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Current account switching is something that is relatively new in the Irish market—in fact, recent figures by the Central Bank show that the number of current account switches fell in the second half of last year to hit the lowest level in the last five years.
But with changing consumer behaviours and the recent introduction of additional current account fees by some banks, consumers are becoming more aware of the fees they are being charged which should impact the level of consumer switching in the years ahead.
KBC recently conducted research which found that consumers are now adjusting their spending behaviour to avoid current account fees. The research highlighted that consumers want more from their current accounts—with one in two admitting to adjusting their spending behaviours to avoid or reduce their quarterly fees.
With talk of current account fees dominating the market, we are constantly responding to consumers’ needs and looking at new ways to ensure that we are offering customers real choice and long term value. Currently, six out of 10 KBC current account customers avail of fee-free banking, but now KBC Extra Current Account holders who make a monthly lodgement of €2,000 will also benefit from fee-free banking. Additionally, account holders aren’t required to maintain the balance, making it one of the most competitive current accounts on the market.
In addition to fees, we’ve also seen a rapid change in spending behaviours with digital banking technologies dominating this change—consumers now expect their current account to offer digital solutions. Two out of three people that we surveyed said they expect more than just basic current account functions and now consider digital banking technologies such as contactless and mobile payments, as standard.
At KBC, we are constantly staying ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and offer our customers a range of digital banking technologies. Customers can enjoy fee free contactless payments as well as a full suite of digital wallets which includes Apple Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay and Sony Pay. Our market-leading app also offers customers Instant Credit Card, Digital Personal Loans and a new first to market Lost/Stolen instant card replacement service.
In addition to this, in the first few months of 2019, KBC introduced multibanking, which allows customers who hold an AIB or Bank of Ireland current account to view their balance through the KBC app.
While we continue to respond to the changing habits of our customers, customers themselves should keep an eye on the current account fees they are being charged. What may seem like a small fee for things like making a contactless payment or for not maintaining a minimum account balance—if you weigh these up on a monthly basis the fees can really start to add up.