Written answers

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Payments Administration

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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607. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding social welfare payment methods; her views on the way in which recipients of social welfare payments can ensure that bank transfers do not result in increased current account bank charges; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9244/19]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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My Department provides two main options for payment methods for its customers: payments in cash at post offices or payments direct to customer accounts in financial institutions. The Department intends, where possible, to continue to offer its many customers the choice of being paid in cash at the post office, directly into their post office account or an account in a financial institution by Electronic Fund Transfer, (EFT).

Social Welfare payments made directly into customer accounts can be paid into any financial institution, whether they are commercial banks, credit unions or An Post. Within this range of financial institutions there are a range of account options which charge varying fees. Every person receiving a Social Welfare payment by EFT has the right to choose which financial institution they wish to use to receive their payment.

In addition, the European Union (Payment Accounts) Regulations 2016 stipulate that any consumer who is legally resident in the European Union and who does not already have a payment account with a credit institution in the State has the right to open and use a payment account with basic features. These include a stipulation that such accounts be offered free of charge for a period of not less than 12 months.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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