In February 2021 , NatWest, owners of Ulster Bank , confirmed that they would be withdrawing from Ireland.
They said they will begin a “phased withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland over the coming years”
Since October 30th 2021, personal banking customers can no longer access new products from Ulster Bank . This includes current accounts, deposit accounts, credit cards and personal loans.
Ulster Bank is encouraging customers to and get ready to choose a new banking provider, particularly for current and deposit accounts.
In April 2022 – Ulster Bank began the process of writing to its 900,000 current and deposit account customers to give them six months’ notice to move their accounts ,or close them.
If no action is taken, customer accounts will be closed with a cheque issued for any remaining balance.
KBC Bank Ireland has also announced it will be pulling out of Ireland.
KBC will start to give its current account customers 90 days’ notice to close their accounts from June 1st,
Here is some information on the options and alternatives for Ulster Bank and KBC customers to help them work out which is the Best Bank to Move to .
Options for Ulster Bank and KBC Customers
To save a last-minute rush – it might be a good idea to start thinking about getting a replacement current account sooner rather than later. You will have less chance of problems if you get things moving early.
Alternative Current Accounts for Ulster Bank and KBC Customers
There are now just 7 viable alternatives for Ulster Bank or KBC Customers who are switching current bank accounts in Ireland. (Don’t bother going to KBC because they are pulling out of Ireland too.)
- Bank of Ireland
- Allied Irish Bank
- Credit Union (Not All)
- An Post
You can view our regularly updated comparison of all the Current Bank Account Charges in Ireland.
Most of the banks now have current account charges – but as you will see from our comparison it is still possible to get free banking in Ireland if you use a combination of EBS with either N26 or Revolut.
Bunq , Revolut and N26 are all ECB licenced banks aothorised to operate in Ireland .
Special Offer for Money Guide Ireland readers.
If you join Revolut using the link below – you will get €10 credit on your account and 1 month’s trial of Revolut Premium for FREE.
You can sign up Here .
Switching Credit Cards
If you have an Ulster or KBC credit card in Ireland you will probably have 3 options:
- Clear any outstanding balance by the closing date ,and in the meantime apply for a new credit card with another service provider. There is a good guide here about Credit Cards available in Ireland
2) You could apply for a new credit card with another provider and transfer the Ulster card balance to the new card. ( If your credit history is poor – you might not be able to get a new card.)
There are several credit card providers that will even give you 0% interest on balance transfers for a few months. However – some of these offers might be withdrawn if they get a deluge of Ulster customers switching.
See our List of Credit Cards With Offers
3) If you can’t clear the Ulster credit card balance and you can’t transfer it to a new provider – then Ulster will probably have to work with you to convert it into a personal loan.
Switch Savings Accounts
Money held in Ulster Bank and KBC accounts is covered by the Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme. This covers up to €100,000 per person. This means for joint accounts you will have protection up to €200,000. So your money is safe.
It is estimated there are €10 Billion of household deposits held with Ulster Bank in Ireland. Many people just keep their savings with the same bank they have their current account with. By doing this you could be losing out on potential interest. The difference between some deposit interest rates can be as much as 100 times more ( 0.01% compared to 1%) .
Whilst there is no big rush to move savings – now might be a good time for Ulster Bank Customers to start looking for alternative savings accounts.
We have a page showing the Banks With the Best Interest Rates in Ireland
Some of the highest interest rates are available from EU banks such as Raisin.
Online bank Bunq is also paying interest of 0.09% on all accounts.
Other Investment Options
Stocks and Shares
If you do have some cash in a deposit account making very little interest – you might be thinking of investing some of it in stocks and shares. Before you do – take a look at our page on Where to Buy Shares in Ireland – it could save you hundreds of Euro in charges.
(Note – Risk of loss. Your capital is not guaranteed when investing in shares.)
Investing in cryptocurrency is becoming more common in Ireland.
A 2021 survey by the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission found that 8% of adults aged 18+ in Ireland held Bitcoin or other crypto assets. That equates to around 290,000 people.
The value of cryptocurrency has been subject to big fluctuations – and it should probably be avoided if you don’t want to risk losing money.
If you want to find out more about buying or investing in cryptocurrency – take a look at this article:
How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Ireland.
It is important to note that bank guarantees do not cover any cryptocurrency investments Cryptoassets are highly volatile unregulated investment products with no EU investor protection.
Switching Your Mortgage
Ulster Bank is estimated to have about 15% of the mortgage market in Ireland. It is expected that anyone with a Mortgage at Ulster Bank in Ireland will not have to do anything if they don’t want to.
It is very likely that the mortgages will be sold to other financial institutions. The good news is that all mortgages will have to continue under the existing terms until the loan is paid off.
So if you have a low rate tracker mortgage with Ulster Bank – you will not lose it. Don’t switch – or you will lose the tracker rate.
If you are on a fixed-rate mortgage – you should wait until Ulster Bank tell you what is happening with your mortgage, and then you should be able to switch without penalty. If you switch now – you may have to pay a fee.
However, – if you are just on a standard variable rate, you may want to think about switching to another mortgage provider anyway
Many lenders in Ireland are offering cashback to new mortgage customers – sometimes as much as 3% of the mortgage. On a €300,00 mortgage that would be €9000.
You might also get a lower rate of interest than you are currently paying with Ulster Bank.
See some examples of How Much Money You Could Save by Switching Mortgage
Read more about Cashback Mortgages here
Check our page on the Lowest Mortgage Rates in Ireland to check the possible alternatives for Ulster Bank customers.