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Finance: Charge of the bank brigade.


BANK customers in a Dublin branch of AIB couldn't believe their luck last week when the cash dispenser started giving them double the amount they had requested.

Banks rarely give you something for nothing and normally you are charged for the privelege of using ATMs.

You may be also charged for setting up, monitoring and maintaining an account, and in addition moving money in or out of the account, stopping a payment and for cash handling services.

A spokesman for the Irish Bankers' Federation said: "The provision of the money transmission system here is estimated to cost banks well in excess of IRpounds 300 million per year.

"Bank transaction charges are a feature of banking throughout the world. Following the principle that those who benefit should pay, such charges arise when customers use the money transmission system.

"Banks differ in the charges they apply to customer transactions, how and when they apply those charges, and in the proportion of their costs they recoup through charging."

In its code of practice, the federation said some fees and charges may be deducted from your account as they arise - the rest are accumulated and deducted periodically.

Where fees and charges are accumulated and total more than IRpounds 10, you should be given at least 10 working days notice, together with a breakdown of the amount.

If your bank changes its fees and charges for standard services, you will be told of the new charges either by a notice in the national press, in branches or by letter.

A spokesman said: "Many bank customers do not pay charges - some because they maintain a required credit balance, others because they are in qualifying customer categories, for example students, or senior citizens."

Among the customers who pay, the amount paid varies from bank to bank. However, the average annual amount paid in account maintenance and transaction charges is around IRpounds 38."

A spokesman for Consumer Choice - the magazine of the Consumers' Association of Ireland - said: "If you use your current account wisely you can significantly reduce costs.."

Fees are regularly paid on transactions such as lodgements, whereas charges are imposed on one-off services such as setting up a standing order.

Free banking, where available, usually applies only to fees not charges. The bank's customers can choose to pay 22p for every transaction, or pay IRpounds 9 per quarter.

AIB also announced last year changes to simplify its fees and charges. A maintenance fee of IRpounds 3.75 per quarter is levied and customers pay an additional 24p for paper transactions and 17p for automated transactions.

AIB customers qualify for free banking on unlimited transactions if they maintain an account balance of IRpounds 400.

In addition, the National Irish Bank charges no fees if the account remains in credit


- Cheques/Paper Debits - 20p-26p

- Lodgments - 20p-24p

- Automated Teller Machine withdrawal - 10p-22p

- Withdrawing from other branches - 19p-25p

- Automatic direct debits - 15p-22p

- Laser debits - 17p-22p

- Standing Orders - 20p-37p

- Account maintenance - IRpounds 3-pounds 4.15 per quarter

l Replacement of ATM Card or PIN - Nil-IRpounds 5

lProvision of a cheque card - Nil-IRpounds 3.15 annually

l Supplying duplicate statements - per page IRpounds 2-pounds 3

l Setting up a standing order - IRpounds 2-pounds 3.50

l Amending an existing standing order - Nil-IRpounds 1.05

l Unpaid standing order - IRpounds 3.50-pounds 10


FEE-LING THE COST: Bank customers need to study charges carefully
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2001
Previous Article:Finance: Reynolds stake boost; BUSINESS BRIEFS.

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