In May 2018 there were widespread IT issues with Visa card payments in Ireland and other parts of Europe.
In recent years we have also seen major IT problems with Ulster Bank here in Ireland. These outages resulted in thousands of people being unable to make payments or get cash from their accounts for several days.
You should no longer rely on having just one card payment method.
As we seem to be moving closer towards a cashless society – it probably makes sense to try and have at least two different methods of card payment. If one card fails – you should still be able to pay for goods or services with the other.
The two dominant card payment systems worldwide are VISA and MASTERCARD. It makes sense to try and have at least one card backed by each of these. Ideally the cards should also be from different banks to cover you in cases of bank-specific IT problems. The majority of banking customers in Ireland have a Visa debit card.
Cash is an alternative – but these days, many people just don’t bother with cash anymore. Of course, the majority of people probably get their cash from an ATM using their card. Therefore if a card system fails you might not be able to get cash out anyway.
We have listed below the main Debit card providers showing which ones provide Visa or Mastercard in Ireland
Banks that Issue Visa Debit Cards in Ireland
- AIB Debit Card – Visa
- BOI Debit card – Visa
- PTSB Debit Card – Visa
- Ulster Debit card – Visa
Banks that Issue Mastercard Debit Cards in Ireland
- An Post Debit Card – Mastercard
- EBS Debit Card – Mastercard
- KBC Debit Card – Mastercard
- N26 Debit Card – Mastercard
Having Two Bank Accounts
It might seem a bit extreme to have two current accounts just in case there are problems with one of them – especially if that means account fees on both of them. But there are still some free accounts available where you aren’t forced to pay in large amounts each month. You will be charged the €5 a year Stamp Duty on any debit cards .
The only cards listed above that can be used without current account fees are N26 and EBS . Both are Mastercard cards – so if your main current account has a Visa debit card – it might be a good idea to open an account with one of these and try to keep a few hundred Euro in it.
More here on using N26 and EBS to get Free Banking in Ireland
The N26 account is operated online and the N26 debit card has extra advantages – such as no extra fees or charges when spending in foreign currencies. (Other banks typically charge around 2% or 3% – more here about those bank charges)
Revolut is not a bank , it is a “global money app” – and it comes with a Mastercard Debit card. It is a good option to use as an alternative card to your main bank . You can load money onto Revolut with a bank transfer from your main bank or by debit card . There are no annual fees and no fees on foreign currency spending.
More about Revolut here
Visa credit cards are currently only provided by AIB and PTSB in Ireland. All the other Irish banks supply Mastercard credit cards.
See our page on Credit Card Offers and Rates here.