Compare current accounts in Ireland
Find out about the features and fees, plus a roundup of current accounts available in Ireland.
If you receive a salary, wages or even a benefit, a current account is important to have. There are different kinds of accounts that cater to different needs, but current accounts are suitable for day-to-day transactions such as paying bills, shopping online, making in-store purchases or mortgage and loan payments.
This guide will take you through what current accounts are offered in Ireland, the features and fees these accounts come with as well as how to open an account.
What's in this guide?
- Compare current accounts in Ireland
- How do current accounts work?
- What features come with current accounts in Ireland?
- What fees are charged with current accounts in Ireland?
- How can I compare current accounts?
- How do you switch current accounts?
- What current accounts are available in Ireland?
- How do you open a current account in Ireland?
- Frequently asked questions
Compare current accounts in Ireland
How do current accounts work?
A current account is a bank account that you can use for day-to-day banking transactions and for managing your money. You can ask your employer to pay your salary or wages into this account and then make transfers to other accounts or have direct debits and standing orders set up for bills and loan payments. With your Ireland current account you receive a debit card that you can use to withdraw money from ATMs or make payments in-store or online. Some banks also offer cheque books with their accounts.
Online banking is commonly used to manage your money, although you also have the option of visiting a branch or speaking to someone over the phone if your bank allows. Most banks have mobile apps that allow you to take care of all your banking needs from wherever you are, making dealing with finances simple and relatively stress-free.
As well as having the option to open a current account with a bank that has a physical presence in Ireland, you can also consider digital banks.
What features come with current accounts in Ireland?
Irish current accounts are often relatively similar, but each has its own features depending on the bank. Some of the features that you can find include:
- Overdraft facility
- Mobile payments
- Reward schemes
- Preferential interest rates
What fees are charged with current accounts in Ireland?
Banks in Ireland charge fees in some shape or form for their main current accounts, with an exception being EBS which doesn’t offer any benefits as other banks do. The typical fees that you can expect to see include:
- Maintenance fee. This is the fee that the bank charges for running the account and can range anywhere from €0 through to €72 at PTSB. KBC waives this fee if you lodge at least €2,000 a month.
- ATM withdrawal fee. Every time you take money out at the ATM you can be charged depending on your bank. Some banks include ATM withdrawals for free, while others charge somewhere between €0.25 and €0.60.
- Chip and pin fee. Using the chip and pin on your card for purchases is free for many banks, but BOI charges €0.10, and AIB and Ulster Bank charge €0.20.
- Online banking transactions. If you use your internet banking to transfer money, it is often free, but BOI charges €0.10, and AIB and Ulster Bank charge €0.20.
- Direct debits and standing orders. BOI charges €0.10, and AIB and Ulster Bank charge €0.20 for these transactions, while other banks are free.
- Contactless payments. The majority of banks in Ireland don’t charge for contactless payments, however BOI and Ulster Bank charge €0.01 each time.
- Google Pay and Apple Pay. AIB, KBC, N26 and Ulster Bank all charge for Google and Apple Pay.
These fees are typical for the main current account that a bank offers, but accounts for students, graduates or seniors usually have fewer fees to compensate for lower income. If you’re looking for a lower fee account, you can compare no fee current accounts here.
How can I compare current accounts?
If you’re looking for the best current account, you should ask yourself the following questions to compare your options and find the right one for your personal circumstances:
- What type of account holder am I? While most people qualify for a standard current account, you may be eligible for a student current account, graduate or over 60s account. These accounts usually come with certain benefits or lower fees to match your situation.
- Will I have regular deposits into my account each month? Regular monthly deposits of a certain amount, like your salary or wages, could mean that your account fees are reduced or even waived. KBC is one bank that offers this feature, with all day-to-day banking charges free if at least €2,000 is lodged every month. You’ll need to make sure that these deposits continue otherwise your fees will increase, however you may still be charged a maintenance fee.
- What are my banking habits? Different fees are charged for different banking transactions such as ATM withdrawals, over the counter withdrawals, contactless payments, chip and pin payments and direct debits. Some accounts may offer certain transactions for free such as all contactless payments with the AIB current account, or a limited number of ATM withdrawals, so you should check these details to find an account that will charge as little fees as possible for your banking habits.
- Can I keep a minimum balance in my current account? Another way to avoid banking fees is by keeping a certain amount in your account at all times. For example, if you have a Personal Current Account with Bank of Ireland, you won’t pay quarterly transaction fees if you keep a minimum of €3,000 in your account.
How do you switch current accounts?
If you are unhappy with your Irish current account and would like to switch banks, this can take up to 10 working days to complete. The process is done using the Central Bank’s Switching Code so that all of your direct debits and standing orders are transferred over to your new account and you don’t have extra paperwork or need to worry that payments will be missed. If you have an overdraft with your existing bank, you’ll either need to ensure that your new bank agrees to this being transferred over or clear the balance.
Once you decide on the bank you’d like to switch to, make sure that they are happy for you to open an account with them, provide them with your ID and proof of address and then ask for a switching pack. Then you’ll need to decide on a switch date, which is the date that switching current accounts will happen It’s best to pick a time when there are no payments or direct debits going out of your account.
In the switching pack, you should find an account transfer form which will go to your old bank after you complete to fill in details about standing orders and direct debits. You’ll need to let your old bank know if they should close your account once all money is transferred over or if you would like to keep it open.
Once this is complete, your new bank will issue you with a new direct debit card and your account will be ready to use no later than 10 working days after the switch date. The switching current accounts process is set up to ensure that you can have a seamless changeover without any disruption to your everyday banking.
What current accounts are available in Ireland?
- Revolut. Revolut has an online account that allows you to send and request money, transfer money globally and set up recurring payments. It takes minutes to open an account and you can take advantage of built-in budgeting tools and a spare change saver. You can withdraw money from ATMs abroad and spend in over 150 currencies, but you can only withdraw €200 for free before a 2% charge will kick in.
- N26. While it doesn’t have any branches in Ireland, you can open an account online with N26 in minutes. There are no foreign exchange fees when you travel and the mobile app supports Google Pay and Apple Pay. However, even though day-to-day transactions are free and there is no monthly charge to keep your account, you only have a monthly limit of 5 ATM transactions, with each extra withdrawal costing €2.
- bunq. bunq is an international mobile bank that gives you control over your money. You can make transfers, payments or request money through a simple app and keep an overview of your finances for easy budgeting. With the bunq account you can have both Mastercard and Maestro cards for acceptance anywhere you are travelling, plus 10 global ATM withdrawals and Transferwise are included.
- Monese. Another online option, Monese enables you to open a EUR and GBP account in minutes with little documentation. You can make withdrawals worldwide and use Google Pay and Apple Pay for contactless payments. There are three account types to choose from ranging from €0 to €14.95 a month, with each offering different allowances for foreign currency transactions and fees based on your banking habits.
- Bank of Ireland. Even though Bank of Ireland does not have mobile payments available, you can earn cashback through the Live Life Rewards scheme. There are fees for all transactions, even contactless payments are €0.01 each, but these disappear if you keep a minimum of €3,000 in your account apart from your monthly maintenance fee. Bank of Ireland also offers accounts for students, graduates and seniors aged 66+.
- An Post. An Post’s Smart Account has high maintenance, ATM withdrawal and foreign exchange fees, but all other transactions are free. You also have the chance to earn cash back by using your An Post card at partner businesses and for certain direct debits from your account.
- AIB. With AIB’s personal current account, you can take advantage of no fees if you keep a minimum balance of €2,500. If your balance sits under this, you’ll be charged for most other transactions. Debit card holders can enjoy weekly deals and discounts thanks to AIB Everyday Rewards and you can link your card to Google Pay, Apple Pay and Fitbit Pay. AIB also offers accounts for students, graduates and customers aged 66+.
- KBC. KBC’s current account comes with no fees for contactless payments, internet and mobile banking transactions, bonus rates on mortgages and personal loans, and the ability to use your card with Google Pay, Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. If you have at least €2,000 lodged into your account each month, you can apply for the Extra current account for no fees on everyday banking transactions. You’ll get preferential interest rates if you decide to take out a mortgage and no overdraft set-up fees. KBC also has Student, Teen, Basic and Current Account Plus.
- EBS. EBS’s current account is called MoneyManager, which comes with a Mastercard Debit Card. While there is no overdraft facility, no mobile banking and no access to Google Pay, you are not charged a maintenance fee or fees for everyday banking transactions.
- Ulster Bank. Ulster Bank is another bank that will waive your everyday transaction fees as long as you keep €3,000 in your account. Ulster Bank Rewards gives you cash back when you use your card at specified Ireland retailers and you can set up Smartphone Payments. The Ulster Bank app has the Get Cash feature, so you can authorise a third party to withdraw money from your account at an ATM by using a secure cash code.
- permanent tsb. When you sign up for the Explore Account from permanent tsb, you can earn up to €5 back each month by using your card in-store or online. Day-to-day banking is free and you can also get cashback on your SSE Airtricity and Sky bills, as well as mortgage payments. While there is no Apple and Google Pay facility at the moment, this bank does have its own GoREWARDS scheme. permanent tsb also offers accounts for students and teens.
How do you open a current account in Ireland?
To open a current account in Ireland you’ll need to first decide on the bank that you wish to join and make an appointment to see somebody in your local branch.
You will need to take with you:
- Proof of address
Banks including Bank of Ireland and KBC have an application form that you can fill in on their website to save you hassle of leaving home.
Some banks such as AIB allow you to open an account through an app on your phone without needing to go into a branch or speak to anybody on the phone. AIB requires you to:
- Be aged between 16 and 65 years
- Be living in the Republic of Ireland
- Hold an EEA Passport
- Not hold any accounts with AIB
After registering your details on the app, you verify your identity through video chat and are sent an address verification code.
If you would prefer to open an account online check the eligibility criteria of your chosen bank is and what documents you need such as an extra form of photo ID or your PPS number.