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I'm worried about Coronavirus

An update on coronavirus

We understand that these are uncertain times, and many of you may be worried. If you’re concerned about being affected financially or being unable to get to the branch due to coronavirus, we’re here to help. You can find further support on our personal (opens in a new window) and business (opens in a new window) pages.

I have had to self-isolate or am worried about visiting public places and so can’t get to my branch. How do I do my banking?

Our mobile app and digital banking are available to help you manage your everyday banking needs without having to leave your home. Information on how to sign up and download the app can be found on our ways to bank page (opens in a new window), in our digital hub.

You can also ring our telephony team for if you need help getting set up on 1850 424 365 or +353 1804 7475 from outside Ireland. We’ll be happy to help.

What support do you have in place to support personal customers who maybe impacted by the coronavirus?

We have put a range of options in place to support our personal customers who may be experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Individual customer circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis. These measures include:

  • Mortgage and loan repayment deferral for up to 3 months
  • Allowing customers access to fixed term savings accounts early without breakage fee
  • The option to apply for an increase in overdraft and credit card limits
  • Increased cash withdrawal limit
  • Cash advance fees will be waived for impacted customers that use credit cards to access cash in an emergency
  • Advice and support from our Financial Planning Managers for any customer with concerns or questions about how they can protect their finances.

To ask about these and for further information, personal customers can call us on 1850 424 365 or +353 1804 7475 from outside Ireland.

How do I know what times my branch is open?

You can find out if your branch has been affected by coronavirus by searching When are your branches open? (opens in a new window)

 

Mortgage payment break

For more information on mortgage payment breaks, you can visit our dedicated mortgage FAQ page.

 

Loan payment break

What is a loan payment break?

A Loan Payment Break allows you to take a break from paying your loan for an agreed period. These monthly repayments are suspended and have to be repaid at a later date. This will have an impact on your Cost of Credit which is the total amount of money that you are charged when borrowing from a credit provider.

Can I apply for a loan payment break?

You can apply for a coronavirus (COVID-19) loan payment break if:

  • Your ability to pay your loan has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • You have consent from everyone named on the loan
  • You have drawn down your loan before 16th March 2020.

When can I apply for a COVID-19 payment break?

You can apply for a COVID-19 payment break up to 30th September 2020. If you haven’t already availed of a COVID-19 payment break but have been impacted by COVID-19 and feel you may have difficulty meeting repayments, it is essential that you contact us as early as possible to be able to avail of a COVID-19 payment break and to allow us enough time to process your application before 30th September 2020.

This deadline of 30th September 2020 has been set by the European Banking Authority (EBA) for lenders to process and grant payment breaks to customers. You must contact Ulster Bank directly to apply for a COVID-19 payment break. COVID-19 Payment breaks are not applied automatically to customers’ accounts. You apply for a COVID-19 payment break by completing an online form.

If I have already availed of a Loan Payment Break can I apply for an extension?

Yes, you can apply for a Loan Payment Break extension for another three months (total six months) if:

  • Your ability to pay your loan is still affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • You have consent from everyone named on the loan.
  • You have drawn down your loan before 16th March 2020.
  • You have received your letter outlining the different options available to you; this will be issued to you prior to your Payment Break expiry date.

Will a payment break affect my Credit Rating

No, whilst you are availing of a payment break due to COVID-19, your credit rating will not be adversely affected. If you wish, you may also opt to place an explanatory statement on your credit report to explain your current circumstances where your loans are concerned. More information is available from the Central Credit Register.

How do I cancel my Payment Break early?

If you decide that you no longer need your Loan Payment Break and can afford to make your full monthly repayments, then you can cancel your Loan Payment Break early by calling us on 1850 201 210 advising that you would like to return to normal repayments.

What happens to the payments that are suspended during the Payment Break?

As part of the measures to help you during this unprecedented time we are putting in place a process to allow you to apply for a Loan Payment Break for an initial period of 3 months with the option to apply for a 3 month extension if you should require it.

When you receive a Loan Payment Break, you do not have to pay your monthly loan payment for the agreed period. These payments are suspended for the period of the Payment Break.

We will offer you two options at the end of your Payment Break:

1A - You can increase your monthly loan payment and pay an extra amount each month over the remainder of your loan.

1B - You can extend the term of your loan and pay for an additional three months.

Can I make a payment to my loan while I’m on a Payment Break?

Yes. If you can afford to pay something off your loan you can choose to pay whatever you can afford.

Any amount that you can afford to pay towards your loan will help reduce the total amount of interest that you are charged each month because it will reduce the total amount you owe on your loan. The term of your loan will not change because of any additional payments you make.

If you wish to make an additional loan payment, this can be completed at any time. Your choices are as follows:

  • By visiting our website
  • By calling into your local Branch and speaking with one of our customer service representatives.

