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Moving over to Ireland and need a way to manage your finances? You might need to look into opening an Irish bank account.
There are a number of banks in Ireland, all offering their own range of accounts and financial services. So to help you choose the right one for your needs, we’ve put together a list of the top banks in Ireland. This includes details of their current accounts, including options for students.
But let’s start by running through some helpful info about how the Irish banking system works.
The banking system in Ireland is similar to the UK, although much smaller. It’s made up of major banks and a handful of international banks, although these are often focused on providing corporate banking services.
Many offer online and mobile banking, while physical branches tend to be open between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. Some may open on Saturday mornings.
To open a bank account in Ireland, you’ll usually need to provide your ID (such as a passport or driving licence) and proof of address. You may also have to complete further steps to prove your identity.
Current accounts with Irish banks tend to come with some fees. This includes monthly maintenance fees of around €6, although it varies between banks (and some charge per quarter, rather than per month).¹
Irish banks are also obligated to collect stamp duties on behalf of the Irish Government on transactions such as card payments. This is €0.12 for each ATM cash withdrawal or debit card purchase, capped at a max. charge of €2.50.¹
And like banks in other countries, Irish banks tend to charge high fees for international transfers and using your card outside the country.
To avoid these expensive fees, consider using an alternative such as the Wise account. It’s ideal for international transactions, and could save you a bundle.
Now, let’s take a look at some of your options when it comes to choosing a bank in Ireland.
The sector has undergone some changes recently, with major banks such as Ulster Bank and KBC Bank exiting the Irish market.
So following that change, here’s an updated list of top Irish banks serving retail customers:
|Bank name||Operational HQ|
|Bank of Ireland||Dublin|
|Allied Irish Banks (AIB)||Dublin|
|Barclays Bank Ireland||Dublin|
Bank of Ireland Group is one of the biggest financial groups in Ireland, with a history dating back to 1783.
It offers a wide range of current accounts, including a Personal Current Account and no-frills, and a Basic Bank Account. There’s also a 2nd Level Current Account for children and young people, and a dedicated Golden Years Current Account for over 66s.
Bank of Ireland also offers savings accounts, credit cards, international payments, insurance, pensions and much more.
A major financial services group operating mainly in the Republic of Ireland and the UK. It serves personal, business and corporate customers.
For everyday banking, the bank’s most popular account is its AIB Personal Current Account, where you can manage your money through the AIB mobile app. It also offers an AIB Student Accountfor 2nd Level students, and an AIB Graduate Account. There are additional specialist products for over 66s and for banking in sterling.
AIB also provides mortgages, loans, investments, credit cards, insurance and many other financial services.
Permanent TSB is so named following a merger between the Trustee Savings Bank (no relation to the TSB Bank you may be familiar with in the UK) and Irish Permanent. This was originally founded in 1884 as the Irish Temperance Permanent Benefit Building Society.
You can also access other financial services from Permanent TSB, including mortgages, insurance and savings accounts.
A subsidiary of Allied Irish Banks, EBS is a small financial company specialising in mortgages. However, it also offers a selection of daily banking and savings solutions.
UK banking institution Barclays Bank does have a presence in Ireland, but its services are focused on corporate customers.
However, it does offer private banking and wealth management solutions, if these are services you may be interested in.
While not technically a bank, the state-owned postal services provider AN Post is well worth considering for a current account.
The AN Post Current Account can be opened online or through the AN Post Money mobile app. The app offers budgeting tools, savings jars and other handy features, while the account itself comes with a debit card.
There’s also an AN Post Current Account for Kids.
With a limited number of traditional banks to choose from, Irish citizens have increasingly been turning to online-only banks and digital solutions. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular:
- Revolut. The app-based Revolut offers a choice of monthly plans, including a free Standard plan. All include a debit card and basic banking services, with more perks and features added the more you pay for your monthly plan.
- N26. N26 offers an app-based current account and a choice of monthly plans. This includes a free Standard plan which comes with a virtual card.
- Bunq. A mobile bank with a feature-packed app and choice of monthly plans for personal customers.
- Money Jar. The Irish-owned company offers a pay-as-you-go digital current account, managed through an app and coming with a prepaid Mastercard for spending.
If you want to send money internationally, or use your debit card when you travel, you could find it expensive with an Irish bank.
You can even get an international debit card for spending in 175 countries, including Ireland and the UK. It automatically converts your money to the local currency at the mid-market exchange rate, whenever you spend.
This makes it ideal for travellers, expats, overseas students and anyone else living an international life.
Sources last checked on date: 27-Apr-2023
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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