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Foreign currency accounts in Ireland

Save on overseas ATMs, international transaction fees and foreign exchange costs with a multi-currency account.

Do you need access to multiple currencies? A foreign currency account is an easy, hassle-free option that can save you money in foreign exchange fees and charges. A foreign currency account, or multi-currency account, allows you to hold several different currencies at once, and switch between currencies when needed.

Foreign currency accounts in Ireland

Name Product Maintenance fee Fee period ATM transaction fee
Revolut Standard
€0
Monthly
€1 + 2% per withdrawal
Enjoy no monthly fee, no currency conversion fees up to €1,000 per month and hold an array of currencies in your account.
Wirex Standard
€0
Monthly
2% per withdrawal

Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

Benefit from an array of digital payment features, including a free prepaid Wirex card and unlimited fee-free transfers at interbank rates - with zero monthly subscription fee.
Wise Multicurrency Account
€0
Monthly
€0.50 + 1.75% per withdrawal
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is an international account with over 50 currencies, instant and very convenient money transfers, a card to spend in any currency, bank details to be paid in 30 different countries and multi-currency direct debits.
Revolut Plus
€2.99
Monthly
€1 + 2% per withdrawal
Enjoy purchase, event ticket and returns protection, plus other innovative features with this lower-priced subscription plan.
Wirex Elite
€29.99
Monthly
2% per withdrawal

Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

Access supercharged rewards and curated merchant offers in addition to standard Wirex digital payment features and travel card.
Revolut Premium
€7.99
Monthly
€1 + 2% per withdrawal
A combined current account and IBAN account with unlimited free currency conversions and international transfers in many currencies.
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What is a foreign currency account?

Known as a multi-currency account, a foreign currency account works just like a standard bank account but allows you to send and receive funds in a foreign currency. These funds can either be exchanged into euros or held in whatever currency they’re received in until you’re ready to exchange them. Foreign currency accounts can come in both business and personal versions.

Depending on who your account is with, you can make deposits and withdrawals at a branch or online, although keep in mind that some accounts will only offer a smaller number of currencies that can be withdrawn at a branch.

How does a multi-currency account work?

A multi-currency bank account allows you to send and receive funds in different currencies, can save you time and money. Standard bank accounts in Ireland will see funds converted to and from EUR when required, but what if you wanted to keep different amounts of specific currencies without having to worry about short term currency fluctuations affecting your bottom line?

When you use a multi-currency account, you can deposit different currencies with ease. You can switch between the currencies to take advantage of changing exchange rates and send money overseas without having to worry about extra charges for conversion (though transfer fees may apply). This is an ideal way to handle your money if you regularly deal with international transactions. International banks typically offer accounts for both euro and foreign currencies. Currencies might include:

  • Euro (EUR)
  • Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • United States Dollars (USD)
  • Australian Dollars (AUD)
  • Hong Kong Dollars (HKD)
  • Canadian Dollars (CAD)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • New Zealand Dollars (NZD)
  • Singapore Dollars (SGD)
  • Renminbi (RMB) though currency restrictions may apply
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What are the benefits of a foreign currency account?

One of the major benefits of a foreign currency account is you can send and receive funds in different currencies without exchanging them. This is ideal for anyone in the import and export business. Let’s have a look at a fictional example.

Matt uses their multi-currency account

man-on-couch-with-creditcard-and-laptop-ShutterstockLet’s say Matt buys stock from China and sells it in the United States. Without a foreign currency account, the payment process would be a long and expensive ordeal. They would need to convert funds into euros when receiving payments from the US, and then convert this to Chinese Renminbi when they needed to purchase stock. This can come with extra fees, and would see them at more risk due to currency fluctuations when converting funds.

Since foreign currency accounts let you send and receive money in any currency, Matt could buy stock using Chinese Renminbi, and receive payments from customers in US dollars all direct into their Irish-based bank account. Then Matt could decide when to convert funds into EUR when they wanted to.

