Managing finances is an important part of any business, and to do that you need to find the right business bank account. We've covered everything you need to know about business bank accounts in Ireland below, including costs and important features.
Business bank accounts are simply current accounts that are used to access and manage business finances. You can open a business bank account as a large company, a small business or a freelancer. The idea is to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances.
Business current accounts have features that are designed for businesses. For example, they usually have the option to let you add multiple users to the account with their own card to be able to spend funds in the account. The person or people in charge of the account will usually be able to set permissions for each person that has access to the account. Business bank accounts also offer other features, such as the ability to make batch payments, to give accountants access to the account or to easily track and manage receipts for tax purposes.
Businesses all have different needs for bank accounts so make sure you compare business bank accounts before you open one to make sure it’s right for you.
What are the benefits of a business bank account?
Not sure why exactly you should open a business bank account? Here are some of the advantages:
All your business transactions are separated from your personal ones, which makes your business accounting records more organised.
Some banks havemobile appsso you can check your records and make business payments anytime you want and anywhere you are.
You can set upstanding ordersfor business expenses. No need to worry about not paying on time anymore!
You can pay employees easily.
If you’re a small business owner, you may be able to enjoy a free banking period for some time.
From insurance to coffee supplies, some banks offer discounts for products and services that you may find useful for your company.
Should I consider a digital business bank account?
Digital banks such as Revolut, bunq and N26 all offer business accounts. Whether or not they are suitable for your business is up to you. Make sure you weigh up the features of these digital business bank accounts against the features of more traditional business bank offerings to decide which is the better fit for your business.
How to compare business bank accounts in Ireland
There are a number of types of business bank accounts available, so keep the following in mind when you’re comparing your options:
Monthly fee. Some business banks don’t charge a monthly fee, such as Revolut and N26’s lowest tier offering, but these come with fewer features. Consider what you’re willing to pay for and if the features make the fee worth it.
Transaction fees and other charges. Will you have to pay for cash withdrawals, direct debits or cheques? Besides any monthly maintenance fee, have a clear idea about other charges that may apply to for carrying out simple, everyday transactions.
User access. Some business banking accounts have limits on how many users you can add or how many free debit cards you can have.
Limits on free local transfers. You may find there are limits on the number of SEPA transfers you can make. If you are transacting outside of Ireland you will need to consider this.
Limits on transfers and currency conversion fees. If you transact in multiple currencies you should consider the currency conversion fees you might be charged as well as any limits which are imposed on the business account for non-Euro transfers.
Locked contracts. Do you have to sign up for the account for a certain amount of time? Check this before signing.
Extra features. Watch out for convenient features such as access to both a mobile and web app, extra integrations, the ability to make bulk payments and expense management.
What fees and charges apply to business bank accounts?
Whether you turn to a traditional bank or a digital one, there will likely be fees and other charges associated with your business bank account. Here’s a list of some of the fees and charges you might come across:
Maintenance fee. Some banks will apply a maintenance fee to your account to effectively manage your business account. This fee might be added monthly, quarterly or annually.
Transaction fees. Everyday transactions such as direct debits, standing orders, ATM withdrawals, online or credit transfers and contactless transactions may have charges applied for each respective transaction.
Overdraft facility fees. These are negotiated on an individual basis as per the business and can include fees for applying for and arranging an overdraft.
Cash handling fees. Any euro coins or notes that are paid into a business account, or similarly withdrawn, may be subject to cash handling fees either as a percentage or as a maximum for a certain sum.
Referral item charge. If a direct debit or standing order pushes your business account to exceed its credit limit, then a charge will be added for each item that exceeds your limit. If, for example, you have several direct debits leaving your business account on the same date resulting in you exceeding your limit, it’s important to note that a charge could be applied for each direct debit.
Unpaid charges. If for some reason there are not enough funds in your business account to pay a cheque, direct debit or standing order, then unpaid charges will apply.
Extra service charges. If you require additional services, for example ordering a duplicate bank statement, amending a standing order or carrying out an urgent money transfer, then each will usually carry its own charges.
Government duties. These are in addition to the bank’s own transaction fees. For example, Government duties are added each time a cheque book or bank draft is issued or a debit card is used.
Is my business eligible for a business account?
