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Is It Still Possible To Get Fee-Free Banking in Ireland?

Is It Still Possible To Get Fee-Free Banking in Ireland?

All of Ireland's main banks charge current account fees of some sort, but these can be reduced or eliminated completely by adhering to certain requirements. We take a look at which banks still offer fee-free banking and how you can avoid paying unnecessary fees.


Have you started thinking about your New Year’s resolutions yet? If you have, then I bet my Irish Water Conservation Grant money that they include commitments to exercise more, work less and get smarter with your money.

That last one is one of the most common resolutions made every year, and we fully support the intention here at bonkers.ie!

However, it can be a really difficult one to implement. Not least because it’s often hard to know just where your money is going every month. One of the biggest culprits in this regard is banking.

Different banks have different rules when it comes to current account fees, and they’re changing all the time.

Let’s look at which banks still offer fee-free banking and how you can avoid paying monthly fees that you don’t have to.


What Does Your Bank Charge?

Permanent TSB

Is fee-free banking available?

  • Yes, if you lodge €1,500 a month, every month.

Quarterly fee:

  • €12

Transaction fees:

  • Nope


AIB

Is fee-free banking available?

  • Yes, if you keep €2,500 on deposit at all times.

Quarterly fee:

  • €4.50

Transaction fees:

  • 35c ATM fee
  • 20c in-brand transaction fee
  • 20c internet transaction fee
  • 20c telephone transaction fee
  • 39c cheque transaction fee


Bank of Ireland

Is fee-free banking available?

  • Yes, but only for customers who are 66 years of age and or older. If you don’t fall into this bracket, you can’t get fee-free banking, but you can avoid transaction fees by maintaining €3,000 on deposit at all times.

Quarterly fee:

  • €5

Transaction fees:

  • 25c ATM fee
  • 60c in-branch transaction fee
  • 10c internet transaction fee
  • 10 phone transaction fee
  • 60c cheque transaction fee
  • 1c contactless payment fee


Ulster Bank

Is fee-free banking available?

  • Yes, if you keep €3,000 in your current account at all times.

Quarterly fee:

  • €12

Transaction fees:

  • No


KBC

Is fee-free banking available?

  • Yes, KBC’s new ‘Extra’ account allows you to avoid fees if you lodge €2,500 every month.

Quarterly fee:

  • €6

Transaction fees:

  • 30c ATM fee
  • 30c cheque transaction fee


EBS

Is fee-free banking available?

  • Sort of. Your first 5 withdrawals of each month are free if you lodge a minimum of €1,500 into your account every month or keep a minimum balance of €500 at all times.

Quarterly fee:

  • €0

Transaction fees:

  • 30c ATM fee
  • 30c in-branch transaction fee
  • €1.27 cheque transaction fee


Changes to ATM Transaction Fees

In October’s budget, the Government’s €5 Stamp Duty was replaced by a 12c ATM transaction fee which is capped at €5 every year. Also, debit card transaction fees were completely abolished and contactless payment limits were increased from €15 to €30.

So, by using your debit card to pay for items and getting cashback at point-of-sale instead of from an ATM is a smart way to keep fees at bay.


Competition from An Post

There is some competition slowly making its way to the Irish banking sector, which should spell good news for customers who find it difficult to meet their banks requirements to avoid fees.

Following the announcement of Credit Union debit cards last year, An Post is due to launch its long-awaited current account early in 2016. It is rumoured to include debit cards, ATM-access and direct debit facilities and is said to be “affordable and accessible”. Hopefully this will prompt existing banks to reduce fees in response.


Switching Banks Can Save You Money

There are 5 million current account holders in the Republic of Ireland but, despite the presence of quarterly fees at all of the country’s main banks, a mere 5,400 customers switched accounts in the first half of 2015.

Increased competition from the likes of An Post may see fee-free banking become more accessible in time, but until then, switching to the bank that best suits your current account usage habits is the best way to avoid paying unnecessary fees.

 


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