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Ulster Bank - The Latest Info, News, and Reviews

Established in 1836, Ulster Bank is one of the largest banks in Ireland. It operates in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, providing a wide range of current accounts, loans, savings, and credit cards to its 1.9 million customers.


Ulster Bank is one of the Big Four Irish banks, alongside Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks (operating as First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland) and National Irish Bank. It was established in 1836 as The Ulster Banking Company following a breakaway of National Bank of Ireland shareholders.

The bank has 146 branches in the Republic of Ireland and 90 in Northern Ireland.


About Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank is a subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS Group) together with NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

In 2016, as part of a structural change, The RBS Group formed a new holding company, NatWest Holdings, to ring-fence its domestic operations from its wholesale and investment banking activities. As a result, Ulster Bank is now a subsidiary of NatWest Holdings, which The RBS Group owns.

History of Ulster Bank

A hand holding a selection of bank notes
  • 1836 - John Heron, Robert Grimshaw, John Currell, and James Steen found The Ulster Banking Company in Belfast.
  • 1862 - The bank opens an office in Dublin.
  • 1883 - The bank becomes a limited company and changes its name to Ulster Bank.
  • 1917 - The bank is acquired by Westminster Bank but retains the Ulster Bank name and branding.
  • 1960 - Ulster Bank becomes the first Irish bank to introduce ATMs.
  • 1968 - Its parent bank, Westminster Bank, merges with National Provincial Bank and creates National Westminster Bank, commonly known as NatWest. Ulster Bank adopts the new group logo featuring three-arrowheads.
  • 1989 - The bank launches the Ulster Bank Visa card.
  • 2000 - The RBS Group takes over NatWest and its subsidiaries including Ulster Bank. However, the bank retains its brand and operates independently within the RBS Group.
  • 2003 - Ulster Bank purchases First Active, Ireland’s oldest building society. The First Active brand was later retired to become part of Ulster Bank’s product offering.
  • 2005 - The bank changes its branding and adopts the RBS daisy wheel as its logo.

Customer service reviews

Unfortunately for Ulster Bank, many of its customers seem to have had a bad experience using its services. Review site Trustpilot gives it a rating of 1.5/5, with 91% of reviewers rating the bank as poor or bad. Only 5% of reviewers rated the bank as excellent or great.

Reviews on the site mention poor customer service because of long queues in its branches and issues with having queries dealt with correctly.

There should be an option for zero stars. I believe Ulster Bank to be an unpleasant, inefficient and generally unhelpful bank who care little or nothing about their customers. I have been with them for many years and cannot wait to change to another bank.

In defence of Ulster Bank, it is more common for a person to review a company or product if they have had a negative experience. That being said, Ulster Bank has one of the lowest Trustpilot scores of any UK high-street bank; the other Big Four Irish banks have all received higher ratings.

[I] don't understand these negative reviews, I have been with Ulster Bank for over forty years. Their customer service is superb, very pleasant staff and great app.first class!”

RBS and NatWest, who are part of The RBS Group along with Ulster Bank, are rated 1.4/5 and 1.5/5 respectively. Possibly signifying that Ulster Bank’s poor review score is an issue within the larger RBS Group.


Ulster Bank accounts and products

Ulster Bank operates in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and has websites for both areas, with some products only available in Northern Ireland.

Current Account

Ulster Bank has a good selection of current accounts available depending on your requirements and eligibility.

Most current accounts are available to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland customers. However, there are a few differences. Ulster Bank charges residents of the Republic of Ireland transaction fees on some accounts that residents of Northern Ireland do not need to pay.

We have listed the current accounts below.

Current Account Features Republic of Ireland fees Northern Ireland fees
Current Account   Visa Debit Card
  Emergency Cash
  Overdraft (Eligible customers only)
  Mobile banking
  Apple Pay & Google Pay
€2 monthly fee.
Transaction fees for:
- Debit card transactions
- Automated transactions
- ATM withdrawals
- In branch and counter transactions
- Contactless transactions
£0 monthly fee.
No transaction fees
Standard Account   Visa Debit Card
  Emergency Cash
  Mobile Banking
  Apple Pay & Google Pay
€2 monthly fee.
Transaction fees for:
- Debit card transactions
- Automated transactions
- ATM withdrawals
- In branch and counter transactions
Unavailable
Foundation Account   Visa Debit Card
  Emergency Cash
  Mobile Banking
  Apple Pay & Google Pay
€0 monthly fee.
No transaction fees
-
A maximum amount can be lodged to the account over 12 months. If this is exceeded, the account will be changed to a Standard Account
£0 monthly fee.
No transaction fees
Student Account   Visa Debit Card
  Emergency Cash
  Mobile Banking
  Apple Pay & Google Pay
  Interest-free student overdraft
  Commission-free Travel Money
€0 monthly fee.
No transaction fees
£0 monthly fee.
No transaction fees
Graduate Account   Visa Debit Card
  Emergency Cash
  Mobile Banking
  Apple Pay & Google Pay
  Interest-free overdraft
  Commission-free Travel Money
  Graduate loan
€0 monthly fee.
No transaction fees
£0 monthly fee.
No transaction fees

