Opening a bank account? Here are some helpful tips

June 19, 2018

A current account allows you to manage your money and make day to day transactions such as paying bills, transferring money, or having your salary paid to your account. It is important to find an account that suits your needs.

Choosing a current account

When choosing a current account you could start by checking with each bank to see what’s on offer. Our current account Money Tool can help you to compare the costs, features and benefits of each account available from providers in Ireland.

How do you open an account?

Once you have chosen an account you’ll need to complete an application form. Along with the application form, and under anti-money laundering rules, you must also provide proof of your identity and address. Acceptable proof of identity could be your passport, drivers licence or EU National Identity card. A utility bill, statement or local authority document can all be used as proof of address. Unfortunately your photo identification cannot be used to prove both your identity and your address, two forms of identification are required.

You must be legally resident in the EU and some banks may request that applicants be 18 or over. It may be possible to apply online but you will still need to provide your documents. Most banks need hard-copy forms of documentation to be presented in-branch or by post after you have completed the online application.

Are you eligible for a basic payment account?

If you are unemployed, in a difficult financial situation and would struggle to pay costs on a current account, a basic payment account might suit you. Most of the day to day transactions are free on this account and there are no maintenance fees. All banks now offer basic payment accounts and the application process is similar to that of a current account.

You must provide two types of documents proving your identification, be over 18, legally resident in the EU and you can’t hold a current account with any other provider in Ireland.  Your salary cannot exceed the national minimum wage over a 12 month period, with providers requiring documentation of proof of earnings.

Opening a joint account

A joint account is one that is opened in the name of two or more people. Generally application documents will be required for all people. You will need to decide whether the account can be accessed by any account holder – joint current accounts usually allow any of the account holders to access the account so be sure about what access you want each person to have.

Opening a student or teen account

For a teenager opening an account, the rules can vary so it might be no harm to contact your bank to see what’s required. For a student over 16 you need photo identification and proof of address. Proof of address could be a letter on headed paper from the school principal confirming they’re a pupil.

If a pupil is under a certain age, typically 16, but in some cases 14, they will need photo identification, proof of address, and with some providers, consent from a parent or guardian. They may also ask for a parent or guardian to be named on the account, so they would also have to provide proof of identification.

To open a third-level student current account, students also need to complete an application and provide identification and address verification. In some instances banks will look for proof that a student is attending a third-level institution i.e. written confirmation from the college.

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