In February 2021 , NatWest, owners of Ulster Bank , confirmed that they would be withdrawing from Ireland.
Ulster Bank had around 1.1 million customers when it announced that it planned to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland market.
On April 21st 2023 , Ulster Bank’s remaining branches around the country closed their doors to the public permanently. The bank will still provide support through phone and online channels.
Customers can contact Ulster Bank on 0818 210 260 or 00353 1804 7475 if calling from abroad, while those requiring additional support can access a dedicated phone line on 1800 656 001.
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 .
I Feb 2023 – KBC completed the sale of the bulk of its assets to Bank of Ireland, including €7.8 billion of loans and €1.8 billion of deposits. KBC Current Accounts are not moving to Bank of Ireland.
On March 10th 2023 – KBC Bank Ireland permanently closed all bar one of its remaining branches . Just one, at Grand Canal in Dublin, will stay open until the end of August
Here is some information on the alternatives for Ulster Bank and KBC customers .
Switching from Ulster Bank and KBC
Alternative Current Accounts for Ulster Bank and KBC Customers
There are now 7 viable alternatives for Ulster Bank or KBC Customers who need to open a new current bank accounts in Ireland.
- Bank of Ireland
- Allied Irish Bank
- Credit Union (Not All)
- An Post
Most of these 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.
You can view our regularly updated comparison of all the Current Bank Account Charges in Ireland.
Revolut and N26 are both now ECB-licenced banks authorised to operate in Ireland.
All Revolut Irish accounts now have Irish IBANs.( Revolut users in Ireland used to be given Lithuanian IBANs)
Having Irish IBANs should make it easier to set up direct debits and salary payments because some companies in Ireland seemed to have difficulty accepting non-Irish ones. (even though they legally cannot refuse them).
This makes 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 .
Switching Credit Cards
If you have an Ulster credit card in Ireland you 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 full 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.
KBC credit cards will automatically switch to Bank of Ireland and the same credit limits as before will apply.
New – Revolut is now offering Credit Cards in Ireland.
Switching Savings Accounts
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 30 times bigger. ( 0.1% compared to 3%) .
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.
Lightyear is not a bank (it’s an investment platform) They pay interest on any uninvested cash in EUR, GBP & USD Their current interest rates are listed beelow. Read more about Lightyear
|Lightyear Interest Rates
|Correct as of February 2024
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.)
Investing or speculating in cryptocurrency has become more widespread 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.
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.