Best Place to Buy Dollars in Ireland

Best Place to Buy US Dollars in Ireland 

The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate changes every day – but by comparing the exchange rates offered  on a specific day we can get a pretty accurate indicator of where is probably the best place to buy your US Dollars in Ireland before you travel to the USA.

We compared the cost in Euros of buying  $1000 US Dollars in cash on  March 16th 2016 at 10am.  We did the comparison using the exchange rates published on the websites of selected banks and currency exchange companies.

The best deal we found for buying US Dollars from the five we checked – was from No1 Currency where it would cost €955.57 to get $1000 USD . They also deliver the cash to your home for free.
The worst price we found was from  ICE – which was  €971.72 for pickup at Dublin Airport.

The full list is shown below

No1 Currency   €955.57 (Free Home delivery included)  €957.58
BOI  €960.98
An Post €961.35 €971.72

Using an ATM in the USA  to withdraw dollars using a debit card is another possible option – but it can work out a bit more costly. Avoid taking out small amounts  – because the charges can  be high. See our page about ATM Charges Overseas

One possible drawback of taking a lot dollars in cash – is that you have some left over at the end and you just keep it , give it away or buy stuff you don’t need at the airport. (Duty Free!)

It’s probably best to use a combination of cash and cards when visiting the USA.
We did a similar comparison for The Best Euro to Sterling exchange rates earlier this year – and No1 Currency came out on top in that too.

If you need to exchange larger amounts of currency (Euros to Dollars or Dollars to Euros) you should not be using cash. (For example if you are relocating or buying property). For larger currency transfers you should read our article on where to get the  Best Currency Transfer Rates


If you are planning a trip to the States or anywhere else in the world – travel insurance is recommended. Have a look at our recent article on Travel Insurance Comparison


ATM Charges For Non Euro Cash Withdrawals

If you are travelling to the UK, USA  or any other country that doesn’t use the Euro  – it can be very easy to use your  Irish debit card to withdraw local currency at an ATM .  The exchange rates given by your card provider at the ATM  may be better than you would get by exchanging currency  before you travelled… but how much extra will you end up getting charged by your bank for using the ATM abroad ?

These are the ATM Charges for Non Euro cash withdrawals  for the main Irish banks.

  • Ulster Bank 2% (min €3, max €12), plus foreign exchange fee of 1.5%
    (Tip:  If you use an ATM at  Easy Cash,RBS or NatWest , you will not be charged )
  •  AIB – Currency conversion fee of 2.5% (not capped)  plus commission of 1% (min €2, max €6)
  •  BOI,PTSB and KBC all charge  3.5% (min €3.17, max €11.43)

This is how much  a withdrawal of £200 (Approx €230 Euro) at an ATM in the UK will  cost you

UlsterBank  :  €8.05 (Free at NatWest or RBS)
AIB : €8.05
PTSB: €8.05
KBC €8.05
BOI €8.05

Making a smaller withdrawal of £50 (€60) will cost you :
€3.17 with BOI, KBC and PTSB cards,
€3.50 with AIB
€3.90 with Ulster Bank. (Free at NAtWest / RBS)

With all cards you should avoid making lots of small withdrawals – as this will end up costing you much more in the long run .

For example – a £10 ATM withdrawal (about €11) in the UK would cost you €3.21 with Ulster , €3.17 with BOI KBC  or PTSB and €2.35 with an AIB card
Five withdrawals of £10 would end up costing you as much as €16 – but one £50 withdrawal would cost at most €3.90

These bank charges for ATM withdrawals apply in all non Euro currency countries including USA , Australia, New Zealand , India, Poland, Denmark , Croatia and many more.

(Note:  The charges listed above do not include any of your own bank’s transaction fees which can be typically 20c . See Current Account Fees in Ireland.  Exact tranasaction fees vary from bank to bank and may be waived if certain conditions are met. The transaction fee for withdrawals of  Euro abroad should always be the same as if you were in Ireland)
Some ATMs abroad will also make an extra “usage”  or admin charge – they should display how much (if any)  before you withdraw the cash

Compare these ATM charges with Debit and Credit Card Charges when spending in non Euro currencies.

Sometimes , buying the currency before you travel can work out cheaper if you feel OK carrying a lot of cash with you. If you want to see the best place to buy Sterling or Dollars in Dublin or the rest of Ireland  – take a look at this Comparison of Foreign Currency  Exchange in Ireland


Figures checked March 2017

If you are looking to transfer larger amounts of Euro to Sterling – take a look at our page on how to get the Best Euro Sterling Exchange Rates


Euro Sterling Exchange Rate Update

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate Update : March 13th 2017 9am

1 EUR = 0.8736 GBP        

1 GBP = 1.144 EUR

See Latest  Exchange Rates Here

The Pound fell to an 8 week low against the Euro last Friday after the ECB hinted at a possible interest rate rise .
Today, Sterling’s still weak as the Brexit bill returns to the House of Commons where it’s expected that the amendments added in the House of Lords last week will be removed. If the bill is ready, PM May is likely to trigger Article 50 on Tuesday.

