Digital banks in Ireland
What digital banks are available in Ireland and how to find the right one for you.
Digital banks, also known as online banks, give you a whole bank in your pocket. There’s a host of challenger banks, online 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 a digital bank account?
Digital bank accounts, also called online or mobile bank accounts, are bank accounts that are managed entirely online through your smartphone or computer. These accounts have low fees and features such as budgeting tools, smart money tracking and low-cost travel and money transfers.
Compare a range of digital banks in Ireland
Why should I use an online bank account in Ireland?
There are several advantages to online bank accounts:
- Banking access in your pocket
- No bank branches
- Fast and cheap international transfers
- 24/7 support
- Instant spending notifications
- Spending and saving features
6 things to know about online banks
Here are a few things that you may not know about using your smartphone as your main point of contact with your bank:
1. 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. 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 sometimes ATM fees but you will not pay fees for card transactions and there are no annual fees. You can also avoid some of the smaller fees by paying a higher ongoing monthly fee.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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. However, N26 holds a German banking licence which means consumer deposits up to €100,000 are protected.
5. 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.
6. 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 through your digital banking smartphone app. Lots of online 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, digital banks also have access to a pin reminder after you complete a couple of security questions.
If you lose your phone or it’s stolen, you will still be able to secure your account. Just contact the digital bank (contact details will be on the website) and your account will be able to be locked from your smartphone. If you get your phone back, the bank will be able to set access back up again. If not, you can set up your app on your new phone.
What digital banks are available in Ireland?
There are a number of online 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.
- Neteller. Neteller is a prepaid Mastercard that lets you load your own funds to it and spend securely online. You can also make international money transfers, earn rewards and buy and sell cryptocurrency with the card.
- Wirex. This is a digital banking travel card that helps you spend more easily here and abroad. You can buy, sell and manage 9 currencies and 11 cryptocurrencies using Wirex.
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.