Should Banks be asking for PPS Numbers ?

When you open a bank account in Ireland you are routinely asked to provide a PPS number – but do you have to provide one?

The PPSN is the number used to identify taxpayers in Ireland . (Full name is the Personal Public Service Number ),
This number is issued by the Department of Social Protection but is also used by the Revenue Commissioners to identify taxpayers. But Should Banks be asking for PPS Numbers ?
Some banks will ask for a TIN – (Tax Identification Number) – in Ireland this is the PPS number. In the UK it will be the National Insurance Number.

Updated Spring 2024

Banks in Ireland

Savings Accounts

Regulation 7 of the “Return of Payments (Banks, Building Societies, Credit Unions and Savings Banks) Regulations 2008 ” sets out the need for financial institutions to make “all reasonable efforts” to seek a tax reference number ( PPSN) from any customer who opens a new account.
The PPSN is used to report interest payments to Revenue – so all banks should be asking for a PPSN if you have a savings account with them.

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Current Accounts

Banks in Ireland have an obligation to check the identity of people opening accounts – and although proof of a PPS number is a good proof of identity, other forms of identity can be used.

Some banks seem to refer to the Return of Payments Regulations – mentioned above. But that is only relevant on accounts that pay interest.
Some Irish banks do ask Irish residents for a PPSN to open a current account – but you can decline to give it.
However – the bank would probably have the right to refuse to open an account for you if they have concerns about your identity.

No one should really be worried about a bank seeing their PPSN – unless they might have something to hide from the taxman!

If you are not resident in Ireland – then Irish banks are required to collect your tax id from the country you live in.

Take a look at our Comparison of Current Bank Account Fees in Ireland

Overseas Bank Accounts

If you are resident in Ireland and have a bank account outside Ireland – the bank is required by law to obtain your PPS number.

This will include online bank N26 (Germany) and Revolut (Lithuania)

Also – if you have an Irish bank account but are a resident of another country, the bank will need your Tax id from the country you live in. (This may be common for people living in Northern Ireland who have a bank account in the Republic).

Why do Overseas Banks need your PPSN?

The need for your PPSN is to satisfy the requirements of the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS) .
This is the OECD’s automatic exchange of information framework that was enacted in Irish domestic tax law around 2017. Ireland is one of over 100 countries that have signed up to CRS.

Under CRS – overseas bank account details have to be shared with Irish Revenue on an annual basis. This is to help cut down on tax evasion and money laundering.
The account information that is shared with Revenue under CRS is : name, address, date of birth, place of birth, account number, country of residence, Tax Identification Number (PPSN for Ireland), account balance and interest payments.

Many thousands of Irish residents use payment apps such as Revolut (based in Lithuania) or online bank accounts such as N26 (Germany) or Bunq (Netherlands) .

If you have an account with an overseas financial institution – you can expect to be asked for your Irish Tax ID Number – which is your PPS number. Refusal to provide it could put you at risk of having your account frozen or closed.

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Mortgages and Credit Cards

If you are borrowing money – (Mortgage , loan , credit card) –  all lenders in Ireland are required by law to collect a relevant customer identifier in order to perform a Central Credit Register credit enquiry application .
In the case of an individual – this will be the PPSN. For a business, it will be the CRO number.

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