Most of the main banks in Ireland have some sort of transaction or admin charges on current accounts. The big two banks , AIB and Bank of Ireland made over €1 Billion profit each last year – probably helped by these fees and the large amounts of cash some customers keep in their current accounts to try and avoid fees.
There are a still some banks where you can avoid some or all of these bank charges. We carried out a comparison of current bank account charges in Ireland to help you work out which is the best bank for you if you want to reduce the bank charges you pay.
We have included the online bank N26 – which has been available to Irish residents for more than a year now.
The figures below were checked in November 2018..
Overview of Bank Charges :
EBS (Moneymanager Account)
EBS don’t currently charge any admin fees or transaction fees . This is an account with basic features – it might be ideal for people on lower incomes. (No chequebooks are issued , no overdrafts allowed and contactless payments are not available.)
N26 – have no Admin fees on their current account – and they only charge Irish customers for Euro ATM withdrawals if you use them more than 5 times in a month. There are no fees for card spending in foreign currencies.
N26 is an “online only” bank based in Germany that has operated in several EU countries since 2015. They now have over a million customers and are operating on a European Passport (a banking licence granted by the German regulator and the ECB). They are covered by the German deposit guarantee scheme and are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules.
N26 have no branches – so you can’t pay in cash or cheques. But you can set up Direct Debits . They don’t charge any fees for non Euro purchases using their debit card. But be careful with ATM usage – there is €2 charge for €Euro withdrawals when you use an ATM more than 5 times in a month. (But there is only a 1.7% fee on Non Euro cash withdrawals). More on N26 Here
PTSB (Explore Account)
The PTSB Explore current account has a €12 quarterly account maintenance fee ( €48 a year) but no day to day transaction fees. But – they also offer cash rewards such as 1oc for every time you use your debit card to buy something – But this reward is capped at €5 a month. (You would have to use a debit card 40 times a month to cancel out the account charges.) They also offer cashback on payments of bills to specific companies by direct debit. More about the PTSB Cashback Current Account here.
Ulster Bank charge €12 per quarter maintenance fee (€48 a year) on current accounts – you can avoid this fee if you keep an account balance of at least €3000 . Ulster Bank have no day to day transaction charges.
Admin Charges and Transaction Fees – but they can still be avoided .
AIB charge the following amounts for transactions on current accounts:
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders) 20c.
ATM withdrawals 35c
Machine Lodgements 35c
Cheque Processing 39c
Debit Card Transaction 20c
Over the Counter Transaction 39c
They will also charge an admin fee of €4.50 per quarter. (€18 a year)
All the above fees can be avoided at AIB by keeping a minimum of €2500 in the account at all times . Going below €2500 at any time in a quarter will result in charges being applied for the whole quarter.
Bank of Ireland –
€5 quarterly charge and transaction fees too if you don’t meet certain criteria.
Bank of Ireland charge all current account holders an “admin” €5 per quarter (€20 a year) . This charge cannot be avoided.
On top of this – unless you keep at least €3000 in the account you will be charged transaction fees too. (No fees on Golden Years, Graduate, 3rd Level student or 2nd Level student current accounts)
BOI Transaction fees :-
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders) 10c.
ATM withdrawals 25c
Machine Lodgements 25c
Debit Card Transaction 10c
Internet/Phone Transaction 10c
Over the Counter Transaction 60c
Cheque Processing Fee (per cheque) 60c
KBC Extra – €6 a quarter charge (avoidable).
Any customers who don’t lodge at least €2500 a month will be charged the maintenance fee and also will be charged 30c for each ATM transaction and 30 cent per cheque lodged in the quarter. No other transaction charges.
An Post Smart Account
This account has a €15 a quarter charge (€60 a year) PLUS other charges as follows :
Cash Withdrawal in Branch 50c (1 a month is free)
ATM withdrawals 60c
Lodgements at branch 50c
This is another account that pays rewards – such as 5% back on all Lidl transactions of €25 and above using the debit card.
Comparison of Bank Charges – based on the following monthly transaction scenario:
Cheques Lodged 1
Direct Debits/ Standing Orders : 6
Debit Card Purchases (Euros) : 30
Debit Card – 1 Non Euro Purchase €200 equivalent
ATM withdrawals : 5
Counter transactions 2
Assuming the conditions for avoiding bank fees were not met…
- N26 would charge € zero (But you wouldn’t be able to do any counter transactions or cheque lodgements with N26)
- EBS would charge €6 for the non euro purchases (€24 a year)
- PTSB would charge €13.50 for the quarter (€54 a year) (10c cashback on debit card purchases included)
- KBC would charge €21.90 for the quarter (€87.60 a year)
- Ulster Bank would charge €24 for the quarter. (€96 a year)
- BOI charges would be €36.95 per quarter (€147.80 a year
- An Post would charge €43.50 per quarter.(€174 a year)
- AIB would charge the most – at €45.36 a quarter (€181.44 a year)
Comparison of banks quarterly current account fees IF the balance is kept above the relevant limit.
(Not including Non Euro Purchases)
N26 – no charge .(No special conditions to obtain fee free banking)
EBS No charge (No conditions)
AIB (Min €2500 balance) : Fee – Zero
KBC (lodge min €2500 a month) Zero
Ulster Bank (Min €3000 balance) : Zero
An Post: fees cannot be avoided by keeping a certain amount in the account. They would charge €25.50 per quarter for the above transactions. – But there is the chance of cashback if you shop at Lidl or use SSE for energy. But you would need to spend €800 a quarter at Lidl to get enough cashback to cover the fees.
PTSB €3 per quarter (Balance level not applicable) Could be lower if you pay bills for SSE or Sky by Direct Debit
BOI (min €3000 balance) : Still charge a fee of €5 per quarter .
So it is still possible to get free banking at EBS all the time.
With N26 you will only pay a charge if you use an ATM more than 5 times a month … (so just spend with the debit card instead. Who uses cash these days ? 🙂
Tip: You could have an account at each bank (EBS and N26) if you want – and use the N26 card to get the Apple Pay and contactless features and free non euro purchases while using the EBS account for the standard stuff.
At PTSB , AIB , KBC and Ulster Bank – you can also avoid fees – but only if you can manage to lodge a certain amount or keep your account balance above their limits . (or spend with your debit card over 40 times a month at PTSB.)
Be careful with AIB because a fall in your balance to just €2499 for just one day could end up costing you over €50 for one quarter. (based on sample transactions above).
1) Keeping €3000 in an account just to avoid fees – means you could be losing out on possible interest of about €25 euro a year after DIRT . So bear that in mind when working out fees.
2) There is nothing to stop you withdrawing money and re-lodging it to comply with a bank’s minimum lodgement rules.
3) If you need cash – use cashback when available in shops when paying with debit cards instead of using ATMs to reduce transaction fees . (Not relevant for PTSB Explore customers who should use their debit card as much as possible.)
Note: There is also a government stamp duty of 12c per ATM cash withdrawal. This charge is capped at €2.50 a year if you only use your debit card for ATM transactions and capped at €5 a year if you use your debit card for both purchases and ATM transactions. Government Stamp Duty charge on debit cards is applied in January each year.
More here about ATM Cashpoint Charges in Ireland
More information on Apple Pay availability in Ireland