Ulster Bank and KBC are leaving Ireland – What do you need to know?
The upcoming departure of Ulster Bank and KBC has left almost one million customers searching and switching their bank accounts. If you are one of these customers, you may be confused about when to switch, how long it will take, and if it will cost you anything. Recent research shows that 1 in 5 customers affected by this departure have yet to take any action.
We are here to help you by setting out the process and providing you with the key dates you need to know.
Let’s get started…
Why do I have to switch?
You have to switch your current account because KBC and Ulster Bank are leaving the Irish market.
You might have trouble receiving your wages, social welfare, or other regular payments if you don’t have a bank account. Direct debits (DD) and standing orders (SO) can be refused and could disrupt services or cause late charges and fees.
Do you have an account with another banking services provider? If not, then you will need to set up a new account to transfer funds to. Otherwise, your account with KBC and Ulster Bank will be closed.
When do I need to switch by?
We’ve outlined the key dates you need to know below: Key Dates and Time Periods.
The advice from KBC and Ulster Bank is that no action is required on your current account until they notify you to do so. However, with so many people changing their accounts, we advise starting the process for your new account now.
How to go about switching or opening a new bank account?
No need to worry; we already have a blog dedicated to Switching your bank account and another on Opening your bank account.
I have a joint account with my partner; where can we switch our account to?
AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and An Post all offer joint accounts. However, you and the joint account holder will need to visit a branch and may need an appointment to open a joint account.
While Credit Unions offer a current account, it depends on the individual Credit Union whether they offer a joint account. We advise checking with your local credit union sooner rather than later if you plan to open a current account with them.
Digital banks, sometimes called disruptor banks like Revolut and N26 do not offer joint current accounts (at the time of writing this blog). They do offer personal current accounts.
Do I need to switch my mortgage/loan/overdraft/credit card as well?
If so, will I have the same terms and conditions?
Different processes apply to the different products; we’ve outlined them below.
Mortgages will be transferred by your current provider (KBC or Ulster Bank), and your existing terms and conditions will carry with the transfer. If you are currently:
- on a fixed-rate contract, the rate will be honoured until the end of the fixed period.
- on a tracker interest rate, this will be transferred to your new mortgage provider.
- on a variable rate or out of a fixed period and not on a tracker, it might be a good opportunity to switch your mortgage to get a better interest rate and save some money.
Loans will transfer to your new provider with the existing terms and conditions.
You will be required to pay off your overdraft before your current account closes. We know some people may have difficulty paying off an overdraft before switching. If you think you will have difficulty, then contact the bank as soon as possible and explain your situation. If you can’t speak with your bank, then call MABS, and one of our advisers will support you.
- Credit card
If you have a credit card with KBC or Ulster Bank, then you will need to transfer your credit card and balance to a new provider or close the credit card after clearing the balance – there isn’t much information on this one just yet, but we’ll update this as we get the information. Do you have a large balance on your credit card and want to pay it off? Perhaps this switch might give you the motivation to pay it off and reduce your current cost of credit. We have a helpful resource on tackling credit card debt with advice and support on paying it off.
Key dates and time periods
KBC has advised that they will start contacting current account customers on a rolling basis from 1st June to give customers 6 months’ notice to move their current account. They have also advised that you do not need to do anything until you receive this letter.
Ulster Bank has stated that they will give customers 6 months’ notice to close their account, but they haven’t indicated when this will happen.
Most current accounts can be up and running in a few days. However, with so many customers looking to switch their accounts, the advice is to get the ball rolling on a new account opening now so if there are any delays, you have plenty of time.
We hope the information is useful in helping you to prepare for KBC and Ulster Bank leaving the Irish market. The advice is intended as a guide, and every effort has been made to make sure it is correct.