Banking and returning to Ireland

Opening a bank account

If you are returning to Ireland, you may want to open an Irish bank account.

Before you open a bank account, you must show proof of identity (such as a valid passport or driving licence) and proof of address (such a recent utility bill). In general, this means you cannot open an Irish bank account until you have arrived home.

You may not need to open a bank account in Ireland if you already have an account in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) - see 'Using your account from another country' below.

If you need a bank account in Ireland, some banks offer 'non-resident' accounts, which you may be able to open before you return home - see more below.

If you are resident in another European Union (EU) country and you do not have a bank account in Ireland, you can open a 'basic bank account', which you can use for everyday banking.

Using your account from another country

If you are returning to Ireland from another SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) country, you can continue using your bank account from that country, for payments and transfers in euro.

For example, your new employer in Ireland can pay your wages into your German account.

You can also set up direct debits with Irish utility companies using your International Bank Account Number (IBAN) from another SEPA country.

This means you do not need to open a new Irish bank account to be paid by your employer or to pay for utilities.

If you make a euro payment to another EU country, your bank cannot charge you more than it would to make the transaction within your country.

This applies to electronic transactions including:

  • Bank account transfers
  • Debit or credit card payments
  • Direct debits
  • Cash machine (ATM) withdrawals

SEPA countries

SEPA countries include:

  • All countries in the EU
  • The United Kingdom
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Andorra
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City

SEPA, the UK and Brexit

Although the United Kingdom left the European Union in 2020 (often called ‘Brexit’), the UK continues to be part of SEPA.

This means you can continue to use your UK IBAN for payments and transfers in euro. You may be asked to give additional information, such as the BIC code and address of your bank.

My employer or utility company won’t accept my IBAN

Employers and companies in Ireland must accept IBANs from other SEPA countries. This is set out in Article 9 of the SEPA Regulation (pdf), and SI 132/2013.

If your SEPA IBAN is not accepted, this is called ‘IBAN discrimination’. You should make a written complaint to the employer or utility company, advising them of their obligation.

If that does not resolve the issue, you can report it to the responsible authority:

Read our page on how to Complain about utilities.

Non-resident bank accounts

Some banks in Ireland offer ‘non-resident’ accounts. This means you might be able to set up an Irish bank account before you return home.

You still must prove your identity and address (this requirement is set out in anti-money laundering legislation), but the bank may accept a foreign utility bill, for example, if it has been certified by a solicitor or police officer.

Different banks have their own requirements, so you should contact your preferred bank directly for advice.

Basic bank accounts (EU residents only)

If you are resident of any EU country and you do not already have a bank account in Ireland, you can open a basic bank account.

A basic bank account is like a current account, but there are no charges for everyday banking for at least the first year. This means you can withdraw cash from an ATM and use a debit card for payments without any extra cost. However, your debit card may not come with the contactless payment feature.

Read more about basic bank accounts.

More information

You can get more information about your banking options when returning to Ireland from Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

You can also contact any of the banks in Ireland directly to discuss your options.

Commission for Regulation of Utilities

Customer Care Team

P.O. Box 11934
Dublin 24
D24 PXW0

Locall: 1800 404 404
Fax: (01) 4000 850

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Bloom House
Railway Street
Dublin 1
D01 C576

Opening Hours: Lines open Monday-Friday, from 9am - 6pm
Tel: (01) 402 5555 and (01) 402 5500

Central Bank of Ireland

Financial Regulation

New Wapping Street
North Wall Quay
Dublin 1
D01 F7X3

Tel: (01) 224 5800
Locall: 1890 777 777
Fax: (01) 671 6561
Page edited: 16 August 2023