Bank of Ireland waives contactless fees in response to coronavirus

16 Mar 20201.38k Views

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Bank of Ireland has temporarily waived contactless fees in a bid to discourage the use of cash during the coronavirus outbreak.

Bank of Ireland will temporarily remove its contactless payment fee of 1c per transaction effective immediately. In response to a query from Siliconrepublic.com, the bank said the fee will be dropped “effective immediately for the duration of the public health emergency”.

It said in a statement that this is to comply with advice from the Government on social distancing and hand hygiene. It also said that it will offer further supports for customers impacted by travel disruption.

This includes committing to buying back foreign currency at the rate it was sold which, it said, would ensure the customer won’t be at a financial loss.

John O’Beirne, director of products at Bank of Ireland, said: “We are very conscious that contactless transactions are the safest and most practical solution for customers in the current climate. To that end we are waiving all contactless fees.

“We understand that some customers may be worried about the impact that contracting Covid-19 might have on them financially, and would ask customers to contact us directly where they have concerns.”

Response from other banks

It comes after AIB announced that its plans to introduce a 1c charge for contactless payments at the end of May would be suspended until a later date.

However, other fees and charges – such as a quarterly fee of €4.50 – will still come in at the end of May. These new charges were part of a measure by AIB to change from its previous policy where any current account holder with a balance of more than €2,500 would not have to pay fees.

Ulster Bank is the only other financial institution in Ireland charging a 1c fee per contactless transaction. It has confirmed to Siliconrepublic.com that it will not be making any changes to its fee structure.

Two of the biggest mobile-only banks available in Ireland – N26 and Revolut – do not place fees on contactless transactions.

Updated, 11.44am, 18 March 2020: This article was updated to include confirmation that Ulster Bank has no plans to change its fee structure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com