Republic of Ireland customers can avoid paying transaction fees on their account if they maintain a minimum cleared balance of €3,000 at all times, or if they are over the age of 66. The monthly fee still applies.

Ulster Bank RewardsRewards are available to all Ulster Bank customers with a current account. When you use your Visa card at select retailers, you will receive cashback in your account.

Loans

Ulster Bank has personal loans available depending on your needs and eligibility.

Loan Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland
Car loan
 
 
Home improvement loan
 
 
Debt consolidation loan
 
 
Holiday loan
 
 
Wedding loan
 
 
Parental education loan
 
 
Other personal loan
 
 

What is a Parental Education Loan?If your child is heading off to university, you can apply for a Parental Education Loan and spread the cost over 1-7 years to help with their expenses and living costs.

Savings

To help you reach your savings goals, Ulster Bank provides a wide selection of products, including short-term and long-term savings accounts. Child savings accounts are also available in addition to cash ISAs and help to buy ISAs.

Savings Account Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland
Regular Savings Account
 
 
Instant Access Account
 
 
Fixed Term Account
 
 
Child Savings
 
 
Loyalty Saver
 
 
Help to Buy ISA
 
 
Cash ISA
 
 

Credit card

Credit Card Features Republic of Ireland fees Northern Ireland fees
Classic Credit Card   Three months interest-free on purchases
  Transfer balances from up to five credit cards
  No balance transfer fee
  Add an additional cardholder and pay just one annual Government Stamp Duty fee
  Manage your card from anywhere in the world, set up a travel plan or lock and unlock your card in the Ulster Bank mobile app
 
 
Black Credit Card   Six months interest-free on purchases
  No balance transfer fee
  Add an additional cardholder and pay just one annual Government Stamp Duty fee
  Manage your card from anywhere in the world, set up a travel plan or lock and unlock your card in our user friendly mobile app
  No foreign transaction charges on non-Euro purchases or cash advances (1.5% cash handling fee still applies to cash advances).
 
 
Student Credit Card   Build a credit profile for future borrowing
  Manage your card from anywhere in the world, set up a travel plan or lock and unlock your card in our user friendly mobile app.
 
 
Balance Transfer Credit Card   Balance Transfer Credit Card
  0% on balance transfers for 23 months, from account opening (thereafter standard rates apply). To enjoy the offer you need to make your transfers within the first 3 months
  0% on purchases, for 3 months after you open your account
  No annual or balance transfer fees
 
 
The Ulster Bank Credit Card   No foreign transaction fees
  A low rate on purchases
  No balance transfer fees
 
 

Credit cards are only available to eligible customers. The above information is general information only and does not constitute financial advice. Selectra always recommends that you do your own research and seek financial advice if necessary.

Mortgages

As with most banks, Ulster Bank offers a variety of mortgage options for you to choose from. It has options for first-time buyers, those looking to move home or switch providers, and buy to let mortgages.

The Ulster Bank website also has a handy mortgage calculator to help you work out how much you may be able to borrow before deciding if you want to apply.

Business accounts

In addition to personal banking, Ulster Bank also has business banking options available, including:

  • Business bank accounts
  • Savings and investments
  • Business credit cards
  • Business loans

Compare the best bank accountsStill unsure if Ulster Bank is the right bank for you? Then why not compare the best bank accounts to see what other options are available.


How to open an Ulster bank account

A wallet full of cash next to a stack of coins and bank notes

Once you have decided which Ulster Bank account you want, you will need to apply. You can do this online or by visiting your nearest branch.

Each account comes with a set of eligibility criteria that you will need to meet to apply. For most accounts you will need to be:

  • Over 18 years old; and
  • A UK resident, or
  • A resident of the Republic of Ireland

If you are under the age of eighteen, then Ulster Bank has the Adopt Account, aimed at 11-18-year-olds. It has many of the same features as a regular current account minus certain benefits, such as an overdraft.

You may need to pass a credit check to open an account, especially if you are applying for an overdraft or credit card. Ulster Bank may offer you its Foundation account as an alternative to the account you are applying for if you are ineligible for any of its other accounts.

