Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (148)

Pearse Doherty


148. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the reason certain banks are allowed discriminate in their fee structures against customers with less than a certain amount in their account by imposing fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16144/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

In fulfilling its statutory role under Section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act, 1995 (the Act), I understand that the Central Bank assesses each notification received from a credit institution pursuant to the Act, where they wish to introduce any new customer charge or increase any existing customer charge in respect of certain services, in accordance with the specific assessment criteria set out in the Act.

Approvals are issued in the form of a letter of direction and the entity is legally bound to comply with this letter of direction. The letter of direction sets out the maximum amount the credit institution is allowed to charge. Credit institutions are free to impose any pricing differentials for the service up to the permitted maximum and are free to waive fees at their discretion. If customers are unhappy with their current account provider for any reason, including cost, they have the right to switch to a different provider.

In this regard, I would encourage customers to look at my Department's website www.switchyourbank.ie which provides useful information on switching financial products.