This week NatWest, owners of Ulster Bank , confirmed that they will be withdrawing from Ireland.
They said they will begin a “phased withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland over the coming years“
Ulster Bank also said that in the short term, customers will be unaffected and the bank will continue to offer a full banking service for existing and new customers until at least 2022.
Here we are providing some information on some of the options and alternatives for Ulster Bank customers
What can Ulster Bank Customers do Now?
Eventually , Ulster Bank will write to it’s current account customers informing them that their accounts will be closed. The usual practice will be that customers will be expected to find an alternative bank by a certain date. If the funds are not moved out of the account by the closing date – Ulster Bank will probably issue a bankers draft for the balance.
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
There are 8 options for switching current bank accounts in Ireland.
We have a regularly updated comparison of all the Current Bank Account Charges in Ireland.
Most of the banks now have charges – but as you will see from our comparison it is still possible to get free banking in Ireland.
This closure might be a good time to take the plunge and go fully digital with your banking with N26 ?
Switching Credit Cards
If you have an Ulster credit card in Ireland you will probably have 3 options:
- Clear any outstanding balance by the closing date ,and apply for a new credit card with another service provider. See our page listing the Credit Cards WIth The Lowest Interest Rates
2) You could apply for a new credit card with another provider and transfer the balance to the new card. ( If your credit history is poor – you might not be able to get a new card.)
There are a few 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 However – some of these offers might be withdrawn if they get a deluge of Ulster customers switching.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 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.
There is a good guide here about Credit Cards in Ireland
Money in Ulster Bank 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 Best Interest Rates in Ireland
Some of the highest interest rates are available from EU banks.
Alternatives to Deposit Accounts:
If you do have some cash on deposit 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 Comparison of Share Dealing Fees in Ireland – it could save you hundreds of Euro in charges.
(Note – Risk of loss. Your capital is not guaranteed when investing in shares.)
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 mortgageswill be sold on 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, 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.
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.
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