Basic bank accounts
If you do not have a bank current account, you can open a type of account called a basic bank account. A basic bank account is a current account that is free of charge for everyday banking for at least the first year.
You can open a basic bank account with one of the main Irish banks if you are resident in the EU and you do not already have another payment or current account in Ireland.
Services and charges
When you open a basic bank account there are no charges for everyday banking or maintenance fees for the first year.
After a year, the bank will review your account. You can continue to get free banking for up to 5 years in total if the amount paid into your account each year is less than the minimum wage.
Services that are free include:
- Taking out money at an ATM (cash machine)
- Using a debit card in a shop to pay for something and for getting cash-back in a shop
- Using a debit card to pay for something online
- Transferring money to another bank account
- Transferring money to pay a bill and other payments (like your electricity or heating or topping up your mobile)
- Setting up and changing a standing order (this is where you have a regular amount coming out of your account and going into a savings account or to pay bills)
- Setting up a direct debit to automatically make regular payments where the amount can change, for example, for bills
- Putting money into the account (making a lodgement)
- Getting a regular statement that tells you what is in your account, what you have taken out and your transaction history
- Using phone banking and online banking (there are no bank charges but there may be phone call or data charges)
Ask the bank for a list of charges that apply. These may include, for example, charges for replacing a lost card or for using a card abroad.
What restrictions are in place?
Not all current account services are available with a basic account. You cannot get an overdraft or cheque book. Your debit card may not come with the contactless payment feature.
You can only hold one account.
How can I get a basic bank account?
To get a basic bank account, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age (or at least 16 for AIB)
- Be legally resident in the EU
- Not have another current account with a bank in Ireland
If you have a current account but your bank has told you that it will be closed, you can open a basic account. To open an account contact the bank of your choice. The following basic bank accounts are available:
|AIB||Basic Bank Account|
|Ulster Bank||Foundation Account|
|KBC||Basic Current Account|
|Permanent TSB||Basic Payment Account|
|Bank of Ireland||Basic Bank Account|
The EBS Money Manager account is similar to a basic bank account but you can open it if you have another bank account. It does not have fees for everyday banking and does not provide overdrafts or chequebooks.
There is a Guide to the Basic Bank Account available in 9 languages from the Irish Banking Culture Board.