I used to work in a bank. Banks in Ireland often resist change – no pun intended. I previously wrote about Ireland’s most digital banks and how having a smorgasbord of accounts can actually work out in your favour. This week Ulster Bank did something pretty expected to be honest. They’ve introduced fees to generate some revenue from changing user behaviour. I’m here to show you how adopting a digital bank like Revolut or N26 can help you avoid this.
How Much Do Ulster Bank Charge In Fees?
Until now, Ulster Bank has charged customers a monthly maintenance fee of €4. More importantly, while paying this €4, customers were not paying any additional regular banking fees. Some banks do charge for additional services, including transactions fees, contactless usage and ATM withdrawals.
This is set to change, starting the end of this month. Ulster Bank will reduce the standing monthly account maintenance fee to €2 for all customers. The bank will also start charging fees for day to day account usage. Every time a direct debit is charged to your account or you may a card purchase in a store, you’ll pay 20 cents. Withdrawing cash from an ATM will set you back 35 cents while all contactless transactions, including Google and Apple Pay transactions, will cost you an extra 1 cent.
How To Avoid Banking Fees With Ulster Bank
Now, speaking from a personal standpoint this is of absolutely no use to many people, but if you do maintain a balance of at least €3,000 you can avoid transaction fees. A bit silly really and like I said, not a hope I’d ever be able to maintain that! Also, you’ll never be able to avoid the €2 monthly fee.
There’s also a much more practical way of avoiding the daily banking fees than sitting on three grand.
Digital-only banks like Revolut and N26 have become quite popular in Ireland over the past couple of years. Revolut is particularly popular in Ireland and is believed to have over 200,000 Irish customers. These modern digital banks are doing things very differently which seems to be making their early-adopter customers very happy. While some traditional banking services like credit are yet to appear through these banks, day to day banking works just fine. On top of that then there are some other great benefits. I had a recent trip to New York where I only used my Revolut card to avail of live currency exchange. It’s really handy.
Revolut also has the added benefit of avoiding the charging of fees where possible. On their free tier account, you can withdraw up to €200 from ATMs every month. Transaction fees are nowhere to be seen. You can tap your card, type in your pin or use Google Pay as much as you like without incurring additional costs.
use Revolut’s free tier account for day to day banking and shopping, you’d avoid fees altogether
If you’re an Ulster Bank customer, this means if you were to transfer funds into a Revolut account every month and use Revolut’s free tier account for day to day banking and shopping, you’d avoid fees altogether.
What’s The Catch?
Revolut is a fairly new set up but they’ve just been granted a banking license. The biggest catch with all of these banks is a largely mental one. Because they don’t have branches many people, myself included, are still reluctant to have their wages land into these modern accounts.
Beyond that, if you do withdraw a lot of cash, you might need Revolut Premium which costs €7.99 per month, dwarfing the fees of Ulster Bank altogether. Calling it a subscription is a lot more appealing than “fees” and can make you feel like it’s just another monthly cost, alongside Spotify and Netflix.
As I mentioned to The Sunday Times, having a smorgasbord of options and paying attention to fees and limits means you can save a small fortune with a modern bank account like Revolut.
You can use my own link if you want to sign up to Revolut, I don’t think I get any kickbacks for this, but you’ll get a free Revolut card.