Q I have had my current account with Ulster Bank since I opened a Henry Hippo with my communion money in the 1980’s. Ever since they announced they were leaving Ireland I’ve been burying my head in the sand and avoiding even thinking about switching to a new provider. I know I need to do something about it, but I’m not even sure where to start. Can you help? Aine, Co Wicklow
A Ulster Bank and KBC Ireland leave Ireland. Ulster Bank’s first current accounts will close in October 2022, with final accounts expected to close in the first half of next year. If you don’t trade you could be left with a closed account and a check in the mail for the remaining balance, so switch now instead of putting it off until the last minute.
First you need to decide how you are going to manage your money in the future. You may already have a second checking account that you can use as your main account in the future. Alternatively, you can open a new checking account with another provider. While we know that many consumers have a second checking account, especially fintech accounts, our research shows that many consumers will not switch their main account to an all-digital provider. Our research also shows that you’re not alone in procrastinating when choosing a new vendor. We found that less than half of Ulster Bank and KBC customers have opened a new account despite being aware they have to.
What’s really important at this stage is figuring out what you want from a checking account. For some consumers, access to a local branch to deposit cash or speak to an advisor is very important. For other consumers, an easy-to-use mobile app and integration with Google or Apple Pay are most important. For many consumers, it will simply boil down to expense and try to lower their checking account fees.
A note on costs, don’t think of quarterly or monthly account fees as a summary of the cost of a checking account. Pricing structures vary significantly, with some service providers charging for features like online transactions and using a debit card. ATM withdrawal fees also vary significantly, especially for consumers who make weekly withdrawals.
You can compare account features with CCPC’s online money tool and find step-by-step instructions on what to do next once you’ve opened your new account at ccpc.ie/move.
Q I was on a golf holiday in Portugal with friends recently and my golf clubs have disappeared. It wasn’t ideal, but I was able to rent a set for my vacation. Now I’m back home in Ireland and there’s still no sign of them. I contacted the airline but they were not very accommodating. What should I do now? John, Limerick
A Lost luggage was a hot topic this summer. The good news is that Ireland has joined the Montreal Convention, an international agreement that gives rights to consumers. So once you’ve checked in a bag, the airline is responsible for making sure it gets to its destination. The airline is also responsible if something happens to them. This means that if your luggage is lost, damaged or delayed, you can claim compensation from your airline. However, there are limits to the amount you can claim. It is therefore worthwhile for consumers who are traveling with particularly valuable items to find out about their travel insurance options in advance.
To make a claim, contact your airline, who will usually ask you to fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). You probably did this when your clubs first disappeared. This report will ask you about the colour, size and shape of your baggage in order to track it. Reasonable expenses can be submitted as part of a claim, so keep all your receipts, including the cost of hiring replacement clubs. You will also usually need a copy of your booking confirmation, boarding pass, baggage tag and PIR report.
Your luggage is considered lost if it has not arrived after 21 days and you should submit a claim. The maximum claim that you can assert is just under €1,500. You should also check each travel insurance policy to see if they may have additional coverage.
If you’re still unsatisfied, your next step should be to follow the airline’s complaints procedure. If your complaint is still unresolved and your claim is €2,000 or less, you can use the Small Claims Court procedure or seek independent legal advice.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/where-do-i-start-with-an-ulster-bank-account-switch-over-as-closure-looms-41908723.html Where do I start switching accounts at Ulster Bank if a closure is looming?