Travel money Ireland 2021: How to pay & how much to bring

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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.

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As Ireland has its own unique currency and travel money customs, so it’s important to do your research before you leave. Ireland is divided politically between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Island. Euros are the currency of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland use the British pound.

We have a look at spending in euros and pounds as well as tips to make your money go further in Ireland. Organize your travel money helps for a stress-free vacation.

Our picks for traveling to Ireland

American Express® Gold Card logo

Our pick for travel credit card

American Express® Gold Card

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5
Transferwise Multi-currency logo

Our pick for multi-currency debit card

Transferwise Multi-currency

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Finder rating: 4.5/5
SoFi Money logo

Our pick for 0% transaction fee debit card

SoFi Money

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5

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 not accepted at all.

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 left 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. Credit cards give you time to payback what you’ve spent before interest is charged on purchases. Some credit cards also provide complimentary international travel insurance when you buy your airfare with your card.

A credit card with no currency conversion fee can be a cost effective way to make purchases in Ireland. The exchange rate set in place by your card applies and it is usually as close as you can get to the market rate. Drawbacks include international transaction fees, interest and ATM withdrawal charges.

  • 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

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 currency conversion or international ATM withdrawals — local 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 back-up 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. You can 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
  • Anti-fraud 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

Using traveler’s checks

Traveler’s checks have been made redundant by the bank’s fraud protection policies and the ever increasing number of places accepting card payments. If you’re the victim of card fraud, your bank or card provider will be able to give you a full refund if you have complied with the terms of the Visa and Mastercard Zero Liability Guarantees.

Pros
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Need photo ID to cash check
Cons
  • Fee to cash checks
  • Initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveler’s checks

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points) and 3x points on directly-booked flights
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $750 through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries.
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on up to $1,000 on groceries until April 30, 2021, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a signup bonus worth $750 plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries with this popular travel card.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
75,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
$550
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

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

ATMs in Ireland

Live Rate

= 1.0000

Refreshing in: 60s | Sat, Mar 06, 11:42PM 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

= £ 0.7228

Refreshing in: 60s | Sat, Mar 06, 11:42PM 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

Cash pickup services in Ireland

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 72.815 INR 72,524 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups. Go to site Show details
$10 Within an hour USD 1.99 71.717 INR 71,575 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 8.00 71.534 INR 70,962 MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide. Show details
$1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 71.351 INR 69,924 Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

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
AccomodationHostel 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.

Compare travel insurance for your next trip to Ireland

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