All the main banks in Ireland now have some sort of transaction or admin fees on current accounts. But – there are still ways to avoid some of these bank charges. We have carried out a a comparison of the various current account charges so you can work out which is the cheapest bank for you and how you can still get Free Banking. These figures were checked in July 2017.
EBS Moneymanager – Cheapest Bank Account.
EBS don’t currently charge any admin fees. This is an account with basic features – ideal for people on lower incomes. (No chequebooks are issued , no overdrafts and contactless payments are not available)
PTSB (Explore Account)
The PTSB Explore current account has a €4 monthly account maintenance fee ( €48 a year) and no day to day transaction fees. But – they also offer cash rewards such as 1oc for every time you use your debit card to buy something – capped at €5 a month. (You would have to use it 40 times a month to cancel out the account charges.) They also offer cashback on payments of bills to specific companies by direct debit. More about the PTSB Cashback Current Account here.
Ulster Bank – Fee Free is possible
Ulster Bank charge €4 per month maintenance fee (€48 a year) – to avoid this fee you need to keep an account balance of at least €3000 . No day to day transaction charges.
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. (€18 a year)
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 (€20 a year) . This charge cannot be avoided. On top of this – unless you keep at least €3000 in the account you will also 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
Internet/Phone Transaction 10c
Over the Counter Transaction 60c
Cheque Processing Fee (per cheque) 60c
KBC Extra – €6 a quarter charge (avoidable).
Any customers who don’t lodge at least €2500 a month will be charged a €6 admin fee per quarter plus 30c for each ATM transaction and 30 cent per cheque lodged in the quarter.
An Post Smart Account (Not Yet available Nationwide)
This is another account that pays rewards – such as 5% back on all Lidl transactions of €25 and above using the debit card. BUT – the account has a €15 a quarter charge (€60 a year) PLUS other charges as follows :
Cash Withdrawal in Branch 50c (1 a month is free)
ATM withdrawals 60c
Lodgements at branch 50c
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 bank fees were not met…
AIB would charge the most – at €51.21 a quarter (€204.84 a year)
An Post would charge €39.60 per quarter.(€158.40 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)
Ulster Bank would charge €12 for the quarter. (€48 a year)
PTSB would charge €7.50 for the quarter (€48 a year) (10c cashback on debit card purchases included)
EBS would charge nothing (there are no fees)
Comparison of banks quarterly current account fees IF the balance is kept above the relevant limit.
An Post fees cannot be avoided by keeping a certain amount in the account. They would charge €39.60 per quarter for the above transactions. – But there is the chance of cashback if you shop at Lidl or use SSE for energy. You would need to spend €800 a quarter at Lidl to get enough cashback to cover the fees.
PTSB €7.50 (Balance not applicable) Could be lower if you pay bills for SSE or Sky by Direct Debit
BOI (€3000 limit) : Fee €5 per quarter or €20 a year
Ulster Bank (€3000 Limit) : Zero
KBC (lodge min €2500 a month) Zero
AIB (€2500 limit) : Fee – Zero
So – it is still possible to get free banking at EBS all the time. At other banks PTSB , AIB , KBC and Ulster Bank – you can also avoid fees – but only if you can manage to lodge a certain amount or keep your account balance above their limits or spend with your debit card over 40 times a month at PTSB
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.
3) Use cashback in shops whe paying with debit cards instead of ATMs to reduce transaction fees . (Not relevant for PTSB Explore customers who should use their debit card as much as possible.)
Note: There is also a government stamp duty of 12c per ATM cash wiithdrawal. This is capped at €5 per year and was introduced in 2016 to replace a flat rate stamp duty .
More here about ATM Cashpoint Charges in Ireland