There are a number of bank account options in Ireland, all offering different features and fees. So which is the best bank account? You can find the right account for you by comparing your options. In this guide we’ll take you through what features you should look out for when finding the best current account and how to compare your options.
Here’s a list of considerations to start prioritising what your ideal current account looks like:
There are quite a few fees you can be charged for holding a bank account in Ireland. These include monthly or quarterly maintenance fees, contactless payment fees, foreign exchange fees and more. Make sure you check what fees you will be charged for holding your account and spending your funds. Also, see if there are any ways to avoid fees.
Some current accounts may charge fees but offer you a number of benefits or rewards in return, so weigh up everything the card offers. Also, many bank accounts offered by digital banks come with little or no fees, so make sure to check out these as well.
Some current accounts in Ireland offer rewards such as cashback. If you want to get rewarded with cash or other benefits just by spending your money, take a look if a rewards program is on offer. Remember to see what fees are charged by the card to decide if the rewards program gives you enough value.
You may be charged for withdrawing cash from an ATM in Ireland and overseas. For example, An Post charges an ATM withdrawal fee of €0.60 while online banks such as Revolut and N26 only charge you a fee when you withdraw over a certain amount per month.
Do you want to enjoy convenient spending by using your mobile? Check whether the current account you’re looking at comes with mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. You can also check if other payment options such as Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay if you have these devices.
Think about how you like to bank. Do you enjoy being able to go into a branch or are you happier conducting all of your banking on your computer, phone or tablet? Most traditional banks such as Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank let you bank in-branch, while digital banks such as N26 and bunq only allow you to bank online and on your smartphone.
With there being less need to visit a branch these days, your best current account should be able to be managed online or by phone. Check that you can have access to your money through internet banking and if a mobile app is available.
A current account is likely not the only banking product that you will need, and you may be interested in opening a savings account, applying for a credit card or taking out a mortgage at some point. It’s worth checking these out before deciding on a current account provider as you could get extra benefits or discounts on mortgage rates by having all your accounts in one place and building a relationship with that bank.
Current account features differ from bank to bank, and what may be worthwhile to one person may not be beneficial to another. Some of the features that you could be interested in having on your current account include:
How much your current account costs will depend on what fees the bank charges and if you meet any particular criteria such as a consistent minimum balance or regular monthly deposits.
Most banks charge a maintenance fee which covers the everyday running of your account. This is charged monthly or quarterly with average fees sitting between €2 and €6 per month. It is possible to find current accounts that don’t have any maintenance fees, however, these are likely to not offer the benefits or perks of other accounts. There are current accounts that waive your maintenance fee if you have regular monthly payments lodged over a certain amount.
Fees are charged for day-to-day transactions such as ATM withdrawals, transfers, chip and pin payments, contactless payments, direct debits and standing orders. Your bank may charge for some of these transactions and not others, or may include a limited number of free transactions like 5 free ATM withdrawals. Some banks will waive your transaction fees if you keep a minimum balance in your current account of at least €2,500 or €3,000 at all times.
While most transaction fees may seem relatively low at first glance, they can add up over the month. It’s worthwhile considering how you access your money and your day-to-day banking habits and choose the best current account in Ireland for you based on this.
If you’ve started to understand what you want out of a current account, you can ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your options even further.
If you use your current account for online purchases, online transfers and contactless payments, then you should find an account that offers low or no fees for these kinds of transactions. Alternatively, if you have a lot of direct debits or like to take out money at the ATM, then you should consider these costs and how they add up over a month.
With some of the best bank accounts in Ireland offering to waive your fees in Ireland, you’ll need to make sure that you can comply with the conditions. This could mean either keeping a minimum balance in your account at all times or lodging a certain amount each month.
Some digital banks provide appealing current account options, but if you are not sure if you like the idea of not being able to visit a branch then they might not be the right choice for you.
A current account may offer a reward scheme with cashback for shopping at certain retailers, but if you don’t use these retailers then you shouldn’t change your habits for minimal benefit. Likewise, an overdraft facility or preferential interest rates may never be of use to you, so look for the best current account that has perks you can take advantage of.
Switching current accounts in Ireland is a relatively simple process, thanks to the Central Bank’s Switching Code. Once you confirm with your new chosen bank that you can open a current account with them, they will give you a switching pack. You will then need to choose a date for your account to switch over and fill in a form before your existing bank sends information to your new bank. Your new bank will have a card issued to you and your account will be ready to use within 10 working days.
To open a current account in Ireland, you should first select the bank that offers the right account for your needs. From there you can either go into a branch if you have one locally or check on the website if you are able to do an application online or through a mobile app to save some time.
You will be asked to provide documentation such as identification and proof of address. Some banks may require additional information from you like employment details, your PPS number or a second form of identification.
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