Is Ireland prepared for KBC and Ulster Bank to leave?

Image audioImage Is Ireland prepared for KBC and Ulster Bank to leave?

Back in 2021 Ulster Bank and KBC announced that they would be leaving the Irish market; and now they have finally given their current account customers a timeline of when they must switch accounts.

Last week KBC and Ulster Bank both made announcements informing their Irish customers of when they must close their current accounts.

From June 1st, KBC customers will have 6 months to close their accounts from the moment that they receive written notice from the bank. Before April 29th, KBC had only offered their customers 90 days to close their accounts but this has since changed.

Ulster Bank is also giving their customers 6 months to close their accounts and has already started to notify customers of this.

So, what exactly can customers expect in the next few weeks and months, and what should they do?

Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, Daragh Cassidy, appeared on Morning Ireland to answer these questions, and to discuss whether or not Irish banks are ready for the big switch.

Listen back to the interview with Daragh above, or take a look at the main points below.

How can customers open an account with another bank? 

Our advice at bonkers.ie is to find the best value current account for your needs and then switch accounts, before KBC or Ulster Bank leave the market.

Most current account providers allow you to open an account online or on your smartphone,  and it only takes a few minutes. 

This makes finding the best value current account and switching over, a lot easier. 

If you’re looking to open an account online, it’s simple really. Once you have chosen your new current account provider, you'll need a few things on hand:

  • A picture of your E.U. passport to verify your identity 
  • A recent bill that states and verifies your home address, such as an electricity bill. 
  • A selfie for I.D. 

If you don’t have an E.U. passport or if you want to open a joint account, then you’ll probably need to make an appointment at the local branch of your new chosen provider. 

Banks will be experiencing high volumes of people making appointments to switch over, so we would suggest that people book an appointment as soon as possible to prevent delay. 

When everything’s verified, your physical cards will be posted out to you and you can probably start using them for online payments immediately. 

Will Ulster Bank and KBC switch customers' direct debits and standing orders? 

Technically there is a Central Bank of Ireland switching code in place. Under this code, switching should be done in 10 days and the previous bank must help with this.

The problem is that switching can’t be done online, and the transfer of direct debits and standing orders doesn’t always work as smoothly as it should. 

There’s also the question as to whether the switching code can handle hundreds of thousands of people switching at the same time. 

So rather than trying to use this switching code, customers should open an account online and gradually move everything over to their new account. 

Who will you have to notify if you’re switching? 

People will need to notify their employer or the Department of Social Protection if they’re receiving welfare payments. 

For any membership subscriptions, you’ll also have to notify those companies and update your payment information. 

The same goes for your utility bills. You’ll need to update your payment information for the likes of energy and broadband

For online shopping and streaming platform subscriptions, your old credit card information will likely be stored and will also need to be updated. 

Will banks be ready for the big switch? 

They’ve been saying that they are ready, but we’ll have to see. 

There are going to be around 500,000 current account holders and around 450,000 savers looking to switch over the next few months. 

So, there is going to be a big strain on the banking system. 

Switch and save on bonkers.ie 

The good news is that you can now easily review your options and choose the banking provider that best suits you right here on bonkers.ie.

So, relax and let our free current account comparison tool do the hard work for you.

You may also be interested in discovering how you can reduce your current account fees too.  

Don't forget, you can save even more money with our free energy, broadband, insurance and other banking tools.

It’s easy, it’s free, it’s bonkers.ie.

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