To open a business bank account in Ireland, you will need to meet the following criteria:
Business type: Business bank accounts are usually available for freelancers, sole traders, small businesses, large business or enterprises. If your company is in the public sector or a charity there may be restrictions as to what bank accounts you can open, so check the criteria.
Personal or business name. Some banks may require you to open the account using your personal name while others require you to use your business name.
Registration. Your business may need to be registered at the Chamber of Commerce to open an account with some digital banks.
You will also need to be aged 18 or over and be a resident of ROI.
How to open a business bank account in Ireland
The process of opening a business bank account will very much depend on the bank and your type of business.
If you are a sole trader, you can usually apply for a business bank account online, and we have a step-by-step guide for you to follow below.
For all other business types, such as limited companies or partnerships, you will need to contact the bank in order to set up a meeting with one of the bank’s business advisers.
Depending on the type of account you’re looking to open, you may need to provide evidence of your business registration, forms of ID, your banking history and a deposit.
A step-by-step guide to applying for a business bank account as a sole trader
Step 1: Once you’ve checked you’re eligible, simply click “Go to Site” in the comparison table above on your chosen digital business bank to apply online.
Step 2: If you are applying for a business account with an institution that you already personally bank with, the bank may be able to use the details it has for you. You’ll need to tick this option on the application form if this applies to you. You may also avoid having to provide proof of your identity and address.
Step 3: Complete the application form. This should take a few minutes to complete but you will need to provide both personal and business details in order to open your account. You’ll also need to verify your identity by uploading copies of your passport and driver’s licence along with proof of your address in the form of a bank statement or utility bill.
Step 4: Await your business bank account approval then start using your account.
Opening a business bank account online can take only minutes if you’re a sole trader. However, for all other business types, the process will need to be carried out by the bank’s business adviser and may take anywhere from one to seven days.
The bottom line
From allowing multiple users to enabling batch payments, business bank accounts offer many benefits. Businesses all have different needs, though, so use our guide to compare business bank accounts before you open one to make sure it’s right for you.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. The digital banking era brought the possibility of setting things up without having to go into an actual bank. But even though most banks allow account set-up online, some may require your attendance, so make sure you’re familiar with all the terms of applying.
Although the application may take minutes, the actual account set-up might take a bit longer. The bank you sign up to usually needs to review your documents and check your eligibility. Your account may be ready for you to use within minutes, days or even weeks, so it depends on the institution you apply to.
Irish banks are allowed to offer business accounts to non-residents, but the application process may be lengthier because of the extra checks they have to undertake.
The big high street banks may also be more likely to offer a non-resident an international bank account, rather than a business account. As a minimum requirement, you’ll need a form of ID and proof of address for the country you reside in for this.
But if you’re happy to run your business account online or through your mobile phone, there are now many digital-only business accounts available in Ireland, thanks to the new digital challenger banks and other fintech providers entering this market. The advantage of this for foreign applicants is that some (not all) of these digital banking providers do not require a proof of address, so you can easily open the account from abroad.
Opening a bank account that’s totally free of charge is way easier if you need it for personal use. The business ones can be pretty expensive, because of transaction or account management fees. However, some of them are a lot cheaper than others, so read the booklets carefully and estimate the costs of opening an account before you make a decision.
Also, if your company is a startup or if you plan to change banks, you may be offered a free banking period.
Yes, you can. Most business bank account providers will carry out some kind of credit check on you, which will highlight a poor credit score. But there are a few providers that will let you open an account without any credit checks (be aware though that these products tend to come with higher usage fees).
Generally not. Legally, you only can if you are a sole trader, but even in that case some banks may not allow it, so make sure you check your terms and conditions before doing it.
If you’re the sole owner of a business, you can operate as a sole trader. Sole traders remain personally liable for their business debts and business lawsuits, even if their company goes bust. If you set up as a limited company, your business becomes a separate legal entity, which can give you a series of advantages, such as better tax conditions.
Elizabeth Barry is Finder's global fintech editor. She has written about finance for over five years and has been featured in a range of publications and media including Seven News, the ABC, Mamamia, Dynamic Business and Financy. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Communications and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Technology Sydney. In 2017, she received the Highly Commended award for Best New Journalist at the IT Journalism Awards. Elizabeth has found writing about innovations in financial services to be her passion (which has surprised no one more than herself).
Find out about the different types of Revolut business accounts, including the key features and fees of each account.
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