Using a credit card in Ireland

How to avoid fees when spending in euros on the Emerald Isle.

Updated

Fact checked

As a member of the European Union, Ireland is as safe as it gets for credit card use. Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in the country, but you can also find plenty of places that take American Express cards. Unfortunately, you can’t pay taxis directly with a credit card, but you can get a mobile app that allows you to do so.

There are a few potential fees to watch out for when you’re paying with plastic:

  • Foreign transaction fees. A non-sterling fee of around 3% per transaction can apply, depending on your credit card. That’s £30 in fees for every £1,000 spent with your card.
  • Merchant currency conversion fees. Sometimes, a merchant will offer to take payment in pounds instead of in euros. This is known as a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) and often comes with higher fees than if you paid in the local currency.
  • Cash advance fees. Your card issuer may charge a fee for cash advances (withdrawing cash using your card). Cash machine providers sometimes charge a fee too, although this is thankfully becoming rarer.
  • ATM fees. The provider of a cash machine may charge a fee if you withdraw cash using your card.

It’s also worth noting that when it comes to cash advances and non-sterling transactions, card issuers will often start charging interest on the day your account is debited, rather than the customary “up to 55 days interest-free” that applies provided you clear your balance in full each month.

How can I avoid the fees?

Consider taking out a credit card offering commission-free currency conversion (see table below), even if you only use it when you’re out of the country. Once you have one of these cards, if a merchant offers to take payment in pounds, say you’re happy to pay in euros, since you know your own bank won’t charge you for the privilege.

Generally speaking it’s not a great idea to use a credit card to withdraw cash, but some travel credit cards won’t penalise you for this either. Finally, make sure to check whether the ATM you use is going to charge a fee. High street bank ATMs are generally a safer bet than those in convenience stores or bars.

Compare cards with fee-free currency conversion in Ireland

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Link
Ulster Bank Credit Card Mastercard
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £400, max. limit not specified.
9.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
More Info
The Royal Bank Credit Card
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
9.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
More Info
The NatWest Credit Card
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
9.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Metro Bank Personal Credit Card Mastercard
14.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
14.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 14.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 14.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Santander Zero Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
18.9% (variable)
Retailer offers - 5 Welcome offers of up to 25% cashback at well-known retailers (must switch on Retailer Offers within 60 days of activating card).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Nationwide Member Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit £15,000.
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Nationwide Member Credit Card All Rounder Offer
0% for 15 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit £15,000.
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Halifax Clarity Credit Card Mastercard
19.95%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Are American Express cards accepted in Ireland?

In Ireland, American Express 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.

Chip-and-PIN credit cards

In Ireland, you can use chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature cards wherever credit cards are accepted.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Ireland?

As far as safety goes, you can freely use your card in Ireland. However, there are some precautions you can take for increased security:

  • Use an ATM within a bank. If for some reason the ATM eats your card, you’ll be able to quickly retrieve it. Also, ATMs within banks are less likely to be tampered with. Should you use one outside a bank, check for devices attached to the reader and cash return slot.
  • Take two credit cards. You can use your primary card for payments and keep your back-up card in your hotel room safety deposit box. That way, you’ll never be left without money.
  • Keep your card in sight. Card cloning is rare in Ireland, but just in case, don’t let your card out of your sight.

How to prepare before traveling to Ireland

  1. Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. If you travel often, avoiding the 3% foreign transaction fee can save you a lot of money. Consider getting a travel card, as they usually have no foreign transaction fees.
  2. Opt for a Mastercard or Visa. They’re the most-widely accepted cards and Ireland is no exception, though you can’t still use your American Express cards in some locations. There are also enough ATMs around if you want to withdraw cash with these cards as well.
  3. Get a back-up card. Try to always carry a second card when traveling abroad, given you don’t know what could happen to your primary card.
  4. Get some cash. In general, you can pay with plastic almost anywhere in Ireland. But if you want to make a cash withdrawal, keep in mind that credit cards have additional fees while most debit cards don’t.
  5. Inform your bank you’re traveling to Ireland. If you don’t let your bank know ahead of time the dates you’ll be away and where you’ll be, it may block your card if it suspects the charges are fraudulent.
  6. Get your bank’s phone number. If you lose your card or have payment issues, you’ll be able to call the bank to resolve it.

Do taxis in Ireland accept credit cards?

Some do, but most of them don’t accept credit cards. If you want to pay for your ride with a card, consider the mytaxi app for iOS and Android devices. With the app, you can also book a cab a few days in advance to pick you up from the airport.

Bottom line

If you travel to Ireland, you can safely use your credit card to make payments and withdraw cash. You’ll just have to be careful to not incur fees you can otherwise avoid. With a decent travel credit card, you’ll avoid paying foreign transaction fees. By simply declining the DCC when offered, you’ll also avoid a poor exchange rate or commission.

Frequently asked questions

How to use a credit card in…

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

More guides on Finder

  • PayPal and your debit card

    Linking your debit and credit card to your PayPal account can save you time when shopping online. Here’s how.

  • Best bank accounts

    Discover how to find the best bank account for your needs.

  • How does life insurance work?

    Find out how life insurance works and what policy is right for you.

  • Will debt consolidation hurt my credit score?

    Debt consolidation can have a positive or negative impact on your credit score. Here’s how to make sure you don’t damage your record when consolidating debt.

  • Black Friday Klarna deals live now: Where to shop with Klarna this Black Friday

    Looking to buy now but pay later in the Black Friday sales? Here’s where you can shop with Klarna for the best Black Friday deals and discounts.

  • Guaranteed business bank accounts

    If your credit score is less than ideal, you might be worried about being refused for a business account application. But there are business accounts with no credit checks, sometimes referred to as “guaranteed”, that can offer a solution.

  • Business bank accounts for discharged bankrupts

    It can be hard to get accepted for a business account after bankruptcy, even once you have been discharged. But some banks do offer business bank accounts without credit checks and will allow you to open an account.

  • Benefits of a business account

    While it may look like additional admin work, opening a separate business account is actually likely to make your work life easier and more organised. Here are the pros and cons.

  • Which banks give you money for switching?

    We look at switching bonuses, what they are, how they work, and which banks offer the best ones. If you’re fed up with your current bank, there is no good reason not to switch and get a nice little cash bonus as an extra perk.

  • gohenry vs Osper: Fees, features and more

    Both GoHenry and Osper are suitable for parents looking for a children’s prepaid card that comes with great parental control options. Here we compare their features and fees to help you choose the best for you.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site