Switching your bank account
If you want or need to switch
You may decide to switch your bank account to get better services or fees or because you have an account with a bank that is closing its services.
If you switch to a new account, you can ask the banks to manage the changeover or you can choose to do this yourself and set up your new direct debits and standing orders.
You can compare each bank’s fees and other details to help you decide which the best option for you by using the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) current account comparison.
Ulster Bank and KBC closures
Ulster Bank and KBC Bank are closing their services in Ireland during 2022. If you have an account with these banks, you will be given 6 months' notice to close your account. The Central Bank of Ireland has a Consumer FAQ on KBC and Ulster Bank withdrawals from Ireland.
On 11 November 2022, Ulster Bank started freezing the accounts of customers who have completed 6 months since getting notice that their account would close.
If you are getting a social welfare payment (including Child Benefit) paid into your account, and you have switched accounts, you can update your details on MyWelfare.ie or download a paper form to update your account details by post.
The rules your old bank and new bank must follow
The Central Bank of Ireland has a Code of Conduct on the Switching of Payment Accounts with Payment Service Providers (pdf) that banks must follow. The Switching Code is designed to make it easier for you to switch accounts.
Under the Code, banks must provide you with a switching pack. This contains a description of the current accounts available, as well as a step-by-step guide to what you need to do when switching.
Your new bank must have your new account up and running within 10 days of the agreed switching date.
How do I choose a new bank?
When choosing a current account think about how you use your current account and the features you use.
- Review your banking habits. Check back over your records and count how many times you make each of the following transactions: cash withdrawals, bill payments, debit card purchases, contactless payments, money transfers, in-branch cashier transactions and non-EU transactions.
- Know how you make your transactions. Check whether you make most banking transactions using ATMs, online or in-branch.
- Decide how you want to deal with your bank. You might like dealing with a person in a branch, so choosing a bank you can easily get to will be an important factor. If you prefer the convenience of internet and mobile banking, you should make sure you are happy with the online and mobile services of your chosen bank.
Make sure you understand all the terms, conditions and fees of the account before you sign up. You can check the CCPC’s jargon buster for terms that you do not understand.
Use the CCPC’s current account comparisons to see who provides current accounts in Ireland and check out their fees and other details.
Read more about how to choose a bank account and the types of account fees and transaction fees that might apply.
Preparing to switch
Once you have decided on the new bank that best suits your needs, contact them and ask for a switching pack. This pack contains a step-by-step guide to what you need to do when switching.
Review your existing payments
Look through your bank statements for the last 3 to 6 months and make a list of all your regular payments and what date of the month they are due.
Note any payments that come into your accounts such as your salary, social welfare or any other regular transfers.
Gather your documentation
The switching pack will tell you the list of documents your new bank will need to open your new account. Get your photo ID and proof of address, such as an electricity or gas bill.
If your old bank is leaving the market, you may need to have a copy of previous bank statements if you want to apply for credit in the future. This is important if you are applying for a mortgage. Before closing your account with your old bank, ask for a copy of your old statements either online or through your local branch.
Choose your switch date
The switch date is the date you agree with your new bank to start the switching process. Your new bank must have your new account up and running within 10 days of this switching date.
Pick a date during the month when the activity on your account is low to make your switch.
Making the switch
Once you have received your switching pack from your new bank, you can apply for a new account. If you want, you can manage the switch yourself.
Steps to switching
- You will be asked to complete and sign the forms in the switching pack.
- An account transfer form will be sent by your new bank to your old bank.
- Your old bank will notify any company that you have a direct debit with of your new bank details so they can update their records.
- Your old bank will send your new bank a list of your standing orders and they will set these up to go from your new account.
- Double-check all your direct debits and standing orders have been set up properly and will be paid on time.
- If you have recurring payments on your debit card, such as music streaming, you will need to tell these companies of your new card details.
- Remember to send your new BIC and IBAN to anyone who pays into your account, such as your employer or the Department of Social Protection (DSP). You can update your bank details online for DSP payments.
- You agree a date with your new bank to start the process of switching.
- Stop using any bank card or cheque books on your old account from the agreed switching date.
The bank must have your new account up and running within 10 working days of this switching date.
What happens to the balance in my old account?
The balance in your old account will be transferred to your new account by your old bank as part of the switching process.
You may need to leave enough money in your old account to cover any fees that you owe, or to cover any payments that are due to be taken.
Once the switch is completed, your old bank will send a closing statement to you.
If something goes wrong with the switch
Both your old and new bank must meet the standards and deadlines set out in the Switching Code.
If you are not happy with the switch or something goes wrong, first make a complaint directly to the bank. Banks must have a complaints process in place and there are strict timelines for dealing with your complaint.
If, after following the complaints process, you are still not satisfied with the response, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) (pdf).
If you need extra support
You may need extra support to change your bank account. For example, if you:
- Have difficulty communicating
- Are not able to visit a branch or open an account online
- Need help making decisions
- Have difficulty providing the required documents
You can contact the additional support help line for your bank:
- AIB: 0818 227 056
- Bank of Ireland: 1800 946 146
- KBC Bank: 1800 804 472
- permanent tsb: 0818 818 721
- Ulster Bank Ireland: 1800 656 001
If you prefer, you can call into your local branch for help. You can bring a trusted friend or relative with you if you find it helpful.
More information for customers in vulnerable circumstances is provided by the organisation that represents these banks, the BPFI (Banking & Payments Federation Ireland).
The CCPC has more information on moving banks including advice on choosing a new bank and information on how the switching process works.
The Central Bank of Ireland has a Consumer FAQ on KBC and Ulster Bank withdrawals from Ireland.