Banking fees for Permanent TSB “legacy” account holders to rise significantly. Is there a way for those affected to keep charges down?
Permanent TSB has begun writing to many of its customers to inform them that it is standardising its fee structure across a range of older, legacy accounts.
A new standard quarterly fee of €18 is being introduced across these legacy accounts of which there are over a dozen types, with varying fee structures.
Fees used to range from €3.81 to €12.70 a quarter across these account types; so, for customers with an account that used to charge the minimum €3.81 a quarter, this will mean a steep increase of 372%.
It is worth noting however, that although quarterly fees are going up, many legacy accounts used to charge for day-to-day transaction use e.g. ATM usage/cash withdrawals, but this has now changed. Accounts subject to the new €18 quarterly will not incur charges for day-to-day transaction use. As a result, the actual net increase in fees for many customers is not as dramatic as it first might appear.
The fees and charges have been approved by the Central Bank of Ireland and are in line with similar accounts offered by competitors.
What constitutes a “legacy” account?
Legacy accounts refer to certain accounts which are no longer available to new customers and are typically 10-15 years old.
Customers will be pleased to know that the fee increases will not impact those who signed up to former “fee free banking” current accounts, which were key to current account offerings for a number of years up until 2016.
Permanent TSB Explore Account holders also need not worry about the changes.
Why such dramatic increases?
Aside from the bank’s official line that these increases “will bring the bank in line with other institutions” it’s likely that the move was made in a bid to get legacy account holders to switch over to the Explore Account, which is now the only current account type that the bank offers.
If you’d rather not change over to the Explore Account, there are actually a few ways that you can keep your fees down.
Depending on the account, customers can take steps to reduce or eliminate the charges; examples include - maintaining a current account balance, using the online banking facilities for a certain number of transactions each quarter and/or lodging a certain amount into the account each month. Additionally, customers over the age of 60 can apply to have charges waived.
This being said, changing to the Explore Account has its own merits - especially when it comes to keeping your banking fees down. The Explore Account, for example, is the only Irish current account on the market at the moment that you can actually make a profit from when it comes to fees.
What is Permanent TSB’s Explore Account?
If you’re a legacy account holder at Permanent TSB it’s definitely worth considering switching over to an Explore Account in order to avoid the new fee increases.
The Explore Account charges €48 for annual maintenance fees but the great news is that the bank will pay you 10 cent back every time you pay for something with your debit card, either in a shop or online. The amount you can make back is capped at €5 a month and the bank doesn't charge for ATM withdrawals.
So for example, in a month in which you make 20 debit transactions, you’ll pay €2 rather than €4 (after getting 10 cent cashback per transaction).
It also means that if you hit your €5 cap every month (by making about 50 transactions a month) you can actually cancel out all of your maintenance fees altogether and make a profit of €12 a year. Not bad, we say.
The Explore account has a number of other cashback features for customers including cashback on bills to certain utility providers such as Sky, SSE Airtricity, and iD Mobile. Account holders can also benefit from a rewards scheme called GoREWARDS which provides discounts from various retailers, meaning you could earn much more than the €5 cap per month.
Of course, if you don’t want to switch over to the Explore Account but you’re not happy with fee increases, now might be the perfect time to compare current accounts and switch banks altogether.
We recently explored and wrote about how easy it is to switch bank accounts, and found that most people have a positive experience while doing so. Additionally, here’s a quick overview of the fees across all of Ireland’s major banks right now and you can compare accounts yourself over on our Current Accounts Calculator page.