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Current Accounts - Ireland - August 2019

Covered in this report

This report examines the current account market in Northern Ireland (NI) and Republic of Ireland (RoI). It analyses the main drivers at play within the market. It also draws on exclusive consumer data to assess levels of ownership of current accounts among Irish consumers, preferred providers of main and non-main current accounts, levels of switching activity among consumers and consumers’ preferences when it comes to channels for selected banking activities.

"For the first time since Mintel began examining Irish consumers' preferred channels for various banking activities and transactions, the digital channels - online banking and mobile banking - trump branches for every activity. The coming years will likely see branches further edged out of transactions and everyday banking activities, as they increasingly become viewed as centres for selling and advice. Indeed, the online banking channel is beginning to assume the role that the branch network once fulfilled."
– Brian O’Connor, Senior Consumer Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Cautious optimism around Irish economic outlook
  • Continued job growth and low unemployment in both economies
  • Current account fees and charges increasing across the board in RoI
  • Switching more common among NI than RoI consumers

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Issues covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Figure 1: Total number of active current accounts, actual, estimated, forecasted and projected, IoI, RoI and NI, 2013-24
          • Forecast
            • Figure 2: Index of total number of active current accounts, actual, estimated, forecasted and projected, RoI and NI, 2013-24
          • Market factors
            • Cautious optimism around Irish economic outlook
              • Continued job growth and low unemployment in both economies
                • Current account fees and charges increasing across the board in RoI
                  • Switching more common among NI than RoI consumers
                    • Companies and brands
                      • The consumer
                        • Most Irish consumers have a minimum of one current account
                          • Figure 3: Number of personal current accounts owned by consumers (including those held jointly with someone else), NI and RoI, June 2019
                        • NI current account market far more competitive than RoI market
                          • Figure 4: Where consumers hold their main current account (ie the one that their salary is paid into or the one they use most regularly), NI, June 2019
                          • Figure 5: Where consumers hold their main current account (ie the one that their salary is paid into or the one they use most regularly), RoI, June 2019
                        • Majority of RoI and many NI consumers have never switched accounts
                          • Figure 6: Whether consumers have ever switched where their main current account is held, NI and RoI, June 2019
                        • Digital banking channels dominate consumer preferences
                          • Figure 7: Preferred methods of conducting selected banking activities, NI and RoI, June 2019
                        • What it means
                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                          • Positive outlook for both Irish economies, but pitfalls remain
                            • Employment growth and low unemployment across Ireland
                              • Cost of current accounts likely limited multiple account ownership in RoI
                                • Switching more common among NI than RoI consumers
                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                    • Slight increase in number of active current accounts in Ireland in 2019
                                      • Figure 8: Total number of active current accounts, actual, estimated, forecasted and projected, IoI, RoI and NI, 2013-24
                                    • RoI market to grow by 9% and NI by 4% in coming five years
                                      • Figure 9: Index of total number of active current accounts, actual, estimated, forecasted and projected, IoI, RoI and NI, 2013-24
                                  • Market Drivers

                                    • Both Irish economies set to continue growing over coming years
                                      • Figure 10: Economic growth forecasts, NI, RoI and UK, 2019-23
                                    • Job growth continuing in RoI, slowing down in NI - but unemployment low
                                      • Figure 11: Employment growth forecasts, NI, RoI and UK, 2019-23
                                    • Current accounts becoming more expensive for RoI consumers
                                      • Figure 12: Charges and fees, personal current accounts, RoI, July 2019
                                    • Switching activity among RoI consumers falls to lowest ever level
                                      • Figure 13: Number of current account switches, RoI, 2013-18
                                    • Almost 1 million switches in UK (including NI) in 12 months to March 2019
                                      • Figure 14: Monthly switching volumes, UK (including NI), October 2018-March 2019
                                    • In Q4 2018, NI-based providers lost over 2,000 accounts to account switching
                                      • Figure 15: Current account switching, participant data, UK (including NI), Q4 2018
                                    • More than 50,000 complaints about current accounts in RoI in 2018
                                      • Figure 16: Number of complaints about current accounts, RoI, 2014-18
                                    • Account administration and processing account for 50% of complaints
                                      • Figure 17: Complaints about current accounts, by complaint type, RoI, H2 2018
                                    • Complaints about current accounts up 27% in 2018/2019 in UK (including NI)
                                      • Figure 18: Volume of new complaints received by FOS, current accounts, UK (including NI), 2017-19
                                  • Companies and Brands – What You Need To Know

                                    • AIB and Danske Bank investing in responsible business practises
                                      • KBC Ireland continues to focus on compatibility
                                        • Permanent TSB investing in digital banking project
                                          • Santander repurposes closed branch as Work Café
                                            • Ulster Bank change current account fees for RoI consumers
                                            • Who’s Innovating?

