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BoI imposes new charges, but says most customers will be better off

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Bank of Ireland group CEO Francesca McDonagh

Bank of Ireland group CEO Francesca McDonagh

Bank of Ireland group CEO Francesca McDonagh

Bank of Ireland is introducing a string of changes for its current accounts that will be costly for a number of customers.

However, it insists the majority will be better off.

The bank, headed by group chief executive Francesca McDonagh, is replacing 26 fees that can be imposed on customers with a flat monthly charge of €6 for everyone.

One in 10 customers who had previously avoided transaction fees by keeping a balance of €3,000 in their accounts at all times will now have to pay the €6 charge.

Thirty per cent of customers who have low levels of transactions will also end up paying more.

The bank is making Google Pay available after months of delays in introducing that option.

Customers will be able to apply for a current account in minutes with a new digital account opening process, the bank claimed.

Bank of Ireland said the changes to its charging set-up to a flat-fee model will allow for unlimited contactless payments and ATM use.

However, the new monthly €6 fee will be imposed on all customer current accounts.

The new arrangements take effect from November 23.

At the moment, all customers pay a €5 maintenance every three months.

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People who can keep at least €3,000 in their account can avoid transactions charges being added to the quarterly fee.

Around one in 10 customers pay the €5 fee, but do not pay any transaction charges because they keep at least €3,000 in their account.

That system will no longer be in place.

Everyone will pay €6 a month, but they will no longer incur individual bank charges, such as the 1c for every contactless payment or fees for debit card chip and PIN transactions and debit card online transactions.

The changes will mean the removal of the referral fee for unpaid direct debits and standing orders of €12.70 per item.

Transaction fees will no longer apply.

The bank said it will continue to provide free banking for seniors, students and graduates.

Also announced is a new digital process that will allow current accounts to be opened online.

Customers will be able to complete their application digitally and upload any supporting documentation in less than 10 minutes using their mobile phone.

Personal customers will also be able to add their credit and debit cards to Google Pay next week.

Daragh Cassidy, of price comparison site Bonkers.ie, said the new all-in-one fee structure makes the bank's charges far easier to understand and more competitive and means there should be no more bill shocks for customers.