Using a credit card in Ireland

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

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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
Updated September 21st, 2019
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
9.9% p.a. (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).
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
9.9% p.a. (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).
24.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit £1,500.
24.9% p.a. (variable)
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
9.9% p.a. (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).
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
9.9% p.a. (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).
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £400, max. limit not specified.
9.9% p.a. (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).
14.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
14.9% p.a. (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).
0% for 12 months reverting to 15.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
15.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 15.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 15.9% APR (variable).

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

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