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Consumer Protection Bulletin Analyses Key Trends on Current Accounts and Switching

16 November 2017 Press Release

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• 99% of account switches completed under the Switching Code were completed within the timeframes prescribed by that Code
• The number of current account switches remains low
• All payment service providers providing payment accounts in Ireland are subject to the statutory switching code

The Central Bank of Ireland has published its seventh Consumer Protection Bulletin, which analyses the level of current account switching using data gathered from credit institutions.

This bulletin provides a high level overview of the number and value of consumer current accounts held by personal consumers; the number of consumers using the Central Bank’s Code of Conduct on the Switching of Payment Accounts with Payment Service Providers (the Switching Code); and the number of consumer complaints received by firms in relation to current accounts.

The key trends include:

• The number of current accounts held by personal consumers has increased over the period H2-2015 to H1-2017 from 5,144,522 accounts to 5,286,356 accounts.

• There continues to be an increase in the value of current accounts held by personal consumers over the period H2-2013 to H1-2017 from €16.2 billion to €25.5 billion.

• For each of the reporting periods over the last three years, while switching levels remained low, 99% of the current account switches completed under the Switching Code were completed within the timeframes prescribed by that Code.

• Complaints relating to current accounts (24,335 in H1-2017) continue to represent the largest number of consumer complaints about banking products. The number of complaints as a percentage of the total number of current accounts is less than 1%.



1. This is the Central Bank’s seventh Consumer Protection Bulletin. The Central Bank will continue to publish these bulletins periodically, covering various aspects of the market.
2. The Switching Code provides for:
• A smooth, efficient switching process for the consumer;
• Consistency of approach to the process by all relevant institutions; and
• Protection and support for consumers contemplating, undertaking and/or completing the switching process.
3. In September 2016, following the introduction of the Payment Accounts Directive, the Switching Code was revised and renamed the “Code of Conduct on the Switching of Payment Accounts with Payment Service Providers”. The Switching Code now applies to credit institutions, payment institutions and e-money institutions that offer payment accounts.

4. Payments Accounts Directive
The Payments Accounts Directive came into effect in Ireland in September 2016. It covers three distinct elements; transparency and comparability of fees, access to payments accounts with basic features and payment account switching.
What does this mean for consumers?
This will allow consumers to compare offers from different payment services providers and to make informed decisions on the payment account that best suits their needs.
The payment account with basic features must be made available to consumers by relevant credit institutions that offer payment accounts. Features of the account include:

1. Consumers will be able to place funds in the payment account, withdraw cash from their account, execute direct debits, credit transfers and payment transactions including on-line payments.
2. The account will be free of charge for the first year, and will remain free to consumers lodging not more than a specified amount to the account.
3. Thereafter reasonable fees may be charged for transactions carried out in a currency other than euro.
4. An overdraft facility will not be available on such an account.
5. A credit institution may refuse to provide a basic payment account where the consumer already has a payment account in Ireland.

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