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How to open a bank account in Ireland

Having an account in Ireland allows you to withdraw money from an ATM from anywhere in Europe, pay for your purchases with a debit card and transfer money from Brazil at much lower fees.

It is possible to open a bank account if you are a foreigner, but you will need to prove residence in Ireland. In general, banks require you to be over 18, an identification document and proof of residence.

The four largest banks in Ireland (big four) are: AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Citibank. In recent years, all digital banks, such as N26, Revolut, Bunq and Monize, have also entered the market, which are gaining more and more space within the European Union.

Banks in Ireland are open Monday to Friday from 9: 30-10: 00 to 16: 16-16: 30. Some banks open later (usually until 5 pm) once a week. In Dublin, this usually happens on Thursday. On Saturdays, some agencies may open during reduced hours, usually from 10 am to 1 pm.

Account opening is free, and is usually done at the agency itself, by appointment. For those arriving in Ireland, we recommend doing this soon, as the service can take several days, especially in the most central branches of large cities. Pay attention to the conditions of each bank, as some require a minimum balance or the payment of a maintenance fee, unless you are a student.

That said, we selected some account options (current accounts) with the lowest rates. Check out:

N26

The N26 is a 100% digital bank based in Germany. It is one of the most economical options, as the bank does not charge a maintenance fee, and customers earn up to 5 free withdrawals per month at any ATM inside and outside Ireland. The N26 is also compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

This is the best (and perhaps the only) option for foreigners who want to open an account before arriving in Ireland, without having to prove residence in the country.

EBS MoneyManager

This is an account with basic features: debit card, withdrawals, payments and transfers. There is no charge for maintenance or transactions, nor any minimum balance requirement. To open an account, you need to schedule an appointment at an agency.

Permanent TSB

This is a great option for those who use the debit card a lot. The Explore account has a maintenance fee of € 6 per quarter (total € 72 per year), which initially looks more expensive than other banks. However, the bank does not charge any transaction fees, and there is also a 10c bonus each time the debit card is used (up to a maximum of 5 per month). To open an account, you need to schedule an appointment at an agency.

Other banks

Most large banks in Ireland charge administration fees and transaction fees. Some of these fees may be waived if the customer has a minimum amount in the account. The rules vary by bank. In AIB, this value is € 2500, while in Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, the minimum is € 3000.

Most banks also offer special accounts for students and university students, at lower rates or even exemption from them. It is necessary to have a document that proves the link with the educational institution, and the benefits usually last only until the end of the studies.

Some of these banks allow opening an online account for EEA citizens, but Brazilian citizens will, in most cases, need to make an appointment at an agency.

Important: In addition to the transaction fees that some banks charge, there is also a tax (stamp duty) on each ATM withdrawal. The tax costs 12c per withdrawal, with a limit of € 2.50 per year (or € 5, if you use your card also for debit purchases). The charge is made in January of each year.

Author: Pedro Henrique Moschetta

I work with digital marketing and lived in Europe for two years. I like to write about travel, business and entertainment, as well as sharing tips and advice for Brazilians living abroad.
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