Updated 9 months ago

Most transactions are done electronically through the banks or using debit cards these days, so having a bank account in Ireland is essential. It will also prevent you from incurring large foreign transaction fees on your home accounts and credit cards.


It is fairly easy to open a bank account in Ireland compared to some other countries. You will need to fill in an application for the account, and show two pieces of documentation: proof of ID and proof of address. The ID can be in the form of a passport, driving license, or EU national identity card, and the proof of address should be a recent utility bill (under 6 months old) or correspondence from a government authority. In most cases you will have to carry out the opening of the account in person, but you may begin the application process online. Sometimes it is possible to do by post with certified copies of you documentation. It is simpler if you already have an Irish address, but if you don’t it is possible to open an account as a non-resident and use proof of your foreign address. You may not have access to as many account options, however, and you may need to supply some additional reference information.

Some popular banks in Ireland are:

  • Bank of Ireland
  • Allied Irish Bank (AIB)
  • Ulster Bank
  • Permanent TSB

There are also many international banks, so your bank in your home country may have a branch in Ireland. This doesn’t necessarily mean they can help you open an account, but it is worth asking.

Make sure to check all of the details when researching and choosing an account, as many charge fees unless you keep your balance at a certain level, and some even charge you per transaction.

Debit/credit card

Most accounts will come with a debit card upon opening, and Visa debit cards are subject to a government stamp duty, or tax, of €2.50 per year. Credit cards are harder to come by as a foreigner. Unfortunately your credit score does not travel with you, even if you’re an EU citizen, so you will have to start from scratch. Having and using a bank account will get you off to a start in rebuilding some credit, as will paying your bills for things like mobile phones, but it could take awhile to qualify for your own card.

Before you leave your home country, you may want to apply for a card that doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees and keep an account stocked up to pay it off when you need to use it. This will also help keep your credit up in your home country, where it also may be erased if you stay away too long! You can also look into cards catering to the sub-prime and near-prime markets, which unfortunately you are now a part of, but these will have low limits and high interest rates, so be careful with them.

  Useful links:

Bank of Ireland
Permanent TSB
Citizen Information – Opening and switching a bank account in Ireland
Ulster Bank

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