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Travel money guide: Ireland

Planning a trip to Ireland? Here’s all you need to know when preparing to spend in the Emerald Isle.

Ireland has its own unique currency and travel money customs: Euros are the currency of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland use the British pound. Despite this separation, you can feel safe paying with credit cards, debit cards, cash or prepaid travel cards during your trip.

A credit card is your best and simplest option in Ireland, as most retailers accept them and some cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card help save on foreign transaction fees. Read up on all of your spending options to make sure you’re prepared for your trip to the Emerald Isle.

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Travel card, debit card or credit card?

You shouldn’t have a problem using any Visa or Mastercard product at Irish shops and ATMs. American Express can also be used, but at fewer places. Diners Club is accepted in fewer places than American Express and Discover cards are rarely and sporadically accepted.

Some debit cards and travel cards waive international transaction charges and give you free international ATM withdrawals. Use a travel card or debit card for everyday purchase and cash withdrawals when you need euros or pounds, and a credit card for everything else.

If you’re in the market for a new credit card, why not apply for a credit card with travel features? Complimentary insurance can save you hundreds before you’ve even leave the country. There are even cards which offer extended interest-free terms for up to a year or more.

These are your options for spending money in Ireland

Using a credit card

Credit cards are great for larger purchases like travel bookings and souvenirs. Some credit cards also provide travel benefits like travel insurance or rewards. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card for example earns miles on purchases and waives foreign transaction fees you would incur on purchases abroad.

Different travel credit cards offer different kinds of perks, so its wise to compare your options to find the right combination of features suitable to your travels.

    • Tip: Even with these travel benefits, avoid using your credit card to withdraw cash. Cash advance interest and cash advance fees apply for this type of transaction — and you don’t get interest-free days either.
Pros
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • No currency conversion fees
  • Features such as complimentary travel insurance
  • Interest-free period on purchases
Cons
  • Fees and high interests on cash advances
  • Subject to an annual fee
  • International transaction fees and interest charges may also apply

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Ireland?

In Ireland, American Express and Discover cards aren’t as popular as Mastercard or Visa, but in some places you can still pay with them.

If you want to make a cash withdrawal with an Amex card, look for Bank of Ireland or Centra ATMs. For Discover cards, Allied Irish Banks ATMs will work.

Merchant acceptanceATM acceptance
Visacheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh
Mastercardcheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh
American Expresscross mark iconLowexclamation point iconMedium
Discoverexclamation point iconMediumcross mark iconLow

Compare travel credit cards

1 - 3 of 29
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

2x miles on every purchase, every day, 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
$95
Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months ​from account opening.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Earn unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card
70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $4,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
3 miles per $1 on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 miles per $1 on all other purchases
$50
Get 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $4,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Using a debit card

There are only a handful of debit accounts with features suited to travelers. What you want to keep an eye out for is a card that doesn’t charge for international ATM and foreign transaction fees, like from Betterment Checking — local or out-of-network ATM operator fees may still apply.

  • Tip: Make sure you tell your bank about your travel plans to Ireland. There’s a good chance your card will be blocked if you try and use it outside of the country without notice.
Pros
  • Secured with a chip and PIN technology
  • Can be easily blocked by your issuer with just a phone call
  • ATMs are abundant
Cons
  • No backup card
  • Linked directly to bank account if you card goes missing
  • Local ATM operator fees may apply

Using a prepaid travel card

All travel cards let you load euros and pounds, the respective currencies of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Pounds are also used throughout the rest of neighboring Great Britain — most trips to Ireland also involve a trip to the United Kingdom.

You’ll be able to spend without paying for currency conversion — however, you’ll pay ATM fees, reload fees and be subject to an inflated travel card exchange rate.

