Banks in Ireland are usually open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. Some smaller branches close during lunch hours which is something to keep in mind. The main banks in Ireland are Bank of IrelandUlster BankAIB and Permanent TSB.

As in other EU countries, banking has become fairly automated in recent years with many choosing to do their banking online or over the phone and banks encouraging customers to do so. Self-service quick lodgement facilities are being preferred over lodging money via the bank-teller, in turn shortening queues. The main banks listed above offer 24 hour telephone and Internet banking services.

Bank charges

There are a number of bank charges that you should be aware of. Each bank has a set of fees and charges for different accounts and transactions. You’ll need to keep this in mind when choosing your bank and make sure to ask about these before agreeing to anything.

While the charges are relatively small, you can still do your best to avoid them! Government Stamp Duty is a tax which you will have to pay once a year for each credit and debit card that you have.

Types of payment options

The most common debit card here is called a Laser card, this also doubles up as a Maestro card in other European cities. Many banks are now making the move to debit cards which have added security and RFID technology so that you can pay for small purchases without having to enter your chip and pin.

How to open a bank account

You can happily use your international credit and debit cards for as long as you want, but charges can add up quickly if you use them in Ireland and it’s best avoided as a long-term solution.

The best option is to open an Irish bank account for the day to day expenses and payment of bills. You’ll need go to the bank of your choice in person and tell them that you want to open an account. At this stage they should walk you through the options available.

If you want to open it up a bank account on the same day, go prepared! This means that you should bring at least two forms of identification with you including your passport and proof of residence in Ireland.

Forms of identification you can use are utility bills (phone, gas, electric), but a letter from your employer stating that you have recently arrived in Ireland and have started work but cannot yet provide evidence of your Irish address should suffice although you’ll have to provide evidence of your address at a later date.

Opening a joint account

You can open an account in the names of more than one person. You might want to open a joint account with your partner to manage the household expenses. It is important to be clear about the type of account you need when you are opening one.

Current accounts

Current accounts are for day to day use. You can lodge money in and withdraw it. You will be issued with a debit card to use with this account.

Deposit accounts

Deposit accounts are savings accounts. The type of savings account you get will depending on how much you want to save and how much access you want to your money. There are no transaction fees or maintenance charges with these accounts, which are available from banks, building societies, your local post office and or branch of the Credit Union.

Transferring money within the European Union

If you are transferring money to another bank account in the EU, you’ll need the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and the Bank Identifier Code (BIC) of the account. This will help speed the process up. You’ll find the IBAN and BIC on your bank statement.

How to transfer to accounts outside the EU

If you are sending money to a destination outside the euro zone, you will usually have to pay higher charges, including a transfer fee as well as a foreign exchange fee. Check with your bank or building society for details of the charges for this service.

Paying bills

You can pay bills by Direct Debit, Standing Order or cheque.

A Direct Debit is a payment taken from your account by a third party. You’ll usually come across this for when signing up to bill pay phones contracts where the charges are usually in and around the same amount each month.

A Standing Order is an instruction that you give your bank to pay the same amount at certain intervals. It’s useful for paying rent, mortgage or other fixed regular payments.

If you are paying by cheque it can take between 3 to 5 days to clear. This means that if you are paying bills by cheque, you should make sure that you have sent the cheque over a week in advance of the payment end date to avoid paying hefty late payment fees.

Keep in mind that while you may see the amount of the cheque printed on your statement, the money won’t actually be made available to you until the cheque clears.

Online banking

Online banking facilities allow you to make transfers, payments and even add credit to your mobile phone. It will show you your most recent bank statements and allows you to keep up to date with your finances.