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Best savings accounts in Ireland
Find out which type of savings account will work best for you.
A savings account is a great way to work towards your financial goals, but you need to find the best one. In this guide, we’ll take you through the type of savings accounts you can consider and what you need to know to find the best savings account for you.
Which type of savings account is best for me?
The best savings account for you will depend on the type of saver you are, what you want from a savings account and what your savings goals are. There are a few different types of savings account you can open in Ireland:
- Fixed/deposit account. With this type of account, you deposit a lump sum when you open the account and can’t access it until the end of the term. The interest rate is fixed.
- Notice account. Notice accounts require a substantial lump sum payment to open the account, usually a couple of thousand Euros. You are able to access your money but you must provide notice. It usually comes with a variable rate.
- Demand account. Demand accounts are a great option for short-term saving and require very low initial deposits, as low as €1. You can access your money without notice.
- Regular savings account. Regular savings accounts let you save a certain amount each month, usually between €100 and €3,000. There are some restrictions on withdrawals but you will have access to your funds.
How do I compare savings accounts?
There are a few factors to consider when choosing a savings account:
- Interest rate. The interest rate you will earn is the most important feature to consider when looking for a savings account. Interest rates are very low in Ireland at the moment, so look for the best rate you can. Interest rates can be either fixed or variable.
- Initial deposits. Certain savings accounts require you to deposit a lump sum to open the account. Check this requirement and see if this suits your savings.
- Deposit limits. Fixed deposit accounts do not allow you to make regular deposits, so you can only earn interest on your initial deposit. Similarly, regular savings accounts limit how much you can deposit each month. Check these limits before you apply.
- Withdrawal limits. If you need ongoing access to your savings, check if there are withdrawal limits set by the bank. This may involve a notice period of 30 days to make a withdrawal or a limit to how much you can withdraw.
- Introductory periods and conditions.
How do I get a savings account with a high interest rate?
Each type of savings account in Ireland sets interest rates in a different way. Here is what to consider when comparing your options:
- Fixed or variable. Certain types of accounts will fix your interest rate for a certain period while others may be more flexible but charge you a variable interest rate.
- Limits. Accounts that offer a higher rate may set restrictions on your money, for example, requiring you to give notice for withdrawals or not allowing you to touch your funds at all.
- Introductory rates and special offers. You may be able to benefit from a higher introductory rate by taking up a new savings account. Check what conditions apply to these special rates before you apply.
What fees and limits do I need to be aware of?
Apart from the interest rate, there are a few charges and limits that you should check before signing up for an account. For example, you may only earn the advertised interest rate on a certain amount of your funds. A different rate may apply to funds over the set amount.
Many savings accounts also require a minimum initial deposit. The amount you’re required to deposit to open the account can range from €1 for regular savings accounts to a few thousand Euros for fixed accounts.
How to find the best savings account: Tips and traps!
- Look for a good interest rate. You want a savings account that offers a competitive interest rate, but only if you can meet the deposit conditions. If you can’t meet the conditions, you won’t earn a good bonus rate anyway.
- Make sure you can comfortably meet the account conditions. Don’t open a savings account with a high monthly deposit requirement if you’ll struggle to meet this each month. You’re likely better off opting for an account with a slightly lower interest rate and account conditions that are easier for you to meet.
- Consider smaller, lesser-known banks. Don’t be afraid to consider a smaller bank that you might not have heard of. These banks often offer more competitive interest rates, and they’re regulated in the same way as the larger banks so your savings are still protected by the Deposit Guarantee Scheme.
- The linked current account could charge high fees. Most savings accounts will require you to also open a current account with the same bank. This is how you can move money in and out of your savings account. When picking a savings account, make sure you check the fees charged on the linked current account. Some can charge monthly account fees of €5 or more, while with others it’s free. others change no monthly account fees.
- The variable base rate could be very poor. Don’t fall into the trap of picking a savings account with a high bonus rate only to discover you can’t meet the account conditions. If this is the case, you’ll then earn the variable base rate instead which could be as low as 0.01%.
- The bonus rate might only apply to a set balance. Some savings accounts offer a really attractive bonus interest rate, however it’s only applied on a set balance (for example up to €10,000). If you have a balance larger than the limit, you could actually earn no interest at all.
- Tax. Any interest paid out of your savings account is subject to tax. This tax is called Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT). The current rate of DIRT is 33% on all interest payments.
How do I open a savings account?
In most cases, you can apply and open a savings account online, as long as you’re able to provide documentation that confirms your identity and residency. If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity for legal reasons.
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