Ulster Bank personal credit card customers are being urged to act quickly to switch to a new account provider in advance of the closure of the NatWest-owned lender’s credit card service later this month.
Credit cards issued by the bank will no longer work from March 22nd “or shortly thereafter”, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
The bank is in the process of winding down its operations in the Republic following a strategic review of its business in late 2020 and early 2021, with all physical branches to close by mid-April. Ulster Bank began writing to all personal credit card holders last September, giving them six months’ notice to choose a new provider and switch over.
That deadline is now approaching after which customers will not be able to use their credit cards, Ulster Bank said in the statement. At that point, it said: “Any recurring transactions set up on a customer’s credit card will be cancelled and returned unpaid.”
It added: “For those customers who have yet to make the move, they are being urged to choose an alternative provider if required; move their recurring transactions; pay the outstanding balance ensuring there is sufficient funds to cover the Government stamp duty; and close their Ulster Bank credit card.”
Customers who need further assistance are being directed to Ulster Bank’s online customer support hub.
The lender said it is also contacting customers, who may have difficulty repaying their balance in full and is offering support on a “case-by-case basis for individual repayment plans”.
Customers who have not repaid the balance of their account by March 22nd are urged to continue to making repayments each month to avoid going into arrears.
Ulster Bank chief executive Jane Howard said: “Customers who need additional help will be supported at this time and we will continue to work with customers who may be having difficulty repaying their credit card balance. I would encourage any customer who feels they need support to contact us either in branch, or on the phone. Our customer support hub on our website is also a useful resource for customers.”
Central Bank data published last month revealed that some 316,804 Ulster Bank and KBC Bank current accounts were open at the end of January, a decline of 54 per cent since the start of 2022 after a flurry of closures in the five weeks leading up to the end of the first month of the year.
Separately, the NatWest-owned lender became the latest Irish bank to raise the interest levels on its fixed-rate mortgages, increasing the rates by 0.4-0.9 per cent from last Friday.