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I'm worried about Coronavirus

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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 6 months - applications can be accepted up to 30th September.
  • 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 (opens in a new window).

 

Personal Loan payment break

What is a personal loan payment break?

A personal 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 personal loan payment break?

You can apply for a coronavirus (COVID-19) loan payment break up to 30th September 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?

If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and feel you may have difficulty meeting repayments, you can apply for your first payment break up until 30th September 2020. It is essential that you contact us as early as possible to allow us enough time to process your application before 30th September 2020. You apply for a COVID-19 payment break by completing an online form which can be found here on our website: Payment Break Online Form (opens in a new window) You will not be asked to supply current account details or PIN number – the key information we ask for is Mortgage or Personal Loan account number, up to date contact number and valid email address.

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.

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

Yes, you can apply for a personal 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 Personal Loan Payment Break for an initial period of three months, prior to initial Payment Break expiry date you can apply for a Personal Loan Payment Break extension of further three months (Six months in total) if your ability to repay your Loan is still impacted by COVID-19.

When you receive a Personal 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 or six months, depending on the length of your COVID-19 Personal Loan Payment Break approved.

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 us on 1850 201 210
  • 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 Personal Loan 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.

Why has my ‘cost of credit’ increased because of my COVID-19 Payment Break?

When monthly loan repayments are suspended for a period of time, interest continues to accrue. This results in a loan balance that is higher at the end of a Personal Loan Payment Break than it would have been if monthly repayments were continued without a Personal Loan Payment Break.

As the loan balance will be higher, so will the ‘Cost of Credit’. Because interest is charged on the total loan balance, the interest cost will be higher each month after your Personal Loan 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 you apply for a Payment Break Extension and avail of a six month break in total, before this payment break expires we will send you a letter which includes details of the cost of credit applicable to you depending on the choice you make.

If I am currently on a Personal Loan Payment Break Extension and feel that I will need further longer term support at the end of my Payment Break?

If you have difficulty repaying your loan at the end of your payment break extension, 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 personal loan 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) continue to advise against all but essential travel for the foreseeable future.

As the Irish Government advice changes in relation to travel and coronavirus (COVID-19), please review our FAQs for information on the cover provided by your travel insurance.

It is important to check the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) (opens in a new window) before you book a new trip and before you travel.

You should also check the advice of the Irish Government (opens in a new window).

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

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

My trip has been cancelled and 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 if you decline a voucher or credit note from your travel provider. You should speak to your travel provider to get a refund.

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

There is no cover if there isn’t a valid cancellation reason and you choose not to travel on your trip.

If I have to cancel my trip because the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are advising against travel to my destination, am I covered for cancellation?

Yes, as long as when you booked your trip or purchased your insurance, whichever is later, the DFA were not advising against travel to your destination. Please be aware, if the advice in place is ‘all but essential travel’, you are only covered if the advice is in place within 28 days of your departure. You must first speak with your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

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

As long as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are not advising against travel due to COVID-19 when you book your trip and at the time you travel, you are covered for claims related to COVID-19 for the reasons listed in your policy terms and conditions.

If I want to cancel my trip due to having to self-isolate on my return to the Republic of Ireland, am I covered for cancellation?

No, your policy does not provide cover for having to quarantine when you return home.

Can I cancel my trip if I know I will be quarantined for most of my trip on arrival at my destination?

Yes, you will be covered for cancellation as long as you weren’t aware of the need to quarantine when you booked your trip or purchased your insurance and subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

If I have to cancel my trip because I have been told to self-isolate when I am due to go on my trip, am I covered for cancellation?

Yes, as long as when you booked your trip or purchased your insurance, whichever was later, you were not aware that you needed to self-isolate. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

If I am diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) when I am due to go on my trip; am I covered for cancellation?

Yes, as long as when you booked your trip or purchased your insurance, whichever was later, you were not aware that you had coronavirus (COVID-19) or were being tested for it. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

If the area in which I live is locked down by the Irish Government and therefore I am unable to go on my trip, am I covered for cancellation?

Yes, as long as when you booked your trip or purchased your insurance, whichever was later, you were not aware that that the area in which you live was going to be or is locked down. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

If the area in the Republic of Ireland to which I am due to travel has been locked down by the Irish Government and therefore I am unable to go on my trip, am I covered for cancellation?

Yes, as long as when you booked your trip or purchased your insurance, whichever was later, you were not aware that that the area you were travelling to was going to be or is locked down. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

Can I cancel my trip if I am unable to use my pre-booked accommodation because a country has locked down the area I am due to travel to due to coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Providing there was no Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) or local country advice in place at the time you purchased your insurance or booked your trip then yes, you can claim for cancellation if at the time you are due to travel, the country you are travelling to has locked down the area where you are due to travel. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

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)?

Providing there was no Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) or local country advice in place at the time you purchased your insurance or booked your trip then yes, you can claim for cancellation if at the time you are due to travel, the country you are travelling to has closed its borders to Irish citizens. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

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

Providing there was no Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) advice in place at the time you purchased your insurance, booked your trip, and at the start date of your trip, your policy will provide cover under the ‘cutting short your trip’ section of the policy for reasonable additional accommodation and transport.

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

As long as 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 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 (DFA) advice.

Will I be covered if Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) advice is put back in place after I travel?

Yes, if the DFA advises against all travel or all but essential travel once you are on your trip, your policy will provide you with cover under the ‘cutting short your trip’ section of the policy for reasonable additional accommodation and transport.

For any trip, please first seek a refund from your trip provider. If your trip has been cancelled by the provider and the booking was made by a debit or credit card you should speak to the card issuer for advice on whether you can claim a refund from them before you contact the travel insurance claims team.

Where your travel provider is refusing a refund and their refusal is in breach of their legal obligations to you (e.g. you have a package or you due to fly with a carrier registered in the EEA), you will need to pursue your rights with the provider as we will not pay a claim in those circumstances.

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.