The new account will offer increased choice for customers but not necessarily better value.
Some of the largest Credit Unions in Ireland have come together under the currentaccount.ie brand to roll out a new, full-service current account for Credit Union members.
30 Credit Unions, with 115 branches throughout the country, will offer the new service over the coming weeks and more Credit Unions are expected to come on board in 2020.
What’s on offer?
The new current account will offer all the features you’d expect from a traditional bank account such as online banking, direct debits and standing orders, as well as access to an overdraft facility.
Customers will be given a Mastercard debit card, which can be used wherever you see the Mastercard logo worldwide. The debit card will also be contactless enabled, meaning you can tap and pay for purchases on the fly.
At the moment the account won't support Apple Pay or Google Pay.
What are the fees?
The account will cost €4 a month. After that, all your day-to-day banking is largely free. There’s no additional charge for chip and pin or contactless payments, online banking transactions, standing orders or direct debits. You’ll also get five free ATM withdrawals each month. After that you’ll be charged a fairly hefty 50 cent per withdrawal though.
If you’re using your card outside the Eurozone, foreign exchange fees will also apply. And if a direct debit or standing order is returned unpaid from your account, you'll be stung with a whopping €10 fee - though this charge is pretty much standard across all current account providers these days.
If you decide to take out an overdraft you'll be charged a €25 set-up fee and €25 every time you renew it each year.
How can I open an account?
Credit Union members will be able to open an account online at currentaccount.ie or in person at a participating Credit Union branch.
If you're not a member of a Credit Union at present, simply get in touch with one of your local branches and ask about becoming a member today.
Increased choice but not necessarily better value
The Credit Union’s foray into the wider banking sector has long been mooted so today’s announcement is unsurprising, if a little overdue.
And while choice is always a good thing for consumers, this new account offers little new and its pricing isn’t overly competitive. In fact, depending on how you use your current account, there are cheaper alternatives from the likes of KBC and Permanent TSB already. And in terms of online features, N26 and Revolut offer far more than any Irish bank or the Credit Union can at present.
Having said that, the charging structure is simple and straightforward which should appeal to customers as you'll know exactly what you'll be hit with in terms of fees each quarter. But the account wouldn’t really be suitable for those who prefer cash over card payments as you'll only get five free withdrawals a month.
We haven't tested the mobile app yet but it's likely to pale in comparison to that offered by the likes of Revolut and N26 seeing as most of the Irish banks can't even keep up.
However the Credit Union is known countrywide for its excellent customer service, friendly approach to doing business, and is one of the most trusted brands, let alone financial institutions, in the country. This means the account should still do well, despite not offering anything particularly new or innovative.
Compare the market
If you are thinking of switching, remember to compare all accounts across all providers to find out who’s cheapest for you based on your particular circumstances and usage.
The good news is that you can do that right here on bonkers.ie in minutes with our current account comparison service.