Most of the banks in Ireland now have some sort of transaction fees or admin charges on current accounts. Some Credit Unions started offering current accounts in October 2019 – but they also have admin charges.
There are still some banks where you can avoid some or all of these bank fees.
Bank of Ireland, made €748 Million profit in 2019 and €935m in 2018. AIB’s profits were just over €1 Billion in 2019 – all probably helped by these current account fees. Both AIB and BOI will be altering the way they charge from November 2020.
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 some charges for non-Euro debit card purchases – which is fairly common now with online shopping in the UK etc) . (See more about Non Euro Charges here)
We have included the online bank N26 – which has been available to Irish residents for more than two years now.
The figures below were checked September 2020.
Summary of Bank Charges in Ireland
N26 have no Admin fees on their current account – and N26 only charge Irish customers for Irish ATM withdrawals if they use them more than 5 times in a month. (Only 3 free withdrawls if N26 is not your “main” account.)
There are no fees with N26 for card spending in foreign currencies.
N26 is an “online-only” bank based in Germany that has been running since 2015. They now have over 5 million customers and have a full banking licence granted by the German regulator and the ECB. The German deposit guarantee scheme covers up to €100,000 in an account.
N26 are also regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for the conduct of business rules in Ireland
There are no N26 branches – so you can’t pay in cash or cheques. You can set up Direct Debits. N26 don’t charge any fees for non-Euro purchases using their debit card. But be careful with ATM usage – there is €2 charge for withdrawals after you use an Irish ATM more than 5 times in a month. Euro ATM withdrawals outside Ireland have no charges and N26 only charge 1.7% fee on Non-Euro cash withdrawals. More on N26 Here
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. Chequebooks are not issued and overdrafts are not allowed .
PTSB (Explore Account)
The PTSB Explore current account has an €18 quarterly account maintenance fee. There are no day to day transaction fees and PTSB also offers cash rewards such as 10c for every time you use your debit card to buy something. This reward is capped at €5 a month. You would need to use the debit card 50 times in a month to get the maximum €5 cashback.
PTSB offer cashback on payments of bills to specific companies by direct debit. More about the PTSB Cashback Current Account here.
Ulster Bank charges a €2 per month admin fee which cannot be avoided.
Plus – if the balance on the account goes below €3000 in any month they will charge transaction fees on top for that month as follows:
ATM withdrawals 35c
Cheque Processing 80c
Debit Card Transaction 20c
Over the Counter and in-branch Machine Transactions 80c
Automated Transactions (Internet/ Direct Debit/ Standing Orders) 20c.
There are rumours that Ulster Bank will be pulling out of Ireland in the next few years.
Allied Irish Bank
AIB charges Admin Charges and Transaction Fees – but both can currently avoided.
They charge an admin fee of €4.50 per quarter. (€18 a year).
AIB also charge the following amounts for transactions :
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders) 20c.
Internet or Phone transaction 20c
ATM withdrawals 35c
Machine Lodgements 35c
Cheque Processing 39c
Debit Card Transaction 20c
Over the Counter Transaction 39c
All the above fees can be avoided at AIB by keeping a minimum of €2500 in the account at all times. But – going below €2500 at any time in a quarter will result in charges being applied for the whole quarter. AIB propose to remove this €2500 clause from November 28th 2020 – so everyone will pay fees. More Details Here
Bank of Ireland (BOI)
BOI currently charges all current account holders an “admin” fee of €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).
Bank of Ireland Transaction fees:- (up to Nov 2020)
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders, Transfers) 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
BOI Fee Changes: From 23 November 2020 , Bank of Ireland will no longer charge for individual transactions on personal accounts. Instead, all current accounts will have a single fee of €6 per month. (€72 a year). More details about Bank of Ireland New Charges
All KBC fees are avoidable. if you lodge at least €2000 in the account each month.
KBC will charge customers who don’t lodge €2000 at any time in the quarter as follows :
A €6 per quarter maintenance fee
30c for each ATM transaction
30 cent per cheque lodged in the quarter.
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 week 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.
Credit Union Current Accounts
Credit Union accounts have a monthly Account Maintenance Fee of €4 charged quarterly ( €12 per quarter). There is also a 50c charge per ATM withdrawal once you go over five in a month. If you use the card for spending outside the Eurozone there is a 2% charge, capped at €12.
Comparison of Bank Charges
Figures are based on the following annual transaction scenario:
Cheques Lodged 12 (1 a month)
Direct Debits/ Standing Orders : 72 (6 a month)
Debit Card Purchases (Euros) : 360 (30 a month)
Debit Card – 12 Non Euro Purchases of €50 equivalent each. (1 a month)
ATM withdrawals: 70 (5 a month)
Counter transactions 24 (2 a month)
Contactless 52 (1 a week)
Sample Annual Bank Charges: – Assuming the conditions for avoiding bank fees were NOT met.
- N26 would charge nothing- 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.)
- PTSB would charge €46.50 over the year (10c reward for debit card purchases included)
- KBC would charge €59.10 for the year
- Credit Union would charge €60
- BOI charges would be €114.30 over the year (€82 from Nov 23rd)
- An Post would charge €138 for the year
- AIB would charge €153.44 over the year.
- Ulster Bank would charge €180.62
Comparison of banks current account fees IF the balance is kept above the relevant limit.
(These figures include the charges for Non Euro Debit card Purchases)
- N26 – Zero charge.(No special conditions to obtain fee-free banking)
- EBS €6 (No conditions)
- KBC (lodge min €2000 a month) €10.50 for the non euro charges.
- AIB (Min €2500 balance) : €28.50 (* This will rise to €153.44 from November 2020)
- BOI (min €3000 balance) : €32 per year (* €82 from Nov 2020)
- Ulster Bank (Min €3000 balance) : €36
- PTSB €46.50 per year (Balance level not applicable) Could be lower if you pay bills for SSE or Sky by Direct Debit
- Credit Union would charge €60
- An Post: €138 . Fees cannot be avoided by keeping a certain amount in the account. But there is the chance of cashback when shopping at Lidl or using SSE for energy. But – in order to earn enough cashback to cover the account fees you would need to spend about €1400 a quarter at Lidl !
The best way of getting FREE banking in Ireland (but without a chequebook) is to have an account at N26 and at EBS.
You can use the EBS account for ATM withdrawals, paying in cash and cheques. You can use the N26 debit card to get Apple Pay, Google Pay and fee-free non-euro purchases.
Salaries can be paid into either account and money transferred between them as required. Having more than one bank account will also reduce the risk of having no access to funds in the situation of a bank or card provider experiencing problems.
Note: There is also a government stamp duty of 12c per ATM cash withdrawal at all banks.
If you only use your debit card for ATM transactions, the stamp duty is capped at €2.50 a year. It is capped at €5 a year if you use your debit card for both purchases and ATM transactions. The government Stamp Duty charge on debit cards is applied in January each year.
More details of Debit Card Stamp Duty
Are Irish Banking Customers being ripped off?
In the UK- bank transaction charges are very rare. Most of the major banks do not charge day to day transaction fees.
Unlike its Irish current account customers – Bank of Ireland’s current account customers in the UK have fee-free banking without any extra conditions – as long as they stay in credit !
AIB also operate current accounts in the UK – and they do not charge any day to day transaction fees or monthly admin fees. They only charge fees when an account is overdrawn.
The banks in Ireland have less competition – with AIB and BOI having a large proportion of all the current accounts. So they know that they can get away with charging their Irish customers. Maybe more people should complain and switch to a bank that does not charge fees.
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More information on Apple Pay availability in Ireland