How easy is it to switch current bank accounts ?
There are about 5 million current accounts held in Irish banks .
The number of people switching current accounts from one credit institution to another under the Central Bank’s Switching Code in the first 6 months of 2017 was just 2715.
Overall levels of switching banks in Ireland remain low – relative to the total number of current accounts in the market. This is one of the reasons why the big banks like AIB and BOI are making massive profits – because they can get away with charging fees and paying out very low interest on deposits.
Most people probably don’t monitor the personal current account market with a view to switching. The main motivators of switching for consumers are ‘push’ factors, i.e., when consumers feel let down by their current provider, rather than ‘pull’ factors such as lower fees offered by other banks.
There are basically 5 “main” choices for current accounts in Ireland – Allied Irish Bank , Bank of Ireland , KBC , PTSB, EBS and Ulster Bank.
Our page on Current Account Fees Compared – shows that some people could save around €140 a year by switching banks.
There is now also the option to open an online current account with European bank N26 – who charge no fees. They are fully regulated by the German Central Bank and covered by the German Bank guarantee . (NB: No branches , no cash , no cheques – fully online smaprtphone and web based) They already have several thousand Irish customers – who have been attracted by the absence of fees and also the lack of charges on Mastercard purchases in foreign currencies.
Under Irish Central Bank rules – current account switches have to be completed by the credit institutions within 10 days . This includes the transfer of all direct debits and standing orders. Figures from the Central Bank show that in 2016 , 99% of all current account switches were completed within 10 days.