Bank Accounts for Children with Special Needs by Allan

As you would have read from our article in May 2019 on changes introduced by AIB that stopped anyone under the age of 16 opening their special needs bank account. This was so disappointing as it created issues for all young children and prevented them from having a suitable bank account to meet their needs.

However, every cloud has a silver lining.

Bank of Ireland has just announced that they recognised the issues lots of people with disabilities have in opening and operating a bank account. To make this process smoother for everyone the bank has created a new team called “Vulnerable Customer Unit.”

The new team will prove additional support to customers who have special needs and other challenging circumstances such as age-related or cognitive impairment, financial abuse, illness, and addiction, or life events such as separation and divorce.

They will provide additional supports to Bank of Ireland staff so they can better assist people. If you have a child under 16 with additional needs and didn’t open the AIB account in time then I recommend now going to Bank of Ireland to set up an account.

Process

To open the account you can call into your local branch or ring the head office number 01 404 4000. Listen carefully to the options but it should follow the following route.

  • Select 1 for a private account
  • Select 5 apply for current account
  • Select 5 for opening a current account.
  • Select 2 open a new personal account
  • You will be asked to enter your mobile number
  • Select 1 when you receive the text to confirm your mobile number
  • Hold until you speak to a customer service operator.

When you get through to the customer service operator you can explain that you want to open up a bank account for your child with additional needs and that your child falls under the Vulnerable Customer criteria. They will set up an appointment in your local branch.

Things to note:

  • There is no need for your child to attend unless you want them to
  • You must bring a photo ID of you and your child
  • You also need to provide proof of address
  • You can still open the account if you don’t have any ID for your child
  • At the appointment, you will also need a letter from your child’s GP to state that the child is unable to manage their finances.

Ironically, Bank of Ireland are running this through their “Financial Wellbeing Programme”. I assume it is just a coincident that their programme name happens to be our company name!

The one area Bank of Ireland I feel got wrong was the bank account has fees and charges just like all other bank accounts. This is disappointing and hopefully, in time this can also be addressed under the bank’s corporate and social responsibility. The second aspect is I have heard feedback from parents that the bank are using the meeting to upsell other financial products.

Overall, I am delighted to have a second option for parents and in time hopefully, all the other banks and credit unions will follow. If parents have any more information on this area I would love to hear from them as we can get the message out to all parents.