Opening a bank account
You will need to open an Irish bank account, if only to receive your salary – most Irish employers will not deposit your pay into a foreign account. There are two ways to do this – in person or online. Either way, you won’t be able to do this before you arrive in Ireland. Due to anti-money laundering legislation, most Irish banks will want to meet you in person before opening an account for you.
The bigger retail banks in Ireland are:
- Allied Irish Banks (AIB)
- Bank of Ireland (BOI)
- Ulster Bank
- Educational Building Society (EBS)
- Permanent TSB
The guidance below reflects the account-opening process at these banks.
Opening an account in person
Opening a bank account in Ireland is reasonably straightforward. You’ll need two documents – a valid form of photo ID and a document to prove your address. Photo ID can include:
- Your passport.
- Your driving licence.
- A national identity card (EU citizens only).
Proving your address is a bit more difficult. You’ll need one of the following:
- Utility bill from the past 6 months.
- Bank statement from the past 6 months.
- Letter from a government department that shows your address.
Here’s the rub – what if you’ve just arrived and don’t have a document to prove your address? Most banks will accept a utility bill, bank statement or government correspondence with your address in your home country. Some banks will require more than this – you may have to produce two such documents. You may even be asked to provide a character reference and grant the bank access to your financial history.
Opening an account from home
Few Irish banks provide an end-to-end online account opening facility. More often than not you’ll have to download an application form, fill it in and send it back with certified copies of your photo ID and proof of address. Get the copies certified by a chartered accountant, a notary public, a practising solicitor, a commissioner for oaths or an embassy official. They’ll need to write three things on each copy:
- Confirm the document is a true copy of the original.
- Write their name, position and contact details in capital letters.
- Sign, date and stamp the document.
Keep in mind that, having done all this, you may still need to attend the bank in person before they open your account.
Opening a credit union account
A credit union is a financial institution owned by its members. It performs many of the same services as a bank. The Irish credit union movement began in the 1950s, when concerned citizens sought ways to protect working people from the depredations of high unemployment. It helped ordinary people gain more control over their finances. Today, credit unions affiliated with the Irish League of Credit Unions, an industry body, hold €13.4 billion of savings.
You can find your closest credit union and learn more about joining at the League’s website.