Thousands of Irish customers will be looking to switch banks in the coming six months as Ulster Bank and KBC exit the market.
However, the move has caused some confusion for customers as many don’t know where to start.
Personal Finance Expert Eoghan McGee told RTE’s Claire Byrne how people should tackle the upcoming change.
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He said: “The letters people are getting at the moment, there’s about 20,000 Ulster Bank customers that are getting a letter each month and then when you get the letter your six months starts.
“But what I would say to people is let’s not wait until the last minute if you’ve got your letter or you haven’t got your letter, your current account or your savings account is not going to move automatically. You need to do something yourself about getting yourself a new provider.”
Eoghan told Claire that although a switching service is available, it is not appropriate for this task.
He said: “There is a switching service that has been there for quite some time. It’s not really appropriate for what we’re trying to do here, which is to move a million accounts.
“It’s not appropriate, and we have problems with the people who you sign direct debits for. Will they accept instruction from the bank, or will you need it directly from you? So my advice to people is that you do go and set up a brand new bank account yourself. Have the old one with the old bank, the new one with the new bank.
“When you have the two of them set up, sit down with your old bank statement and look through it and look at all the direct debits you’re paying out. Whether it’s 10 or 12 or 15 or whatever it is, handwrite out a list and stick it to the fridge and do up one at a time. Start moving them over.
“Now, you do have to be in the privileged position to be able to fund both accounts while you have this going on but go after your TV provider get the direct debit changed over. Do it manually, and when it’s done, tick the box off on the fridge and move on to the next one.”
Eoghan explained that mortgage customers should sit tight and will be moved to a new bank automatically. However, he emphasised if you’re a current account or a business customer, you need to start acting now.
He said: “The message that I want to get out there is the terms and conditions you have right now with your bank are the same terms you’re going to have with your new bank. It doesn’t matter whether it’s KBC or Ulster bank. You are protected there, and you will have the same terms and conditions.
“There have been some questions around like one of the banks has if you have your current account with us you get a reduction on your charges with your mortgage. It has been said already you will keep the reduced fee, and you won’t have to have the current account. So they are still sticking to the T&Cs that you have already.
“If you have a tracker mortgage, you are going to keep the tracker mortgage, and that’s really important for people to realise.
“If you go now and say I’m going to move it to somewhere else completely, you’re not going to get to bring the tracker mortgage with you. If you wait and there is still some questions over the Ulster Bank tracker mortgage customers about where they’re going, it looks like it’s going to be AIB, but it might be Permanent TSB, but in principal, it does look like it’s going to be AIB.”