Alternative Banks For Ulster Bank and KBC Customers

Ulster Bank

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.

If no action is taken, customer accounts will be closed with a cheque issued for any remaining balance.


KBC Bank

KBC Bank Ireland has also announced it will be pulling out of Ireland.

KBC Bank Ireland began writing to customers in June 1st 2022 to tell them that they have six months to shut their accounts. Letters will be issued on a rolling basis over 2022 and into early 2023 .


Here is some information on the alternatives for Ulster Bank and KBC customers .


Switching from Ulster Bank and KBC


Current Accounts

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.

  • N26
  • Revolut
  • PTSB
  • EBS
  • 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.


The closure of Ulster Bank and KBC might result in more people taking the plunge and going fully digital with N26 or Revolut


Revolut and N26 are both now ECB-licenced banks authorised to operate in Ireland.

Revolut users in Ireland currently have Lithuanian IBANs for their accounts – but during the first half of 2023, they will be transferred to Irish IBANS .
Revolut having Irish IBANs should make it easier to set up direct debits and salary payments because some companies in Ireland seem to have difficulty accepting non-Irish ones. (even though they legally cannot refuse them).
This will make Revolut a serious option to consider as a replacement for your Ulster Bank or KBC account – as long as you don’t need to pay in cash or cheques.


Revolut Offer with Money Guide Ireland

Special Offer for Money Guide Ireland readers. If you join Revolut using the link below – you will get a 3-month free trial of Revolut Premium for FREE.

You can sign up Here .

More About Revolut


More about N26


Switching Credit Cards

If you have an Ulster or KBC credit card in Ireland you will probably have 3 options

  1. 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.


Switching Savings Accounts

The Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme covers money held in Ulster Bank and KBC accounts. This covers up to €100,000 per person.
This means for joint accounts you will have protection for up to €200,000.

It is estimated there were €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%) .


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 available through Raisin.


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 euros in charges.
(Note – Risk of loss. Your capital is not guaranteed when investing in shares.)


Cryptocurrency

Investing or speculating 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 cryptocurrencies 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 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 From KBC or Ulster Bank


Ulster Bank was estimated to have about 15% of the mortgage market in Ireland. Anyone with a Mortgage at Ulster Bank in Ireland will not have to do anything if they don’t want to.

It looks like Ulster Bank mortgages will all be sold to PTSB and KBC mortgages will be sold to Bank of Ireland. The good news is that all those mortgages will have to continue under existing
terms until the loan is paid off.


If you are on a fixed-rate mortgage – you should wait until Ulster Bank or KBC 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 cashback.


You might also get a lower rate of interest than you are currently paying with Ulster Bank.


You can arrange a mortgage checkup phone call with financial advisers MoneySherpa



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.

Ulster Bank Website

Investment Options in Ireland