Do I need to cancel my Direct Debit while I am on the Loan Payment Break?

No, you do not need to cancel your direct debit. We will change your direct debit amount to zero for the duration of your Payment Break.

Please note that depending on when we agree a new repayment amount, it may be too close to your next payment date and your direct debit may not be amended in time. That can happen whether we are reducing your repayment amount or increasing it. However, if this happens we will issue a refund back to your account within 14 days.

What should I do if I have already cancelled my Direct Debit?

If you have already cancelled your Direct Debit you should set this back up now so you don’t risk missing any payments once your payment break expires.

If you set your Direct Debit back up while you are on your Payment Break, we will change your direct debit amount to zero for the duration of your Payment Break.

You can do so by visiting us in a branch or contacting telephone banking where we will be happy to help.

Telephone Banking
1 850 424365 (overseas +353 18047475)
Minicom: 1800 924 615
Open 24 hours a day. Calls may be recorded.

Please have your Customer Number and PIN ready as this will enable your call to be answered faster and more securely. These are the same details you use to log in to Anytime Internet Banking.

Will I be charged for taking a Payment Break?

No, the bank doesn’t apply any charges if you avail of a Payment Break.

The total amount of interest that accumulates on your account over the life of your loan will be higher if you take a payment break than if you hadn’t taken a break. This is called the ‘Cost of Credit’.

What is Cost of Credit?

‘Cost of Credit’ is the total amount of money that you are charged when borrowing from a credit provider. For loans, this is the additional amount, over and above the amount borrowed, that you have agreed to repay. This includes interest, fees and charges over the life of the loan.

There is no fee or charge when you take a Payment Break.

Why is the Cost of Credit higher if I take a Payment Break?

Because your monthly repayments have been suspended for 3 months, the balance of your loan is higher at the end of your Payment Break than it would have been if you had continued to make your monthly repayments without a Payment Break.

Therefore, as your loan balance will be higher so will the ‘Cost of Credit’. Interest is charged on your total loan balance; the monthly interest cost will be higher after your Payment Break.

How do I know how much higher the Cost of Credit is because of this Payment Break?

The initial ‘Cost of Credit’ is calculated when you first take out your loan and this amount is detailed within your original loan agreement.

However, the Cost of Credit can change over the life of your loan any time an adjustment is made to your loan.

For example, adjustments such as moving to a higher or lower interest rate will change the cost of credit over the life of your loan. Taking a payment break or missing a payment can increase your cost of credit. Whilst making a higher monthly repayment or paying a lump sum to your loan can decrease your cost of credit.

If I am currently on a Payment Break and have now been made redundant what do I need to do?

If you have difficulty repaying your loan at the end of your payment break, please let us know. We’re here to help. Several alternative options may be open to you. Please call us on 1850 201 210 and one of our specialist agents will be happy to assist you. We are currently open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding Bank Holidays). Calls are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

What will happen if I don’t start making repayments again after an extended payment break?

It is important that you start making repayments towards your loan as soon as you are able to do so. Not making full repayments can lead to:

  • Your loan being classified as pre-arrears or arrears - this means your income and expenditure will need to be assessed to determine how much you can pay towards your mortgage and for how long an alternative repayment arrangement should be in place. Rest assured we will work with you on a range of solutions that will help you get back on track if this is the case.
  • Your credit record being impacted - lenders are required by law to report all outstanding loans to the Central Credit Register (CCR). Some lenders also report outstanding loans to the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB). A poor record on either register may impact your ability to get approval for credit in the future.

 

ufirst, ufirst gold and ufirst Private customers with travel insurance

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) have now extended the advice against all but essential travel for the foreseeable future.

For all ufirst, ufirstgold and ufirst Private customers registered for Travel Insurance, please be advised that any new trips booked on or after 18th March 2020 will not be covered for any claim caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Insurance is there to help with unknown or unforeseeable events, and as coronavirus is now a known event, no cover is available.

A claim under your Travel Insurance can only be considered if you are due to travel in the next 28 days. Our Travel Insurance provider (UK Insurance Limited) cannot provide any advice on trips that are due to start more than 28 days in the future. This is because the DFA advice can change at any time and therefore important that you continue to monitor their advice. You should also speak to your travel provider for the options available to you before contacting our claims team.

Due to the high volume of claims being received, our Travel Insurance provider is focusing on customers who are currently abroad, customers whose travel date has now passed, or customers due to travel in the next 28 days. Please only contact the claims department if any of these apply to you, and if you have spoken to your travel provider and have received from them in writing which options are available to you.

If you are currently abroad, you should contact your airline/travel providers in the first instance as they are best placed to assist you in arranging your travel.