  • Variety of currencies available

Many banks will offer a selection of currencies, so it’s important to first compare the various institutions and products in the market to ensure the currencies you need are offered. Generally speaking, banks will offer major currencies with a foreign currency account, so if you plan on dealing in the more exotic currencies, you might need to seek the services of a competitive international money transfer service and use a regular bank account.

  • Overdrafts

If you’re unsure of the timing of your foreign currency payments many institutions may allow you to maintain an overdraft in specific currencies. This can help accommodate delayed or early payments. Always take into account fees and rates for the use of this overdraft facility.

  • Exchange rate benefits

As mentioned above, a major benefit of this type of account is that you can keep your money in whichever currency you want. This is especially important when thinking about exchange rates.

The value of a euro today could be very different tomorrow, and these fluctuations in value can cost you dearly. In fact, the number of euros you’ll get in exchange for any currency varies each day based on global financial markets.

In a foreign currency account, you can sit on your money until the rates improve, making it worthwhile to transfer it back into euros. This can be especially helpful in business transactions, which may be much larger than personal day-to-day transactions, and therefore can see small differences in rates translate to even greater losses.

How do I compare multi-currency accounts?

In order to ensure that you can take full advantage of having a multi-currency account, you should be comparing the following features amongst the various financial institutions:

  • Number of currencies. You will find that some financial institutions are able to provide you with a number of different currencies while others may only have 2 or 3.
  • Supported currencies. Check to ensure that the currencies you deal with most are available with each of the accounts you are comparing.
  • Account minimum. Some banks will require that you maintain a minimum monthly balance in the account.
  • Monthly account fees. Will you be charged a monthly maintenance fee for holding the multi-currency account?
  • Other fees. Read the fine print to see if you will be subject to any cash handling fees for transactions. In some instances, this could depend on the particular currency and the type of transaction you are making.
  • Interest. Will you earn any interest on your account balance? While earning interest is a benefit, some accounts may actually charge you interest for holding more money in the account.
  • Currency conversion charges. In addition to the exchange rate differences, the institution could also charge you each time you convert your money to another currency.
  • Transfer amounts. The amount you are allowed to transfer per transaction and per day will vary between banks.
  • Transfer types. Check how your transfers are made. You may find that all overseas transfers are conducted as a bank to bank transfer.
  • Money transfer speed. Look to see how long it takes to transfer money from your home bank to one located overseas.
  • Flexibility. With some multi-currency accounts, you will be able to make transfers, deposits and withdrawals over the phone or internet or at a branch. Check to see if any of these transaction types are limited or incur extra fees.

What are the pros and cons of holding a multi-currency account?

Pros

  • Multiple currencies. This is the main benefit of holding one. You don’t need to worry about exchanging your money and can deposit foreign currency.
  • Balance requirements. With some banks. you will not be required to maintain a minimum balance in a multi-currency account.
  • Exchange rates. You can switch between currencies in some instances to take advantage of a better exchange rate.
  • Account keeping fees. You may find multi-currency accounts that do not charge any monthly maintenance fees or other charges.

Cons

  • Cash handling fees. For some of your transactions, you can expect to be charged special cash handling fees.
  • Negative interest. Your balance may not earn any interest but you may actually lose money if you have to pay interest on balances over a certain amount.

What fees can I expect?

A foreign currency account usually comes with a number of fees in addition to monthly maintenance fees.

There may be fees for depositing or withdrawing money. Some institutions may offer unlimited deposits and allow a certain number of fee-free withdrawals per month, or vice versa. If you do need to pay fees for deposits or withdrawals, make sure you’re happy with the fee you’ll be charged.

When comparing accounts, have some idea about what your transactions will look like each month. If you receive several deposits each month, it may be useful to find an account that offers free unlimited deposits.

How do I open a foreign currency account?

Opening a foreign currency account isn’t very different to opening any other kind of bank account. You’ll need your basic personal and contact information, along with the standard forms of acceptable identification such as a passport or driver’s licence.

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