The suspension of the current account fee increases from AIB is been long overdue as many households in self-isolation face financial uncertainty due to Covid-19.
What a year the past week has been, I think we can all agree. From broadband to banking it’s been a busy week for personal finance, but one name seems to be cropping up again and again and that’s AIB.
The bank first hit the headlines around two weeks ago when it announced that it would start charging 1 cent for contactless transactions and also remove its €2,500 waiver - previously, under this rule, customers didn't have to pay maintenance and transaction fees if they kept €2,500 in their account on a daily basis.
The bank first rowed back by suspending the introduction of the contactless charge but was due to continue with the removal of the €2,500 waiver from 30th May, and even wrote to hundreds of thousands of customers to confirm so.
However, AIB customers can finally breathe a sigh of relief as all proposed fees for current account holders have now been “suspended” by the bank due to the coronavirus.
AIB has advised that ‘customers who received correspondence from the bank can disregard’ the planned changes.
Chief executive of AIB, Colin Hunt said:
“AIB recognises the extraordinary pressure on families, individuals, businesses and communities as a result of the sudden disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic. All AIB’s staff and systems are focussed on supporting our customers and economy through this unprecedented crisis.
"To that end we have in place a range of robust measures designed to buttress customers against the enormous challenges now facing us. I urge anyone experiencing difficulties to contact the bank as early as possible.”
10 March - AIB announces new current account charging structure including removal of €2,500 waiver and new charge for contactless payments.
13 March - Bank announces it is suspending the introduction of a 1c contactless fee due to Covid-19.
18 March - All banks formally introduce payment breaks for personal customers, as well as propose a contactless payment increase to €50.
19 March - AIB announces it is set to continue with planned removal of €2,500 waiver.
20 March - Padraic Kissane, the consumer representative on the Irish Banking Culture Board calls for AIB to withhold the introduction of current account charges.
23 March - Moratorium on personal, business, and home loans for AIB customers now available.
23 March - AIB rows back and suspends introduction of all planned current account maintenance and transaction fees.
AIB continues to provide fee-free banking for student, graduate, advantage i.e. over 66s, and basic bank accounts.
Also worth noting is that customers who have their mortgage with AIB and pay their mortgage direct from an AIB current account will also be exempt from the changes.
Google & Apple Pay
With Irish society doing its best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, there were increased calls for banks to do the same by increasing the contactless limit on debit and credit cards so consumers could avoid handling cash.
In a meeting last week with the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohue, the five major retail banks, as well as agreeing a suite of moratorium measures for loan repayments, agreed a provisional increase on contactless card payments to €50.
Worth noting in this instance, however, is that mobile payments like Google and Apple Pay already allow payment for transactions over €30 - where an available balance or credit limit will allow, of course.
Both Google and Apple pay are not subject to the €30 tap and pay limit and customers who have access to these payment options with their banks can feasibly pay for their shopping, for example, for any amount, simply by tapping their phone or watch, thus helping to limit the spread of the virus.
The banks who currently offer Google and Apple pay are: AIB, Ulster Bank, KBC, N26, and Revolut.
However, both Google and Apple Pay services may be subject to the €30 ‘card’ limit in instances where the pay terminal in a specific store restricts its use beyond said limit.
Mobile payments are charged the same as contactless by all the banks. You can consult our table on current account transaction fees for more info.
AIB customers have also been advised that most AIB and EBS branches remain open to customers across the country, except those branches on college campuses that remain closed.
The earlier time of 10am until 11am each morning has been prioritised and allocated for older and more vulnerable customers. AIB is asking other customers to plan their branch visits outside this time.
Each branch has also implemented physical distancing procedures and increased cleaning operations of branches, self-service machines and ATMs in line with HSE recommendations.
Compare current accounts
Remember, the only way to get the best value from your current account is to compare all those available on the market and see which works best for you.
We recently wrote a blog post on some of the best value current accounts on the market right now - you can read that here.
If you’re considering switching and saving on account fees then you can use our current account comparison tool to browse the best value current accounts for your needs.
Stay in touch
Are you an AIB customer? What do you think about the latest developments? Will you be switching current account?