                                              • AIB acquire Payzone in joint venture with First Data
                                                • NatWest trialling debit card with fingerprint contactless payment
                                                  • Starling Bank confirms it would be launching RoI subsidiary
                                                  • Companies and Brands

                                                      • Allied Irish Bank
                                                        • Key facts
                                                          • Product portfolio
                                                            • Recent developments
                                                              • An Post (RoI only)
                                                                • Key facts
                                                                  • Product portfolio
                                                                    • Bank of Ireland
                                                                      • Key facts
                                                                        • Product portfolio
                                                                          • Recent developments
                                                                            • Danske Bank (NI only)
                                                                              • Key facts
                                                                                • Product portfolio
                                                                                  • Recent developments
                                                                                    • EBS (RoI only)
                                                                                      • Key facts
                                                                                        • Product portfolio
                                                                                          • Halifax (NI only)
                                                                                            • Key facts
                                                                                              • Product portfolio
                                                                                                • Recent developments
                                                                                                  • HSBC (NI only)
                                                                                                    • Key facts
                                                                                                      • Product portfolio
                                                                                                        • Recent developments
                                                                                                          • KBC Ireland (RoI only)
                                                                                                            • Key facts
                                                                                                              • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                • Recent developments
                                                                                                                  • Nationwide (NI only)
                                                                                                                    • Key facts
                                                                                                                      • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                        • Recent developments
                                                                                                                          • Permanent TSB (RoI only)
                                                                                                                            • Key facts
                                                                                                                              • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                  • Santander (NI)
                                                                                                                                    • Key facts
                                                                                                                                      • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                        • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                          • Ulster Bank (NI only)
                                                                                                                                            • Key facts
                                                                                                                                              • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                                • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                  • Only one in 25 consumers in Ireland does not have a current account
                                                                                                                                                    • More competition in NI than in RoI, with two dominant RoI providers
                                                                                                                                                      • More than half of RoI and almost half NI consumers never switched
                                                                                                                                                        • Digital channels first choice among consumers for all activities
                                                                                                                                                        • Ownership of Current Accounts

                                                                                                                                                            • Vast majority of consumers in Ireland have at least one current account
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Number of personal current accounts owned by consumers (including those held jointly with someone else), NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Social class a significant factor in multiple account ownership
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Consumers who own two personal current accounts (including those held jointly with someone else), by social class, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Tendency to have multiple accounts increases exponentially with income
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 21: Consumers who own two personal current accounts (including those held jointly with someone else), by household income, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Multiple account ownership highest among those with 'healthy' finances
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Consumers who own two personal current accounts (including those held jointly with someone else), by financial situation, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Where Current Accounts Are Held

                                                                                                                                                              • No single dominant force in NI current account market
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Where consumers hold their main current account (ie the one that their salary is paid into or the one they use most regularly), NI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Similar level of competition in NI's non-main current account market
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Where consumers hold their other/non-main current account, NI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Just four providers control 85% of RoI current account market
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Where consumers hold their main current account (ie the one that their salary is paid into or the one they use most regularly), RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Less dominance, more competition in RoI non-main account sector
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Where consumers hold their other/non-main current account, RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Switching Activity

                                                                                                                                                                • Most RoI, many NI consumers never switched current account provider
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Whether consumers have ever switched where their main current account is held, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                • Recent switching activity low among both sets of consumers
                                                                                                                                                                  • Younger consumers somewhat more likely to have never switched
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Consumers who have never switched their main current account provider, by gender and age, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                • Methods Used for Selected Activities

                                                                                                                                                                    • Digital (mobile and online) now the mainstream channel for banking
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Preferred methods of conducting selected banking activities, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Preferred methods of conducting selected banking activities; internet (both mobile banking and online banking) vs in-branch counter services, NI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Preferred methods of conducting selected banking activities; internet (both mobile banking and online banking) vs in-branch counter services, RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                    • Branches popular when consultation or documentation required
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Consumers who prefer to use in-branch counter services when conducting various banking activities, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                    • Online banking filling the role that branches previously held
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Consumers who prefer to use online banking using a desktop/laptop when conducting various banking activities, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                    • Mobile banking the main channel for fast, simple activities
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Consumers who prefer to use mobile banking (ie app/website) when conducting various banking activities, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                                                                                                                      • Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                                                      Current Accounts - Ireland - August 2019

                                                                                                                                                                      £1,095.00 (Excl.Tax)