” a multichannel provider, there are alternatives to counter services for customers, including those with visual impairments” and added that its staff were “happy to assist all customers who wish to use alternative methods.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast