Ulster Bank takes on Revolut with launch of new payment control features in its app
Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

The new development from Ulster Bank will give customers more control over how they use their debit card.

Ulster Bank has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately as speculation over its future in Ireland continues to mount

However, the bank has still been working steadfastly on new products and innovations in the background. 

It recently launched a new green mortgage rate, while its Home Saver account, which offers up to €2,000 to people saving for a home is one of the best saving products on the market right now for first-time buyers.

And now, under pressure from the likes of Revolut no doubt, comes news that the bank is making some big changes to its mobile app, in particular the payment controls available on its debit card. 

New payment controls in app 

One of the best things about the new banking fintechs like Revolut and N26 is how much control they give you over your account and your spending - as well as the lack of fees and charges of course.

By simply logging into your app you can turn on or off a whole host of features to give you better control of how you use your account.  

Up until recently the main Irish banks have been severely lagging behind in this regard. However over the past while they have begun to catch up.

For example, KBC, AIB and Ulster Bank now all allow you to easily lock and unlock your card within their respective apps. So if you've misplaced your debit card, or want to stop it from being used, you can temporarily lock your card to protect it from unauthorised use as opposed to having to cancel it with all the hassle that then entails. You can then unlock it at any time. 

Now Ulster Bank is taking things a step further by giving its customers even more control over their accounts. 

Using the on/off toggle in the Ulster Bank app, customers can now easily turn on and off:

  • contactless payments 
  • chip and PIN payments 
  • international payments
  • gambling transactions including lottery tickets purchased online 
  • subscription services, such as Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime and gym membership

All of the above are instant apart from the gambling block, which has a 48-hour “cooldown period” before being activated.

Commenting on the development, Ulster Bank's Head of Everyday Banking Lisa Slattery said the controls “give our customers greater choice when it comes to using their Ulster Bank debit cards, enabling them to select what types of transactions they are most comfortable with”.

“Not only is it convenient, it can offer customers greater peace of mind should their bank card fall into the wrong hands,” she adds.

In addition to control over how and when these controls are applied, customers will also receive a push notification if their payment is declined due to the setting being in place.

Store loyalty cards

As well as the above, the Ulster Bank mobile app now also gives customers the option to store their loyalty or membership cards in a secure and safe way.

When you log into the app just go to the My Loyalty Cards section.

Simply scan the barcode on your card and select which store it belongs to. You can choose from many pre-set high-street stores or add any that are not there already.  

Then, when you're out and about shopping, you can simply access all your loyalty cards from your phone without having to rummage about in your wallet. 

Compare current accounts 

Despite these new developments from Ulster Bank, current account customers will likely need to find a new home for their money if Ulster Bank decides to leave the Irish market.

If you’re currently an Ulster Bank customer and are looking to switch, you can use our current account comparison service to quickly and easily compare different current account features and charges from all of Ireland’s main banks

Take a look at our guide on how to switch current accounts for further information on switching.

We recently wrote a piece on who is offering the best value current accounts in 2021, making it easier to evaluate your options. We also took a deep dive into current accounts in a recent episode of our bonkers.ie podcast.  

If you’re curious about digital banks, we carried out an in-depth comparison on N26 versus Revolut, so you can see which better suits your needs.

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