Are you considering upgrading your bank account? With the recent departures of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank, the range of options for day-to-day banking in Ireland has certainly decreased.
For many individuals, the primary concern is finding the most affordable banking option available.
However, some may be interested in additional benefits, even if they come with a price tag. In this article, we’ll explore some of the offerings available on the market.
This includes accounts that are available to higher earners and those that require a fee to access.
Bank of Ireland’s Premium Banking Service: Who Qualifies and What Are the Perks?
Bank of Ireland launched its Premier banking service in 2016, which targets customers who earn enough income/assets to warrant a specialized service but don’t qualify for the bank’s private client offering. Recently, the bank has expanded its service to include additional benefits.
To be eligible for this premium service, Bank of Ireland requires a gross annual income of at least €100,000, a joint income of €140,000, or savings/investments of at least €100,000 within the Bank of Ireland group. Customers who qualify for this service receive a newly rebranded Black Visa Debit card, which provides access to the executive lounge at Dublin, Shannon, and Cork airports twice a year, along with emergency cash services abroad.
Other perks of the Premium Banking Service include a priority banking service with phone support, discounts on personal loans, home and car insurance, foreign exchange, and access to seasonal events, offers, and competitions. Bank of Ireland also offers a property service for customers seeking a home in Dublin with approval for a mortgage of €500,000 or more.
The cost of Bank of Ireland’s Premium Banking Service is €6 a month (€72 annually) with no additional fees.
Revolut’s Premium METAL Account:
Revolut’s premium account, Metal, offers a variety of coloured cards and comes with a host of perks. Customers can enjoy cheaper fees for several services and receive insurance as a free extra. With Metal, customers get a higher ATM allowance of €800 per month in free withdrawals, with a 2% fee thereafter. Parents can also set up five under-18s accounts.
For frequent travellers to non-eurozone countries, the card can help to keep costs in check by allowing unlimited spending, exchanging and transferring of money in over 29 currencies with no fees. Additionally, customers can trade US stocks with unlimited free trades and invest in precious metals and cryptocurrencies with a markup of 0.25% and 1.5% respectively.
The most significant benefit of the Metal account is the insurance it offers, including purchase protection on goods worth up to £10,000 per year (€11,411) if they are stolen or damaged, reimbursement for ticketed events up to £1,000 (€1,141), and emergency medical, dental, delayed flight and baggage insurance. Customers will also receive cashback of 0.1% in Europe and 1% outside, with a maximum of €13.99 per month. The account also provides cashback of up to 10% on certain accommodation bookings abroad.
The standard account offered by Revolut has also recently improved, as Irish account holders now have an Irish Iban, which utility companies and others will accept for payments.
Metal costs €13.99 per month (€167.88 per year), or €135 per year if paid upfront in full.
N26 premium METAL Account
Metal is also the name of the premium account offered by German bank N26. In addition to standard banking services such as a physical card and free ATM withdrawals abroad, Metal customers receive several perks.
For instance, they can choose from three different metal debit card colors: black, silver, or rose gold. Customers can withdraw up to eight times per month for free, with each subsequent withdrawal costing €2.
Metal account holders have access to various free insurance products, such as Allianz travel insurance, which provides up to €1 million in medical emergency coverage, up to €10,000 for trip cancellations or interruptions, and up to €500 for flight delays. Lifestyle insurance is also available, which covers car sharing, e-scooter, and e-bike rental damages up to €20,000, winter sports accidents up to €2,300, and mobile phone damage/theft up to €1,000.
Lower crypto trading fees are another benefit of having a Metal account, with a reduced 1%/2% transaction fee for buying and selling nearly 200 cryptocurrencies in the N26 app. Additionally, Metal customers have access to unique experiences, although it’s unclear what those entail.
One of the most significant advantages of a Metal account is priority phone access to customer service, which is available seven days a week. A business metal account is also available, offering a 0.5% cashback on all card purchases for self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs.
The cost of a Metal account is €16.90 per month or €202.80 per year.
AIB Platinum Visa card
Bank of Ireland offers a mid-tier banking option between day-to-day banking and private banking, but AIB does not. However, AIB does provide a Platinum Visa card that caters to middle-income earners.
To be eligible for the card, you must have a minimum annual salary of €40,000.
What are the benefits? The primary benefit of having this card is access to a cashback program, although it is somewhat limited. To earn cashback, you must spend a minimum of €5,000 on your card in a year, and you will receive 0.5% of that amount back. So, if you spend the minimum amount of €5,000, you will receive €25 back. It may not be enough to entice you to switch credit card providers.
If you are a big spender and reach the maximum limit of €50,000 per year, you can receive the maximum amount of €225 allowed under the scheme.
You will also be able to participate in the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection, which provides incentives such as automatic room upgrades, a daily food or beverage allowance of $25, and a 3pm checkout upon request at 900 hotels worldwide, including the Cliff House Hotel in Co Waterford and the Westbury and Shelbourne hotels in Dublin.
Price-wise, the card has an annual percentage rate (APR) of 17%, which is not the lowest available (AIB’s Click credit card, for example, has an APR of 13.8%). It does, however, offer a special introductory rate of 3.83% on purchases and balance transfers in the first 12 months. Nevertheless, you can find zero percent offerings from other providers.
The Bottom Line
Upgrading to a premium bank account can offer a range of benefits, from exclusive access to airport lounges to cashback rewards.
When choosing a premium account, it’s important to consider the benefits that are most important to you and to compare the different options available.