You can call the Travel Insurance claims department on +353 46 907 7351.

Our Travel Insurance provider is experiencing high volumes of travel claims at the moment and are working as hard as they can, however, it may take longer than normal for them to respond, and we appreciate your patience at this time. Please be assured that there is no time limit to register a claim.

If you need further information, please see our Travel Insurance and coronavirus FAQs below.

My travel provider has offered me a travel voucher / credit to re-book my holiday for a later date. If I decline this, will I be able to claim on my Travel Insurance?

No, there is no cover under your Travel Insurance. You should speak to your travel provider to get a refund, please be aware that travel providers are dealing with high volumes of cancellations and it may take some time for your refund to be processed.

I am currently abroad, should I return to the Republic of Ireland?

All customers abroad should now return home as soon as possible, as per the advice of the Irish Government. You should speak to your travel provider in the first instance.

If you are unable to use or amend your original return tickets, we will cover reasonable costs for additional accommodation and travel, less any refund you receive from your travel provider, subject to the policy limit.

If your travel provider is unable to assist you, the Irish Government is working with airlines and their international partners to identify alternative options where possible. Irish citizens who are abroad can call the DFA’s dedicated phone line on +353 1613 1733 or visit the Government website (opens in a new window).

If the earliest flight you can get is after your original return date, your Travel Insurance will automatically extend cover until the earliest time you could reasonably return home.

If you are abroad and do not want to return home earlier than planned, then please be aware there is no cover for additional transport and accommodation expenses if you become stranded abroad past your original date of travel. Your Travel Insurance will also end on your original return date.

Please continue to monitor Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (opens in a new window).

If I book a trip now will I be covered for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

No, for any trips booked or Travel Insurance obtained on or after 18th March 2020, there will not be any cover for claims relating to coronavirus, as this is now a known event.

We advise all customers who are due to travel to monitor and follow the advice issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (opens in a new window) as well as the Irish Government (opens in a new window) which is currently advising against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice.

Can I cancel my holiday if I don’t want to go because of coronavirus (COVID-19) risks?

A claim under your Travel Insurance can only be considered if you are due to travel within 28 days of your trip start date and the DFA advice was not in place when you booked the trip or purchases your Travel Insurance.

In order to consider a claim, you must have spoken to your travel provider and have confirmation in writing from them that they will not provide a refund for your trip.

Our Travel Insurance provider cannot provide any advice of trips that are due to start more than 28 days in the future. The DFA advice can change at any time and it is important that you continue to monitor the DFA advice (opens in a new window).

Why do I need to wait until 28 days before I’m due to travel to make a claim?

To help support customers that are abroad or due to travel in the next 28 days, please do not call unless your trip start date falls within this period.

The DFA advice against non-essential travel is currently in place indefinitely, however this could change at any time. Our provider can only consider claims if you are due to travel within 28 days of your trip start date. Also, they cannot provide any advice or guidance on trips that are due to start more than 28 days in the future.

Please remember that Travel Insurance is designed to protect you from financial loss. If you have experienced financial loss as a result of Covid-19, and you have already contacted your travel provider and payment card provider then the Travel Insurance claims department will be happy to help you.

I have currently only paid the deposit for my holiday. What can I claim if I cancel?

You can claim for the cost of any lost deposits where the DFA is advising against travel to your destination, as long as the advice wasn’t in place when you booked the trip or obtained your travel insurance, and your trip is due to start in the next 28 days.

If your trip isn’t due to start in the next 28 days, then there is no cover for cancellation, and you should decide if you want to make any balance payments due for your trip. You will only be able to claim cancellation if DFA advice against travel is in place within 28 days before your trip is due to start.

Valid cancellation claims will cover the amount you have paid for the trip, less any refunds you have received and the policy excess.

For any trip in the first instance, you must first seek a refund from your travel provider and your card payment provider with whom you purchased your travel before contacting the claims team.

I have a trip booked within the Republic of Ireland, can I claim cancellation?

Cover for trips within the Republic of Ireland of two or more nights in pre-booked commercially operated accommodation are covered for cancellation where the accommodation is closing due to coronavirus. However, you should seek a refund from your accommodation provider or your card payment provider in the first instance.

We are also extending the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) to trips in the Republic of Ireland, based on the government guidance around social distancing. This applies to trips due to start in the next 28 days. This means that if DFA advice is against all or all but essential travel, we will apply that to Republic of Ireland based trips.

For any trip, you must first seek a refund from your travel provider and your card payment provider with whom you purchased your travel in the first instance, before contacting the claims team.

I booked a holiday before the 18th March when no travel guidance was in place. My Tour operator has offered to re-schedule my holiday later in the year. Will I remain covered for coronavirus cancellations?

Yes, as long as your initial booking was made before 18th March 2020 and there was no Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Guidance in place when you booked your trip.

