Bank charges - our tips on how to avoid them
Getting an understanding of what you pay is a big help.
For the most part, the days of fee-free banking are gone, but this doesn’t mean that you have to be stuck paying more than you need to for your current account. Read on to see how being savvy can help you to cut down on charges…
Review your current account to see what you’re being charged
With the advent of online banking, it’s easier than ever to review your current account to keep track of your spending. But how often do you actually do this?
Taking the time to see what you’re being charged for when you use your current account will help you to understand your usage and areas where you could save.
For example, maybe you’re taking out €200 per week in 4 separate ATM transactions and being charged a withdrawal fee each time. A simple way to avoid these charges would be to take out all of the cash in one go, if you’re comfortable doing so.
Ask your bank for a list of charges
It’s possible that you haven’t looked at the schedule of fees and charges since you signed up for the account, so ask your bank for a list of these.
Seeing it in black and white will make you more aware of what you’re being charged for, and you can adapt your usage where possible to avoid some of the fees.
For example, some banks will charge you up to €0.20 each time you use your debit card, so - although there will usually be an ATM withdrawal fee - it may work out cheaper overall to use cash.
Cashback with a Permanent TSB Explore Account
Permanent TSB’s Explore Account works a bit differently. It has a monthly charge of €4.00, but unlike other accounts, it will give you back cash when you use your debit card.
You will earn €0.10 back every time you pay with your card in-store or online, up to a limit of €5 per month, so if you’re someone who taps your card rather than using cash, this could be a good bank account for you.
See if you qualify for fee-free banking
Although banks generally don’t offer fee-free accounts anymore, some do have free banking if you can meet certain conditions, for example:
- With AIB, you can qualify for free maintenance and transaction banking if you keep a minimum daily balance of €2,500 in the account.
- Bank of Ireland current account customers have to pay a quarterly fee of €5, but you can qualify for free maintenance and transaction banking if you keep a minimum daily balance of €3,000 in the account.
- With some accounts, KBC will waive the account maintenance fee, ATM transaction fee and cheque lodgement processing fee if you lodge a minimum of €2500 every month.
- Ulster Bank’s monthly €4.00 fee can be avoided if you keep a minimum daily balance of €3,000 in the account.
For some, keeping thousands in a current account at all times will simply not be possible, but if this is something you can manage it will save you in the long run.
You can compare current accounts using the CCPC’s personal current account comparison tool to see which ones will waive fees in certain circumstances.
Switch bank account to one that suits you better
If you’ve had your current account with the same bank for a while, you might be surprised at the offers available from some other banks.
When you’ve reviewed your usage and what you’re being charged, comparing accounts will help you to see if the one you have is the most suitable for you. The CCPC’s Personal Current Account comparison is a good start.
If you’re worried about the logistics of the switch, check out SwitchYourBank.ie which has all the information you need to get started.