If you believe you are eligible for an account and want to apply, you will need to provide:

  • Your personal details.
  • Your home address over the last three years.
  • Details of any current overdrafts you have.

Ulster Bank will usually let you know straight away if your application has been successful, unsuccessful, or if they need additional information from you, such as further proof of ID.


Ulster Bank digital banking

It is hard to find a bank that doesn’t have some form of digital banking. Almost every high-street bank now provides free services such as internet banking, telephone banking, and mobile apps, to help you keep track of your finances and carry out most of your banking activities without the need to visit a branch or leave the house.

Ulster Bank is no exception to this, and all customers receive access to its digital banking services.

Ulster Bank online

All Ulster Bank customers can access its online banking service, called Anytime Internet Banking. It is free to register and you can access your account 24/7, 365 days a year.

Learn more about Ulster Bank Anytime Banking and get registered today (Coming soon).

Telephone banking

In addition to internet banking, customers can also access Ulster Bank Telephone banking. This service is available 24/7 and gives you the ability to:

  • Check your balance.
  • View your transactions.
  • Transfer money.
  • Manage your regular payments and direct debits.
  • Pay your bills.

If you have registered for Online Banking then you will be able to access telephone banking as well, otherwise you will need to give Ulster Bank a call to get set up.

Some fees apply for certain telephone banking transactions, such as payments and money transfers. These can be avoided by using online banking or the Ulster Bank app.

Ulster Bank app

The mobile app from Ulster Bank provides you with many of the same features you receive with online banking and telephone banking, with the convenience of accessing it via an app on your smartphone.

There are separate apps for Republic of Ireland customers and Northern Ireland customers. The app is rated quite well. However, the apps for Northern Ireland receive a higher rating.

Store Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland
The App Store 3.7/5 4.5/5
Google Play Store 4.3/5 4.6/5

Ulster Bank contact information

If you need to contact Ulster Bank, then we have all the information you need below. We have put together all of the phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses you may need for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland customers.

Department Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland
Complaints - In Branch
- ulsterbank.ie
- 1850 424 365
- Customer Care Ulster Bank, PO Box 145 Freepost, Dublin 2
- In Branch
- ulsterbank.co.uk
- 0345 742 4365
- Complaint Handling Centre, Ulster Bank, Freepost BEL4084 Belfast, BT1 5BR
Lost & Stolen Cards 1800 245 399 0370 600 0459
Fraud Helpline 1800 245 403 0800 161 5151
Join Ulster Bank 1800 303 004 0800 046 6486
Anytime Banking (Register) 1850 211 461 0345 900 3200
Anytime Banking (General Enquiries) 1850 424 365 0345 742 4365
Mobile Phone Banking 1800 937 900 0345 366 7001
Apply for a new account (Existing customers) 1800 303 004 0800 046 6486
Textphone/Minicom 1800 924 615 0800 015 4422

Online chat is also available from the Ulster Bank website where you can chat with an advisor about general queries.

Branches

If you need to visit a branch to speak with an advisor about your account or discuss opening a new Ulster Bank account, you can use the Ulster Bank branch locator tool to find your nearest Republic of Ireland branch or Northern Ireland branch.

Customers in Northern Ireland can also use their nearest Post Office to carry out many transactions if they are not near an Ulster Bank branch. Services available include:

A woman stood next to a life-sized piggy bank
  • Checking your balance.
  • Withdrawing cash.
  • Paying in Cash and cheques.

If you live in a rural area of the country that does not have a branch, then there may be a Mobile Branch service available.

What is a Mobile Branch?A mobile branch services rural areas of the country. They visit up to six times a week throughout the year and can be used to withdraw and pay in cash, deposit cheques, and discuss your account.

Can Ulster Bank customers use NatWest branches?

Ulster Bank, together with NatWest and RBS make up The RBS Group, which means customers can visit any RBS Group bank to carry out limited transactions. However, The RBS Group split its brands up into regions.

  • England - NatWest
  • Scotland - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • Republic of Ireland, Ireland, and Wales - Ulster Bank

Which means you won’t find a NatWest branch in Ireland. However, if you are visiting England or Scotland and need to deposit money into your account, you could visit an RBS or NatWest branch to do so.

Opening hours

Opening times vary from branch to branch. However, most branches are open until 4:30pm in the week, and 1pm on Saturdays; Branches are closed on Sundays. It is always worth checking the Ulster Bank website to find the exact opening hours for your nearest branch.

Ulster Bank online services are on hand 24/7 if you need to access your account outside of normal branch opening hours.


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