Survey shows just 44 per cent of KBC and Ulster Bank customers have switched accounts

Less than half of former KBC and Ulster Bank customers have opened a new bank account, a new survey by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has found.

Other banks announced last year that they were exiting the Irish market.

Belgian-owned KBC has given its customers six months from June 1 this year to make the switch, while Ulster Bank announced it would be informing customers of its own six-month deadline from April and phasing in the switch.

And while the CCPC survey found that 81 percent of former current account customers at both banks plan to switch providers, only 44 percent have actually done so.

The IPSOS MRBI survey of former current account customers from both banks nationwide – conducted between June 13 and 22 – found that account switching and transfers of direct debits and recurring payments pose the biggest challenges for those beginning or completing the process.

The move to direct debit was cited as the top challenge by 13 percent of respondents, followed by a “lack of viable alternatives” cited by 8 percent of respondents.

Seven percent of former customers said they have difficulty accessing personal support, too many forms and documents are required, and they have had difficulty switching multiple financial products. The same percentage of former account holders said the biggest obstacle was “the time and effort involved in switching”, with 15 per cent of Ulster Bank customers citing this as the biggest challenge.

Despite the obstacles, 65 percent of respondents planning to switch accounts said they would complete the process within two months.

The survey also found that more than half, or 47 per cent, of Ulster Bank customers had already opened a new current account, compared with just over a quarter, or 27 per cent, of KBC customers.

Another 20 percent of former customers said they have decided on a new provider but have not yet switched, while 15 percent said they are now comparing providers but have yet to decide on an alternative. Another 20 percent of former customers said they have not yet started the process.

More than a quarter or 29 percent of customers indicated that they would choose an online provider

More than a quarter or 29 per cent of customers said they choose to shop online, rising to more than half (52 per cent) of KBC customers and almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Ulster Bank customers.

Meanwhile, CCPC Commissioner Brian McHugh said that while it is encouraging that almost half of all former customers are in the process of switching, “consumers need to be very proactive to ensure that all direct debits are transferred to their new Key payments for bills and loans are processed without interruption.”

The CCPC said former customers should not put off switching “to avoid possible delays or being left unbanked.” “

“The CCPC also reminds consumers that delaying the switching process up to the very last minute can result in negative consequences such as: E.g. regular payment disruptions, loan arrears, security risks and a negative personal credit rating.”

However, to streamline the process, it encourages customers to explore the options available to them by subscribing to CCPC’s online current account comparison tool, available on its website at, and visiting its switching hub on the same site which offers unbiased switching information and step-by-step instructions. Survey shows just 44 per cent of KBC and Ulster Bank customers have switched accounts

Fry Electronics Team

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