Some people in Ireland do not have a bank account because of the cost involved or because they have never opened or used a bank account. These people are financially excluded. A person is considered financially excluded if they don’t have access to services offered by mainstream financial institutions.
Basic bank accounts have been made available as part of the Government’s Strategy for Financial Inclusion and National Payments Plan. A basic bank account is free of charge for everyday banking for at least the first 12 months. It aims to reduce the number of people in Ireland who do not have a bank account and to help them manage their finances. It is now available from most Irish banks – see ‘Where to apply’ below.
The first year is free of charge for everyday banking. After one year, the bank will review your account but you will not be charged maintenance or day-to-day transaction fees for the first five years, providing the total amount of money paid into your account each year is no more than €19,240 (the national minimum wage).
Costs of a basic bank account
Normal, day-to-day services are free with a basic bank account. These include:
- Taking out money at an ATM (cash machine)
- Using a debit card in a shop to pay for something and also 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 (like your electricity or heating)
- 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)
- Putting money into the account (making a lodgement)
- Getting a regular statement that tells you what is in your account and what you have taken out
- Using phone banking and internet banking (there may be phone call or data charges)
You may be charged for using your card while abroad and you cannot get an overdraft or a cheque book with a basic bank account.
Requirements of a basic bank account
- You must be at least 18 years of age (or 16 for AIB)
- You must be legally resident in the EU
- You must not hold another payment/current account with a bank in the Republic of Ireland. If you already have a current account, and your bank has informed you that it will be closed, you are eligible, but you will need to bring proof of this with you when opening a new account.
Where to apply
To open an account you need to visit your local bank branch. 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|
Other organisations also support this initiative, including: