Digital banks in Ireland
What you need to know about using a mobile bank in Ireland, including finding the right one.
Mobile banking puts your finances at your fingertips 24/7. There’s a host of challenger banks, digital-only banks and personal finance apps available now, designed to give you better, faster control of your cash.
We’ve rounded up everything you need to know so you can decide if digital banks are right for you.
What is digital banking?
Digital banking, also called mobile banking, is a way to control your money, usually through a smartphone app or web app. It allows you to log into your account anywhere with Internet access, giving you constant visibility of your money and helping you understand the best way to manage it.
Compare a range of digital banks in Ireland
Why should I use a digital bank account in Ireland?
There are several advantages to mobile banking:
- Banking access in your pocket
- No bank branches
- Fast and cheap international transfers
- 24/7 support
- Instant spending notifications
- Spending and saving features
What you should know about mobile banks
Here are a few things that you may not know about using your mobile as your main point of contact with your bank:
There are fewer fees
Most big banks in Ireland charge admin or transaction fees on current accounts that can range from €4-18 per quarter. There are sometimes ways to avoid these fees, such as maintaining a minimum balance in your account, but the fees are still quite high. These banks also charge fees for ATM withdrawals, card transactions and direct debit/standing orders.
However, digital banks charge far fewer fees. You will find that most will come with a “free” account option that charges €0 per month. Then, if you want to unlock more features you can pay a monthly fee. There are still sometimes small ATM fees but you will not pay fees for card transactions and no annual fees apply. You can also avoid some of the smaller fees by paying a higher ongoing monthly fee.
Cash and cheques usually aren’t supported
Digital banks in Ireland usually have limitations on how many ATM withdrawals you can make a month and do not offer cheque facilities.
Managing multiple currencies is easier
Digital banks tend to have better services in terms of foreign currency. Some let you hold multiple currencies in your account while others let you make international transfers faster and more cheaply than standard banks.
Your money may not be protected the same way it is with traditional banks
Not every digital bank is licenced in the same way. For example, Revolut has recently been granted a European banking licence which means your funds will be protected once it is implemented. Currently, funds are held in an account separate to Revolut and customers cannot deposit their salaries with them. N26 does, on the other hand, hold a German banking licence which means consumer deposits up to €100,000 are protected.
Everything is managed on your smartphone
You generally sign up for a bank account in Ireland in a branch but you can also do so online. With digital banks in Ireland, you can only sign up on your smartphone. You also will not get access to Internet banking on your computer with most digital banks.
You don’t need to panic if you lose your phone or card
A benefit of a digital bank is having full access to your account at all times. Lots of mobile banks allow temporary freezing of your account in the case of a lost card, so if you find it again it’s not as much hassle to get a replacement. If you forget your pin, the banking apps also tend to have access to a pin reminder after you complete a couple of security questions.
What digital banks are available in Ireland?
There are a number of mobile banks available in Ireland. These include:
- Revolut. Revolut is a global banking app that offers budgeting tools, international currency exchange, travel insurance, cryptocurrency facilities, virtual cards and more.
- N26. N26 is a digital bank account that lets you save and budget, transfer money to other N26 users, optional travel insurance and cashback.
- bunq. A bank account designed for global citizens, bunq lets you create up to 25 bank accounts with unique IBANs. You can also benefit from savings and budgeting tools, money transfers through TransferWise and no foreign exchange fees.
- Monese. Monese lets you open a UK current account and manage it from anywhere in the world and get a secondary IBAN account. You can also use the app in multiple languages and make foreign transfers in up to eight currencies.
How to get started with a digital bank
You can sign up with a digital bank in Ireland by downloading your chosen bank’s app onto your smartphone. You will need a few of your personal details to sign up, including your full name, date of birth, address and email address. You will need to confirm your identity and may need to deposit funds into your account to make it active. Then, your bank account will be created.