Can I cancel my trip if I am unable to use my pre-booked accommodation because a country has closed its borders due to coronavirus (Covid-19)?

You can claim for cancellation of a trip if you are due to travel in the next 28 days and the country you are due to travel to has closed its borders to Republic of Ireland citizens.

Where you are not due to travel in the next 28 days you should continue to monitor Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice for your destination and speak to your travel provider.

Am I covered for additional expenses if I have to quarantine while on a trip but don’t have coronavirus (Covid-19)?

If you are on a trip and your accommodation is locked down so you can’t return home as planned, your policy will provide you with cover under the ‘cutting short your trip’ section of the policy for reasonable additional accommodation and transport. There is no cover for food.

Am I covered for medical expenses if I catch coronavirus (COVID-19) while on holiday?

As long as your insurance was in place, you booked your trip before 18th March 2020, you are not travelling against doctor’s advice and are not travelling to an area where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) has advised against all travel, then you will be covered for medical and reasonable additional travel expenses that you may incur as a result of becoming ill.

If the DFA advice changes while you are on your trip, you will still be covered if you need to claim for medical expenses.

Am I covered if the country I am due to travel to changes its entry and visa requirements?

There is no cover under your travel insurance where you are refused entry to your destination because you do not have the correct visa or passport.

You should speak to your tour operator as they may be able to help you, and you should continue to monitor the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (opens in a new window) advice.

Important note: This general advice does not replace the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy and you should read your policy booklet for further information.

If you have any other coronavirus queries please visit our dedicated page.

 

Commercial Banking Customers

What support are you able to offer to business customers who may be struggling financially?

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to directly impact more businesses, we have announced a €500m Working Capital Support fund for SMEs across Ireland.

We recognise the importance of supporting businesses through this period, as well as providing ongoing practical advice. The measures in place include:

  • €500m of Working Capital Support focused on meeting the needs of SMEs.
  • Temporary emergency loans.
  • Capital Payment Break or Full Payment Break on variable and fixed rate lending or a realignment of payments for customers who are seeing short term liquidity pressures.
  • Short term overdrafts or an increase/ extension of existing overdraft facilities.
  • Ulster Bank’s team of Relationship Managers are proactively speaking to business customers offering help and support as they form their plans to mitigate the impact of coronavirus.

Security may be required. Product fees may apply (except where stated otherwise). Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Credit facilities are subject to repayment capacity and are not available to persons under 18 years of age.

If you require assistance, please contact your Relationship Manager. If you do not have a nominated Relationship Manager please call 1850 211 690. Alternatively you could email us here: UlsterBank-RCO-BDOGatekeeperRI@ulsterbank.com to request a call back.

Please note that if you decide to call us, there will be a higher than normal call wait time, and calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

My supply chain and/or cash flow has been impacted. What help are you able to offer?

Our nationwide network of dedicated Relationship Managers is on hand to help our customers. As part of the support package that we’re providing above, we have teams ready to help our customers manage delay and disruption to their supply chains. Possible solutions include;

  •  Asset finance solutions could help your business by providing tailored funding solutions so your business can release working capital.See www.lombard.ie for more details. Lombard is a trading name of Ulster Bank Ireland DAC. Ulster Bank Ireland DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
  • Trade finance Instruments; these provide credit lines for the issuance of Guarantees and Letters of Credit which may be required by new suppliers or as an alternative to advance payments.

See here for more details.

Security and / or guarantees and indemnities may be required. Product fees may apply. Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply.

If you do not have a nominated Relationship Manager please call 1850 211 690. Alternatively you could email us here: UlsterBank-RCO-BDOGatekeeperRI@ulsterbank.com to request a call back.

Please note that if you decide to call us, there will be a higher than normal call wait time, and calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

What are your plans to ensure continuity of supply?

We are monitoring the potential impact of coronavirus for our customers, colleagues and stakeholders to ensure we can support them appropriately through any period of disruption.

We have a strong track record in working with our customers who are affected by disruption outside their control. We have operational resilience plans in place that reflect guidance from Public Health Authorities to ensure we can continue to serve our customers.

I was expecting the fee free offer on my Business Start up Account to come to an end recently – will I be charged fees?

If you are a Business Start up customer, you may be availing of 2 year maintenance and transaction fee free banking on your current account. If you are scheduled to roll off your fee free period between February and August 2020, we want to provide additional support to you by extending your fee free period to 20th November 2020.

This means that you will not incur maintenance and transaction fees on your Start up Business account for an extended period. Fees will start to accrue for transactions carried out on your account from 21st November 2020 (with fees applied to accounts on 12th March 2021).

For further information on charging periods and fee application dates, please refer to our booklet A guide to Business Current Account Fees.