Business Bank Account Charges in Ireland – a Comparison.
If you run a business – as a sole trader or a limited company , you should probably have a business current account with a bank.
Small sole traders or freelancers could probably manage without a business bank account – but it is a good way of keeping the business finances separate from personal accounts and it will be easier to keep records for Revenue. (Most banks will also have terms and conditions that exclude personal accounts from being used for business transactions.)
If your small business doesn’t deal in cash or cheques – just online payments , cards and bank transfers – you might want to consider N26 . This online bank is Fee Free .
We did a comparison of the business bank account charges that are applied by the main Irish banks . Here is a summary of what we found . (Checked May 2018 )
|Quarterly Maintenance Fee||€15.00||€4.50||€14.25||€3.81|
| Automated Transactions
(Debit card purchases,Credits,
Direct Debits, Online Transactions)
|Paper or Counter Transactions||€0.60||€0.39||€0.55||€0.29|
|Cash Lodgements (Coins)||3%||2%||0.6%||2%|
|Cash Lodgements (Notes)||0.6%||0.45%||0.6%||0.5%|
We worked out the total annual bank charges for a small business carrying out the following transactions each week:
Cash Lodgement (notes) : Twice( €500 each time)
Cash Lodgement (coins) : Twice (€100 each time)
Cheques Lodged : 10
Online Transaction :5
Debit Card Purchases : 40
Direct Debits : 5
Automated Credits : 10
Over a year – these are the total charges each of the four banks would make for using the business account as outlined above . (Including the maintenance fees)
Ulster Bank : €1029
AIB : €1269
Some banks will offer a period of fee free banking for new business customers. With BOI, AIB and Ulster this is for 2 years. For larger businesses there will be other charges for things such as making bulk charges by Direct Debit or bulk credits.
As we mentioned earlier – N26 is worth looking at if you are a sole trader / freelancer or similar . They have no fees for business accounts – (but cash or cheques are not accepted.) They have an EU banking licence and funds are covered by the German bank guarantee.
Foreign Currency Transactions for Businesses
Making or receiving payments in currencies other than Euros is another way that the banks make more money from business accounts. They might say there is no charge for non Euro transactions – but the banks will still make significant amounts of profit from the margin on the exchange rates they use.
Some banks will also charge commission and other fees for foreign transactions. For example AIB will charge €6.35 for an incoming Sterling payment over €127.
Setting up an overseas bank account to receive funds can be a hassle and involve significant paperwork. An Irish company called CurrencyFair has a way round this . Businesses can ask customers to pay directly into their CurrencyFair account. By using this as a collection account, you can receive multiple payments in one location, and convert the currency when you’re ready or when the rate suits you – and then send it to your “main” business bank account. The exchange rates they use are close to the interbank rate and their fees are very low. (€3 per transfer). They currently deal with 18 major currencies sucha as US Dollar , Sterling ,Australian Dollar ,Polish Zloty , CAD, CHF, HUF and more. They are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
If your business is regularly making or recieving payments in Sterling , US Dollars or other currencies – you might want to look into using the services of a currency exchange specialist. We have written more about some of these currency exchange companies here
Sole Traders who are trading under their own personal name can just open a business bank account in their name. If a sole trader has a business name – they will need to register the business name and the bank will need the registration number.
Unlike personal accounts – there are no exemptions for business current account charges.
You can find our comparison of the charges on personal current accounts in Ireland.