Back in May 2016 the Pound was worth €1.31 but Sterling fell sharply in June 2016 after the decision of the UK to leave the EU. It went as low as €1.10 at one stage . During the latter half of July 2016  it was hovering around the €1.19  . This week GBP is hovering around the €1.14 mark .

Over the past several months Brexit has cast a cloud of uncertainty over the currency markets. This looks unlikely to change anytime soon. The invocation of article 50 will continue to weigh heavily on the pound, particularly if Mrs May continues to push forward with what is now being called a ‘hard Brexit’. However, also on the 15th March  the Dutch go to the polls  and it looks as though they might cause a real upset for the liberal order of Europe.  The French election at the end of April could also affect the Euro.

With so much  uncertainty in the currency markets at the moment –  it could get very stressful for people or businesses planning large Euro / Sterling exchanges in the next few months.   We are likely to be entering a period of heightened volatility which, depending on your timescales and budget, could cause problems if you are not properly prepared.

Using a Currency Broker can remove some of the uncertainty by allowing you to fix an exchange rate as much as 12 months in advance of your transfer.  For good deals on large amounts of currency exchange –  for personal money or  for businesses – see our page on how to get the Best Exchange Rates

You might also be interested in this information about Transferring  Money from Ireland to a UK Bank

If you are just looking to buy some Pounds , Dollars  or other foreign cash for a holiday  – take a look at our page about the best place to buy travel currency in Ireland


euro sterling exchange rate ireland


Comparison of Bank Charges in Ireland

All the main banks in Ireland now have some sort of transaction or admin fees  on current accounts.  But – there are still ways to avoid some of these bank charges.  We have carried out a a comparison of the various current account charges so you can work out which is the cheapest bank for you and how you can still  get Free Banking.  These figures were checked  in March 2017.


EBS Moneymanager – Cheapest Bank Account.
EBS don’t currently charge any admin fees.  This is an account with basic features – ideal for people on lower incomes. (No chequebooks are issued , no overdrafts and contactless payments are not available)

PTSB (Explore Account)
The new PTSB Explore current account has a €12 quarterly account maintenance fee  ( €48 a year)  and 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 – capped at € a month. (You would have to use it 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 – Fee Free is possible
Ulster Bank charge  €4 per month maintenance fee  (€48 a year) – to avoid this fee you need to keep an account  balance of at least €3000 .

AIB  Higher 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 – Impossible to Avoid a €5 quarterly charge
Bank of Ireland now charge all current account holders €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 also 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
Contactless 1c
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 a €6 admin fee per quarter plus 30c for each ATM  transaction and  30 cent per cheque lodged in the quarter.


Comparison of Bank Charges  – based on the following  monthly transactions:

Cheques Lodged 1
Direct Debits/ Standing Orders : 6
Debit Card Purchases :  45
ATM withdrawals  :  12
Counter transactions 2

Assuming the conditions for avoiding bank fees were not met…

AIB would charge the most – at €51.21 a quarter (€204.84 a year)
BOI is close behind at €34.70 per quarter (€138.80 a year)
KBC would charge €17.70 for the quarter (€70.80 a year)
Ulster Bank would charge €12 for the quarter. (€48 a year)
PTSB would charge €7.50 for the quarter (€48 a year) (10c cashback on debit card purchases included)

EBS would charge nothing (there are no fees)

Comparison of banks current account fees IF  the balance is kept above the  relevant  limit.


PTSB   €7.50 (Balance not applicable) Could be lower if you pay bills for  SSE or Sky by Direct Debit

BOI (€3000 limit)  : Fee €5 per quarter or €20 a year

Ulster Bank (€3000 Limit)  :  Zero

KBC (lodge min €2500 a month)  Zero

AIB (€2500 limit) : Fee  – Zero

EBS   €0.00

So – it is still possible to get free banking at EBS  all the time.  At other banks 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 €30 euro a year after DIRT .  So bear that in mind when working out fees.
2)  There is nothing to stop you withdrawing money and relodging it  to comply with a bank’s minimum lodgement rules.

3) Use cashback in shops whe paying with debit cards instead of 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 wiithdrawal.  This is capped at €5 per year and was introduced in 2016 to replace a flat rate stamp duty .
More here about ATM Cashpoint Charges in Ireland