  • Tip: Depending on the card you use, you may end up with a higher or lower exchange rate. Check with your providers to see what rates apply and work out the most affordable option.
Pros
  • All travel cards let you load euros and pounds
  • Save on currency conversion fees
  • Can be easily blocked with just a phone call
  • Back up card and PIN protection
  • Antifraud protection
Cons
  • You’ll need to pay reload fees and ATM fees
  • Can take up to five or six days if you’re trying to reload your travel card over a weekend or holiday
  • Poor exchange rate

A guide to Ireland’s coins and banknotes

In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro. Notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500, while coins are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2.

Buying euros and pounds sterling in the US

ATMs take the hassle out of getting local currency. Americans don’t have to pay to enter Ireland or the United Kingdom, so there’s no reason why you should need a large amount of cash right away. However it can be a good idea to have some small bills to pay for food or a train or taxi from the airport.

US banks will charge a commission to exchange funds — Travelex is a better option. There’s no commission and Travelex has a number of locations, including airports that make it convenient.

The main banks in Ireland are:

  • Allied Irish Bank (AIB)
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Ulster Bank
  • CitiBank Europe
  • Permanent Group Holdings
  • Danske Bank (Ireland)
  • KBC Bank Ireland
  • EBC d.a.c.
  • DePfa Bank
  • Bank of Montreal Ireland PLC

Using an ATM in Ireland

There are no shortage of ATMs in Ireland with a majority of them part of the Visa or Mastercard network. American Express is less commonly accepted and Discover cards rarely if at all.

You can optimize your savings when accessing an ATM by using a debit card from a bank that waives ATM fees or foreign transaction fees, like Betterment Checking. Give your cardholder’s agreement a close look before traveling to get a sense of what fees you might incur and when they occur.

ATMs in Ireland

Live Rate

= 1.0000

Refreshing in: 60s | Wed, Sep 28, 03:20PM GMT

Irish 5-eurosIrish 10-eurosIrish 20-euros
Irish 50-eurosIrish 100-euros

In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency. Notes are £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100, while coins are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

Live Rate

= £ 0.9298

Refreshing in: 60s | Wed, Sep 28, 03:20PM GMT

Northern Irish 5-poundsNorthern Irish 10-poundsNorthern Irish 20-pounds
Northern Irish 50-poundsNorthern Irish 100-pounds

The main banks in Ireland are:

  • Allied Irish Bank (AIB)
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Ulster Bank
  • CitiBank Europe
  • Permanent Group Holdings
  • Danske Bank (Ireland)
  • KBC Bank Ireland
  • EBC d.a.c.
  • DePfa Bank
  • Bank of Montreal Ireland PLC

How much should I budget to travel in Ireland?

Traveling to Ireland is not cheap. Even budget travelers should plan for at least $50 per day. If you’re looking to stay in nicer hotels rather than hostels or dorm beds, you’re looking at a budget of $130 to $250 a day. You’ll find Northern Ireland a bit more expensive. All prices are in US dollars.

DublinBudgetMid-rangeExpensive
MealsGet a full Irish breakfast sandwich on Nassau Street
$8
A meal at a midrange restaurant
$15 per head
3-course meal at a Michelin star restaurant
$120 a head
ActivitiesVisit the national galleries of Dublin
Free
Skip the lines at the Guinness Storehouse
$20 (early entry and first service)
3-day tour of South Ireland starting and returning to Dublin
From $250 per person
AccommodationHostel dorm bed
$10–$25 per night
2-star hotel
$15–$150 per night
5-star hotel
$200+ per night

Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

Tips:

  • There are credit cards, debit cards and travel cards which don’t charge for ATM withdrawals. Be sure to apply for a card with low ATM withdrawal fees so you can get euros or pounds for cheap.
  • Always pay in euros or pounds when you’re using your credit or debit card. You may be asked to pay in USD, but you’ll get robbed on the exchange rate if you do this.

Case study: Luke's experience

Luke profile photo
Luke

Case study: Interview with Luke about spending in Ireland

Do you have any tips?

Let your bank know about your travel plans to avoid the hassle of calling your bank to unlock your credit card. Luke says he failed to do that, and Barclaycard blocked his card once he used it in Ireland.

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