Less than a third of customers leaving Ulster and KBC have updated direct debits – The Irish Times

According to the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), only 30% of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland customers who need to move their banking elsewhere have updated their direct debit agreements with their new account details.

BPFI released the estimate as the lobby group and its members prepare to hold a roundtable on Wednesday with the Central Bank of Ireland, ComReg, the Utilities Regulatory Commission and a ‘wide range’ of bidders. collections, as part of ongoing efforts. to avoid a crisis of widespread missed payments following the so-called big change. Account holders who don’t update their direct debits risk missing out on many bills ranging from utilities to mortgages.

Around 500,000 Ulster and KBC active personal and business current accounts at the end of last year are due to move as the two lenders prepare to leave the Republic, according to key industry figures.

More than 600,300 current and deposit accounts were opened at the three remaining retail banks in the first eight months, covering accounts in motion as well as openings that would occur in a normal year, according to the Bank. central. However, barely a quarter of Ulster and KBC accounts were closed during the period, as most households and businesses are slow to do so until their new banking arrangements are working properly.

“Over the past six months, BPFI has engaged monthly with direct debit orderers to discuss emerging issues and help highlight key considerations at a broader level,” said Brian Hayes, Managing Director. organisation.

“Opening a new account is only the first step in the process and we estimate… that approximately 30% of customers who switch accounts have updated their direct debit issuer with their new bank details. “

He said “further action is required by both customers and the wider industry in this regard.”

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Meanwhile, Ulster Bank on Tuesday issued a warning to business customers whose accounts are at risk of being frozen from the middle of next month as it ends that they risk failing to meet payroll and to receive and make general payments if they delay finding a new account provider. .

The bank began formally writing to groups of business and retail current and deposit account customers in mid-April giving them six months’ notice to transfer their business to another provider.

The six-month time frame begins to fall in a slippery fashion from the middle of next month. KBC began giving customers six months’ notice from the start of June.

“Ulster Bank urges its customers to take steps to ensure continuity of service for their business banking needs. If a customer does not switch or close a business current account, it could have implications for their business. in terms of paying wages to its employees, suppliers and receiving payments for its own goods and services,” the UK bank said.

“We also understand that many customers will choose to keep their account open as they transition to a new provider. If at the end of their six month notice period a client has not moved their account, the account will become non-operational and after one month will be closed with a check issued for the account balance.

Ulster Bank, part of the NatWest group, issued a similar public warning for personal current and deposit account customers earlier this month.

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