All the main banks in Ireland now have some sort of transaction or admin fees on current accounts. There are still ways to avoid bank charges – so here is a comparison of the various current account charges so you can work out which is the cheapest bank for you and where you can get Free Banking. The figures shown were checked in July 2015.
Cheapest and easiest to avoid – PTSB
The PTSB current account has a €12 quarterly account maintenance fee but – if you lodge at least €1500 every month you will not be charged the fee.
Joint Cheapest – Ulster Bank
Ulster Bank charge €4 per month maintenance fee – to avoid this fee you need to keep an account balance of at least €3000 .
EBS Moneymanager – Cheapest Bank Account for low usage
EBS don’t currently charge any admin fees. They charge 30c for an ATM withdrawal or for a cash withdrawal in a branch . If you lodge at least €1,500 – or keep a balance of at least €500 they will not charge for the first 5 ATM withdrawals per month. EBS don’t currently charge for any other transactions. (Tip – use cashback in shops with your debit card to reduce the need to use ATMs)
AIB – Higher Transaction Fees but they can still be avoided .
AIB charge the following amounts for transactions on current accounts.
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders) 20c.
ATM withdrawals 35c
Machine Lodgements 35c
Cheque Processing 39c
Debit Card Transaction 20c
Over the Counter Transaction 39c
They will also charge an admin fee of €4.50 per quarter.
All the above fees can be avoided at AIB by keeping a minimum of €2500 in the account at all times . Going below €2500 at any time in a quarter will result in charges being applied for the whole quarter.
Bank of Ireland – Impossible to Avoid a €5 quarterly charge
Bank of Ireland now charge all current account holders €5 per quarter . This charge cannot be avoided. On top of this – unless you keep at least €3000 in the account you will be charged transaction fees too. (No fees on Golden Years, Graduate, 3rd Level student or 2nd Level student current accounts)
BOI Transaction fees
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders) 10c.
ATM withdrawals 25c
Machine Lodgements 25c
Debit Card Transaction 10c
Over the Counter Transaction 60c
Cheque Processing Fee (per cheque) 60c
KBC – minimum €6 a quarter charge (unavoidable).
Any customers whose daily balance goes below €2000 will also be charged an extra 30c for each ATM transaction and 30 cent per cheque lodged in the quarter.
Comparison of Bank Charges – based on the following monthly transactions:
Cheques Lodged 1
Direct Debits/ Standing Orders : 6
Debit Card Purchases : 45
ATM withdrawals : 12
Counter transactions 2
Assuming the conditions for avoiding fees were not met…
AIB would charge the most – at €51.21 a quarter (€204.84 a year)
BOI is close behind at €34.70 per quarter (€138.80 a year)
KBC would charge €17.70 for the quarter (€70.80 a year)
EBS would charge €12.60 for the quarter. (€50.40 a year)
Ulster Bank would charge €12 for the quarter. (€48 a year)
PTSB would charge €12 for the quarter (€48 a year)
Comparison of banks current account fees IF the balance is kept above the relevant limit.
EBS (€500 limit) Fee €6.30 per Quarter for ATM transactions (first 5 free) (€25.20 a year)
KBC (€2000 limit) – Fee €6 per quarter or €24 a year
BOI (€3000 limit) : Fee €5 per quarter or €20 a year
Ulster Bank (€3000 Limit) : Zero
PTSB (€1500 limit) Zero
AIB (€2500 limit) : Fee – Zero
So – it is still possible to get free banking at PTSB , AIB and Ulster Bank if you can manage to lodge a certain amount or keep your account balance above their limits.
Be careful with AIB because a fall in your balance to just €2499 for just one day could end up costing you over €50 for one quarter. (based on sample transactions above).
1) Keeping €3000 in an account just to avoid fees – means you could be losing out on possible interest of about €30 euro a year after DIRT . So bear that in mind when working out fees.
2) There is nothing to stop you withdrawing money and relodging it to comply with a bank’s minimum lodgement rules. (Applies to PTSB and EBS)
3) Heavy users of Visa Debit cards for shopping could reduce their bank transaction fees by getting a prepaid visa debit card that doesn’t charge for usage . See this article for details of the best Prepaid Debit Cards
4) Use cashback in shops instead of ATMs to reduce transaction fees (Could result in free banking at EBS)