Basics of banking in Ireland



Opening a Bank Account in Ireland

Both residents and non-residents can open bank accounts in Ireland. You will be considered "resident" in Ireland if your main area of interest is here. With effect from the date on which Ireland became a full member of the European Union (EU), banking regulations for both resident and non-resident EU citizens have been identical, hence even non-resident EU citizens may open an Irish bank account. Non-resident homeowners in Ireland can do most of their banking via a foreign account using debit and credit cards, but will still need an Irish bank account to pay Irish utility and tax bills (which are best paid by direct debit).

There is no difference in the account opening procedure to be followed by residents and non-residents. To open an account you must be at least 18 years old and are required to furnish two forms of identification one of which should be with photograph such as a passport and proof of residence such as a recent utility bill.

It is possible to open an account through correspondence before you actually move to Ireland but most Irish banks insist on seeing an applicant in person before they open an account in his or her name.

Even when you are resident in Ireland, keeping money in local currency in an account in a country you visit regularly (such as the UK) is more economical as you can avoid paying commission to convert Euros. Most foreigners resident in Ireland have at least two cheque (current) accounts one of which is a foreign account for international and large transactions and another local account with an Irish bank for daily transactions.

Bank charges in Ireland generally compare favorably with those in other European countries; charges vary from bank to bank. Normal banking hours are from 9:30 or 10am until 4pm (sometimes closing for an hour at lunchtime) on weekdays, with late opening until 5 or 5:30pm on one day (usually market day).

Credit Rating in Ireland

Credit rating is calculated differently in Ireland from other countries on account of which you will have to give as much information as possible about your financial status in your present country of residence. The Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) is a private company which operates a credit referencing system under which you may have access to your own file and challenge or request clarification of any details you believe to be incorrect or potentially misleading for a small fee.

Banks, Building Societies & Credit Unions in Ireland

There are eight banks in Ireland: Bank of Ireland (which has the highest number of branches), Allied Irish bank, Ulster Bank, National Irish Bank, Trustee Savings Bank, First Active, National Building Society, ACC Bank and ICC Bank.

In addition there are three building Societies the Educational Building Society, the Irish Permanent Bank and the ICS Building Society which, though less widespread than banks provide a wider range of services and work longer hours.

Besides this there are 536 Credit Unions in Ireland, non-profit, community based co-operative organizations that offer loans and savings facilities but no long-term loans or mortgages.