For a very brief spell, I used to work for Permanent TSB. During that brief period, I was also a Permanent TSB customer, but soon after I finished up with them, I closed my accounts. I just couldn’t justify having an account with them. They don’t offer any modern services like Google or Apple Pay and just today, they’ve announced they are making banking even more complicated for their customers.
Permanent TSB Introduce New Fees
Back in the good times, Permanent TSB offered customers fee-free current accounts. These were great and plenty of customers held onto these for dear life in recent years. It’s become the norm for accounts to offer free banking in return for you meeting certain requirements. PTSB will strip holders of these accounts of their fee-free banking unless they meet some requirements, which even by modern standards are pretty harsh.
Conditions for New PTSB Fees
To qualify for fee-free banking, customers must now maintain a balance of €2500 in their current account every day. Not lodge – maintain a balance! Failing to do so will result in a quarterly fee of €18 per quarter, or €72 per year.
An exception will be made for account holders over the age of 66 who can maintain their fee-free banking account.
Modern Alternatives for Permanent TSB Customers
While these introductions are, in the very least, annoying, they also come at an interesting time. There are some fantastic digital alternatives out there for you to consider if you’ve just been trundling along with PTSB because you happen to have a fee-free bank account. Here are my two favourites.
I’ve been an N26 customer for a good few years, though I’ve not really used it that much. Largely that’s down to Revolut – more on that in a moment.
N26 is a proper bank as in they are a fully licenced bank, just like AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Ulster Bank and PTSB. The difference is that they aren’t really based in Ireland. Instead, they operate out of Berlin. There’s no branch you can call into and they don’t offer the likes of mortgages and all that jazz. N26 is a simple current account that doesn’t charge you for the privilege of having it.
Now, you do need to be aware that all that digital means withdrawing cash will cost you – €2 a pop! But you can use your card for payments in store as much as you like.
Technically, this would have been a controversial inclusion in the list but last December Revolut was also awarded a European Banking licence. This means, just like N26m customers would be protected for up to €100,000 should they opt to lodge their salaries into a Revolut account.
Last year in The Times, I weighed in on the importance of trust when it came to these ‘challenger’ banks in Ireland. If people know they’re safe enough lodging salaries into these accounts, traditional banks like Permanent TSB will find themselves in right bother.
Revolut offer a wide range of benefits, my personal favourite being the fact your account is currency agnostic. You can shop in Sterling, Euro or Dollars along with a wide range of other currencies. This is great for an Amazon binge or trip to the States.
While I’m on a premium account with Revolut, you can use their accounts for free. Like N26, ATM usage is where most customers might encounter a fee. You can withdraw €200 without paying a penny extra – which is nice.
I’m reluctant to give KBC a mention here. Their basic current account charges €6 per month and their other current account requires €2500 to be lodged every month. Still, their technical advancements are incredible, leaving every other Irish bank in their wake. A range of modern payment methods are on the table along with them being first to market with a PSD2 offering.
KBC is my primary bank account at the moment, but that could easily be Revolut shortly, while N26 remains the old Goosed.ie Business account option. I guess, if you take one thing away from this read it would be to at least consider your banking options. We all tend to just stick with what our parents set up or whoever gave us an overdraft in college. Switching your account could save you a fortune, so if you have any questions, hit us up on social or chat with the good folk over at Bonkers.ie.