Opening a UK Sterling Bank Account From Ireland

The  financial turmoil in Ireland and other parts of the Eurozone  in recent years resulted in some Irish people withdrawing Euros from their Irish savings accounts and transferring it into other currencies – mainly Sterling .
We did see an increase in visitors to this site searching for information about opening a UK bank account from Ireland .  Now  – in 2017  – we are seeing more exchange rate fluctuations as a UK exit from the EU has become reality. There are now many UK residents looking at opening Euro Bank accounts in Ireland because of worries about the decline in value of Sterling.

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 mighteven  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  to begin with.  You could use cash if you have it or do a small electronic transfer from your Irish Bank to the UK Bank. You can send Euros and it will be converted into Sterling by the UK bank. But 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 into the Sterling account.

Most people seem to  assume you would 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

For example – we did a check on the exchange rates offered in early October 2017 and found that on a transfer of €10,000 Euro into Sterling using Bank of Ireland would get you £8584 Pounds but using a specialist currency exchange company (see below) would get you £193 more  (£8777) . So the savings are substantial. .

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.  You can do eveything online or  do it by phone/email/fax .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 based in London and 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 .  They will call you back .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. The rates are usually better on larger amounts.  Don’t just ask for the exchange rate – 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 easily 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 currency exchange companies mentioned above will be able to help you transfer money. 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 are thinking of buying property here.

12 thoughts on “Opening a UK Sterling Bank Account From Ireland

  1. My daughter has just started university in Glasgow Scotland I want to find an economical way of sending her 100 pound sterling every week at the moment I bank with the NIB and they charge me between 135 to 138 euro per transaction, I thought I might open a sterling account would this be better can you please advise
    thanking you
    Imelda

    • Imelda – if you open a sterling account you would still have to transfer your Euros into it . If you can afford it – it might be worth transferring a larger lump sum instead of doing €100 weekly transfers into your daughters account.

  2. Some banks operating in Ireland/ROI offer Sterling Accounts. If Ireland were to leave the Euro would these accounts remain as sterling accounts, or, would all accounts be forced to switch to some new currency?

    • TS – I would be fairly sure that a Sterling A/C in Ireland would remain a Sterling account if Ireland was to leave the Euro. I can’t see the government passing any law to force a conversion of non Euro accounts.

  3. Hello, I’ve been paying for a mortgage on a house in Tyrone in Sterling for 12 years now. Every month I change money from AIB in the south to BOI in the north through online banking. I don’t getted charge any fees for the transaction as long as I don’t need to do it urgently. I’m just getting destroyed by the exchange rate. Always wondered if there is a better, more cost efficient why of doing this.
    Many Thanks.
    Darran

  4. What about Transferwise for payments between Ireland and UK they state that they can save you up to 90% on bank fees

  5. Hi my daughter is going to study in Manchester come September 2015. I am in the
    process of trying to open an account for her in the uk with no success. The banks seem to specify she must be living at the address for her student accommodation now even though i have a letter stating she will be at the address for her first year of university. Can you help in any way to rectify this problem as the grant that is available for her is cut off by the 31st July. The account is purely for the grant and of course supporting my daughter whilst in the uk transfering money to her. I live in southern Ireland. Thanks Cynthia

  6. Myself and my husband both have British Pensions and we would like to put these into a sterling bank account and also add other money from time to time. What is the best way to do this. Thanking you

    • As it says in the article – try one of the banks in Northern Ireland to open a sterling account.

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