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Bank of Ireland criticised over changes to account charges

Most customers will only be able to avail of free banking if they have €3,000 in their account permanently.

Image: Shawn Pogatchnik/AP

BANK OF IRELAND has been criticised by the National Consumer Agency (NCA) after it announced a change in the criteria for free banking which is likely to see many customers now facing transaction charges.

From 19 November, many of the bank’s customers will have to have a minimum credit balance of €3,000 in their personal current account for the full quarter or else face transaction fees.

The fees will not apply to student, graduate or golden years current accounts the bank said.

No interest will be paid on the €3,000 minimum balance that customers who do not have these type of accounts will now need to have in their current account.

Previously customers who had €3,000 passing through their account in the financial quarter and made nine online or phone banking transactions could avail of free banking.

The National Consumer Agency has criticised the news describing it as a “backwards step” which will encourage customers to use more cash and less electronic payment methods like debit cards.

The NCA’s Karen O’Leary said: “We would like to see banks charging consumers based on how they use their account rather than their ability to maintain €3,000 in their current account. There are very few consumers who can afford to put €3,000 out of reach nowadays.”

Bank of Ireland has also announced that the charge for the replacement of a lost, stolen or damaged current or deposit ATM or debit card will be increased from €5.90 to €8 for personal and business customers.

The changes to the criteria for current account transaction fees follow a similar move by Allied Irish Banks (AIB) at the end of May.

This move saw criteria changed so that customers with AIB now need a minimum of €2,500 in their current account for the entirety of the three-month financial quarter in order to avoid charges.

Read: Bank of Ireland reports half-year loss of €1.25 billion

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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