Setting up an Irish Bank Account

By: Patrick
28 Jan, 2019

If you are setting up a business in Ireland then it is advisable to have an Irish bank account. You will be receiving and making payments for this business in the local currency (euros) and it can be very expensive to constantly paying and receiving money internationally, especially if it is in a different currency.

Having a bank account in Ireland is not only cheaper and more cost effective way to run your business in Ireland, it also will help to build credit with your chosen bank in Ireland for future needs such as business loans for expansion.

What do I need to open a bank account?

What you will need to open a bank account in Ireland will depend on a few factors.
1. If you are living in Ireland as a national or EU citizen
2. If you are a foreign national from outside the EU
3. If you are opening a personal account
4. If you are opening a business account
Each of these factors will have an impact on what you will need to open a bank account in Ireland. They will also differ from bank to bank. Some banks will not open accounts for foreign nations from outside of the EU. Others will insist on documents that prove your financial history in your home country, but for the moment we will cover the basic things you will need and how these factors will impact that.

To open most types of personal Irish bank accounts you will need:
• One valid form of photo ID
• A document that acts as a proof of address

If you are an Irish national then your passport or driving licence and a recent utility bill, a recent bank statement or letter from a government department or authority will be more than enough to get you started with opening a bank account.

If you are a foreign national from outside of the EU, then you will need to use your passport as your photographic proof of identity.

Opening a business bank account in Ireland is slightly more complicated. What you will need document wise will depend on the type of account you choose to open. If you are in a partnership, you will need documents from all those in the partnership with a 25% or more share in the business. A limited company will need a mandate form that is signed by all the directors of the company to confirm that they have all agreed to the opening of the bank account.

What you will need to open the account can include:
• Two forms of identification
• A valid bank mandate form
• Signature samples
• Proof of your business location
• Memorandum and Articles of Association
• Certificate of Incorporation
• Evidence of Partnership
• Certificate of Business Name
• Evidence of you banking history
• Opening deposit

The two forms of identification should include the passport of the individual that is opening the account.

The valid bank mandate form we have briefly touched upon in terms of the partnership, but one may be required for other types of businesses when opening an account to prove you have the authority to do so.

Signature samples are not just for the individual opening the account, but for everyone that has the authority to use the account.

Proof of your business location comes in the form of utility bills from the last quarter of business.

The Constitution and the Certificate of Incorporation only apply if you have started a limited company.

The evidence of your banking history is only required if you are a new customer to the bank. They may want proof that you will be a reliable customer and a good risk for them to take on.

The amount the opening deposit has to consist of will depend on the requirements of the bank that you are opening the account with.

Not all banks will want all of this information, but it is best to be as prepared as you can be. Some banks will also want to see the original documents listed above, whilst others will accept copies. If you are planning to start a business or expand your business to Ireland, you may want to consider opening a personal account a few months before you apply for a business account to try and make the process easier.
Generally if you are not known to the bank you will need to take your documents to a branch of the bank at a face-to-face meeting before the account can be opened.

There is one exception to this. In some circumstances, online banking merchants such as paywithfire may open an account without a face to face meeting.

Which bank should I choose?

There are a lot of different options open to you when it comes to opening bank accounts in Ireland. Not only are there a myriad of different banks to choose from but a range of different business accounts on offer to.

If you already have an established banking history with a bank that has international branches (such as HSBC) then it is better to open an account with that bank. This will make the whole process much smoother and easier.

If you don’t have accounts with a bank that has international branches then there are four banks that are well established in Ireland that you may want to consider before any others:
Allied Irish Banks PLC
Bank of Ireland
Permanent TSB
Ulster Bank

Allied Irish Banks PLC
AIB or Allied Irish Banks PLC have business accounts that are divided up to accommodate the age and size of your business. The needs of a start-up business and an established business are very different, and so each of the different accounts are tailored to what you may need at each stage of growing your business. They have a number of different accounts to choose from as well as a large number of branches and a good ATM network available to you, making business banking a lot easier.

Bank of Ireland
The Bank of Ireland is another good choice for business accounts, especially for business that are just starting out. They have a number of bank accounts available that can be opened by a variety of different business types. For sole traders, there is the added bonus that you may be able to open the account online without having to go into the branch for a face-to-face meeting.

Permanent TSB
Not only does Permanent TSB offer a range of business current accounts, they also offer a number of different business finance products which includes loans and overdrafts. They have 92 branches that you can choose to open your account in, but you will need to go into one of these branches in order to open your business account. They do provide you with all the information that you need in regards to documentation on their website here.

Ulster Bank
When it comes to opening business bank accounts with the Ulster Bank, you may want to consider this bank before the others as their accounts are offered fee free for up to two years for new customers. You can begin the application process online and then complete the process with a meeting when you present them with the require documents. They do make the process of opening a bank account easier as they layout the documents they require for the different accounts on their website. What you will need will depend on the type of company you are starting up/running and the account that you want to open.

Scheduling a meeting

In order to open an account, most banks insist on a face-to-face meeting. If you are opening an account with a bank in Ireland that has branches all over the world, then you may be able to schedule the meeting at your local branch of the bank. There are agencies to help you open bank accounts in other countries, but even then, the bank will expect you to attend a face-to-face meeting at one of their branches.

When you are scheduling the meeting it is a good idea to find out exactly what documents and identification is needed in order to open the bank account. They will be able to provide you with a full list of what the bank expects you to bring, whether they need to be original documents or if copies will be accepted, and how much the opening deposit will be.

If you are flying in to open the account, then it is best to schedule the meeting with the bank for a few days after you arrive in the country to allow for transport delays and jetlag.

What happens next?

Once you have presented your documents and the bank has accepted your application, it takes up to ten working days for your bank account to be opened.

You will need to make sure that you have carefully reviewed the banking fees and charges that maintaining a bank account in Ireland can incur. You should also read the terms and conditions on your account very carefully, as they will not only include the fees and charges but also relevant information about your account that may be different to your bank in your home country.

As you may also need to make international money transfers, you should also check the fees that your bank will apply to moving money and making direct payments between accounts with different currencies.

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