How to get an Irish bank account

By Eli Romary / February 14, 2020
Irish bank account

If you want to live and work in Ireland, chances are you will need an Irish bank account. After moving here, this is probably one of the first things you will want to do after getting a PPS number. However, since there are many different banks and account types to choose from, how will you know which one is right for you? Continue reading for our guide on how to get an Irish bank account.

Banks vs. Credit Unions vs. An Post:

Before you open an account, the first thing you need to do is decide where you will open, and that starts with deciding between a bank and a credit union.

A bank is a pretty standard place to create an account. If you deposit money, the bank can lend that money out to other customers, and you can earn a small amount of money in return from interest on savings.

A credit union is a financial co-op that exists within a community that allows members to save and lend to each other at reasonable rates of interest. You can become a member of a credit union from a “common bond” with other community members. These bonds are usually community bonds, in which members all live and work in the same area, associate bonds, in which members are all in the same society or association, or occupational bonds, in which all members work in the same profession or share the same employer.

Another option becoming increasingly popular is An Post. An Post is the state-owned provider of postal services in Ireland. In addition to mailing services, An Post provides banking services such as deposit accounts, credit cards, currency cards, and loan services.

Irish banks:

There are several banks in Ireland that offer basic banking services.

Irish credit unions:

There are numerous credit unions in Ireland that focus on serving different communities. In order to find the best credit union for you, visit the Irish League of Credit Unions.

Savings Account vs. Current Account

You now need to decide which kind of account is the best for you. This means deciding between opening a savings account, a current account, or even opening both.

A current account is one where you deposit money to be used in day to day transactions. This would be the account directly connected to your bank-issued debit card. In a current account, you don’t usually earn interest on deposited money since you are accessing it a lot more often than the money in a savings account.

A savings account is one where you deposit your earnings and earn interest on them every year. This assists with building up savings to use on long term goals and expenses. This isn’t an account that is meant to be accessed often, so that more money builds up over time.

It is becoming an increasingly popular option to open both kinds of accounts so that you can both save up money and have money to access daily by splitting earnings into both accounts.

Student accounts:

If you are a student in Ireland, you may have the option of opening up a student account, depending on which bank you choose. Some will even offer cash back or other incentives to encourage opening an account. Many of these accounts will not charge you fees while you are a student, but fair warning that fees will come once you are no longer a student.

What documents do I need to open an Irish bank account?

Once you have decided where you are going to open an account and which kind of account you want to open, you will need to gather up the necessary documentation.

You will need to provide proof of identification and proof of address. The best proof of identification is your passport. You can also use your driving license or EU National Identity card if you have one.

Presenting an acceptable proof of address is more challenging than presenting an eligible proof of identity. Irish financial institutions have strict rules over what does and does not count as a valid proof of address. Banks and credit unions will no longer accept a PPS letter from the department of social affairs. A tenancy agreement or letter from the landlord may also not be accepted. This is fine when applying for a PPS number, but may be rejected by the bank or credit union to which you are applying.

The best options for a valid proof of address are utility bills, correspondence from the Irish Revenue Office, or correspondence from regulated financial institutions such as insurance companies, bank statements, and credit card providers.

A tax credit certificate is the best proof of address for when you are trying to open an account. Unfortunately, going down this route means that you will need to find a job and be working before you can open an Irish bank account.

In order to get a tax credit certificate, you must first create a self-service account through the revenue.ie website. You must then wait for your revenue PIN to arrive in the mail, which should take around a week. Next, log into your account and register your work and request a tax credit certificate. After two days or so you should be able to print your certificate directly from the website.

If you are a student, you may bring a letter from your school as a valid proof of address. However, you need to make sure that this will be accepted by your institution of choice.

Once you have everything:

Once you have decided which financial institution is right for you and have all of your necessary documentation, you will be good to go to open an account. It is best to book an appointment with the bank or credit union of your choice since most usually stay busy almost all hours of the work week.

Getting an account won’t be immediate. It may take up to five working days for the bank to review your application, review your account, and send you a debit card. Fortunately, once your account is open, the hard part will be over and you will be able to enjoy all the services your bank or credit has to offer.

Transferring money:

If you need to transfer money to someone with an Irish banking account, several new online banking apps and services have made things a lot easier. Depending on your bank, there are several ways that you will be able to transfer money such as using an app, using an in-bank kiosk, online banking, through a paper form, or even through an outside provider.

In order to make a money transfer, you need to provide some information in order to make sure the process runs smoothly. You must tell the bank the date the transfer needs to be made, the amount of money to transfer, and the name of the person you are paying. You must also provide the six-digit sort code and IBAN number of that person’s bank and their eight-digit account code, which they should be able to give to you. Payments can take any time between a couple hours and a day depending on the amount of money and the bank handling the transfer.

There are also several apps that can provide instant money transfers. The most popular of these apps in Ireland is Revolut, which helps process instant cash payments. However, as of right now you must have an Irish bank account in order to set up an account with Revolut.

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Eli Romary

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