The financial turmoil in Ireland and other parts of the Eurozone in recent years resulted in many Irish people withdrawing Euros from their Irish savings accounts and transferring it into other currencies – mainly Sterling .
We have seen an increase in visitors to this site searching for information about opening a UK bank account from Ireland . Now – at the start of 2017 – we are seeing more exchange rate fluctuations as a UK exit from the EU has become reality.
If you do want to open a Sterling bank account in the UK while you are living in Ireland – it should be fairly straightforward.
Many of the banks in Northern Ireland allow residents of the Republic of Ireland to open a Sterling Bank Account . You can ring around the various banks that are the easiest for you to get to – and arrange an appointment (Try Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish ). They might let you open an account through the post without having to travel in person.
It is probably best to open a Sterling account with a small amount of sterling cash to begin with. You could also do a small electronic transfer from your Irish Bank to the UK Bank. Don’t go drawing out hundreds of Pounds in cash at an ATM.
Once you have the UK sterling account opened you can then arrange for any larger currency exchange and transfers from your Irish Euro account to the Sterling account.
Most people seem to assume you have to do the transfers through your own bank in Ireland – but you don’t have to use them. The exchange rate from the banks will not be the best you will get – and they may also charge some additional fees or commissions too.
There are specialist currency exchange brokers that you can use – and their exchange rates will typically be better than the banks. Even a difference in the exchange rate of just 1 cent will save you €1000 on a €100,000 Euros transaction .
Transfermate is a global currency broker – they are based in Ireland and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. They also provide an international money transfer service. They tend to deal with amounts over €5000.
You can call them on 01 6353776 or register online at Transfermate.com
Another company we recommend that specialises in Foreign Currency Exchange is Currency Solutions. They are regulated and authorised by the UK Financial Services Authority and HM Revenue. They can carry out currency transfers from Euros to Sterling as well as most other major currencies. You can make a no obligation enquiry about your currency requirements online here
If you prefer – you can telephone the Money Guide Ireland contact: Ernie Enver direct on their Irish number 01 431 1344 or UK number 0044 207 740 0000 . Mention MoneyGuideIreland.com when you call.
If you need to transfer smaller amounts of money you could use companies such as CurrencyFair or TransferWise . These companies are “peer to peer” – they cut out the banks and for a small fee allow you to get exchange rates that are pretty close to the interbank rates.
Of course – always check with your own bank first to see what exchange rate they will offer you so you can be sure you really are getting a better deal by not using the bank.
Get the bank to confirm exactly how much Sterling you will get after conversion – and after any fees have been deducted. If you just compare the raw exchange rates – the difference in those figures may look insignificant and you may feel it’s not worth the bit of extra hassle. But when you see the difference in the total amount you will get after the exchange – it could amount to hundreds of pounds. Not bad for a couple of phone calls and a bit of online form filling.
If you are worried about the Euro weakening even further against Sterling – you can reserve an exchange rate up to a year in advance. This is useful when money is tied up in a fixed rate account or in a property.
With the UK leaving the Euro – there may now be some people who are thinking of moving some of their Sterling savings into Euros. All the companies mentioned above will be able to help you. Opening a Euro account in Ireland will probably need a personal visit to a branch . With cheap Ryanair flights you could be in and out of Dublin on the same day. Ring around some of the major Irish banks to see if they will allow a UK resident to open an account in Ireland. They will be more likely to deal with you if you say you plan to move to Ireland or at least buy property here.