AIB said it will shortly make an option available to its SME customers to allow them defer the maintenance and transaction fees applied to their accounts on March 31 if their businesses have been affected by Covid-19. 

The bank said the fees can be applied in the third quarter of the year and can be spread equally over September, October and November.  

"As this is a new process for customers we are making relevant changes to  our systems and the application process will be made available on our website in the coming days," the bank said in a statement. 

The fees related to account maintenance and transactions that took place between November and February.

But the bank is not offering the same help to its personal current account customers who had an average quarterly fee of under €20 applied this week. 

AIB last month suspended the planned introduction of maintenance and transactions fees for customers who keep a minimum balance of €2,500 in their current accounts every quarter.

It also continues to waive contactless payment fees. This also applies to Apple Pay, Google Pay and Fitbit Pay Contactless transactions. 

AIB's chief executive Colin Hunt has stressed that anyone experiencing difficulties should contact the bank as early as possible.