How to switch your current account

December 1, 2021

With Ulster Bank and KBC preparing to leave the Irish market in the near future, customers may be considering their options for switching their current account. Ulster Bank is no longer taking on new customers, and existing customers are being urged not to leave switching their accounts to the last minute.

Switching your current account can seem daunting, but thanks to the Central Bank Switching Code, your new provider can look after nearly everything for you. There is no obligation on you to use this switching process; if you would rather close your old account and open a new one at your own convenience, then you can do so. 

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you through the switching process, whether you’re switching your current account provider out of necessity or by choice.

Step 1: Pick a new provider

There are several questions you may ask yourself when considering switching accounts. The most pressing of these may be: how much will a bank charge me in maintenance and transaction fees?

The good news is that you have a number of options, with eight current account providers available at present (this includes KBC, which is set to exit the Irish market in the near future). Each of these providers have different pricing structures, with some charging a standard quarterly fee regardless of how many transactions go through the account, and others charging transaction-based fees. You can compare the different fees and charges using our current account Money Tool.

With the popularity of contactless payments on the rise, it is worth noting how much providers are charging for these transactions. Digital services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and mobile banking apps are also important to keep in mind, but you may also wish to have access to a physical branch, or to be able to lodge cash into your account. You should factor this into your decision, especially if you are thinking about opening an account with a  fintech provider.

Top Tips

If you have an existing overdraft facility and would like to keep it, you will need to discuss this with your new provider.

Deposit accounts do not fall under the Central Bank Switching Code. So if you wish to move your deposit account to a new provider, you will need to close the existing one and open a new one yourself.

Once you decide which provider is most suitable for your needs, the next step is to request an in-branch or online switcher pack.

Step 2: Getting ready to switch

Once you make a decision to switch and complete the switcher form, the next decision is choosing the switching date. This is the date agreed between you and your bank for the switching process to start. As required by the switching code, your new provider should assist you in choosing a switching date which coincides with a time when your account activity is at its lowest. For example, you should avoid switching close to when your mortgage/rent is due, or when there are going to be a lot of standing orders or direct debits coming out of your account.

Step 3: Switching

The Switching Code requires that your old provider and new provider work together to make a seamless transition. However, we would advise you to be proactive in checking that each stage is being completed correctly.

First, your old provider will notify any company that you have a direct debit with of your new account details, so that they can update their records. This notification will will only be sent once. However, if you have a direct debit set up with a company outside of Ireland, then you will need to contact the company yourself. Likewise, if you have a recurring payment set up using your debit card e.g. for streaming services, you will need to contact the company and update those details yourself.

Top Tip

You should follow up with your providers to ensure that they have updated their records so your next bill payment does not go unpaid.

Next, your old provider will send your new provider a list of your standing orders. Your new provider will set these up to go out from your new account.

Finally, the balance of your old account will be transferred into your new account. It’s up to you to decide whether to keep the old account open, or to close it.

Top Tip

Don’t forget to let your payroll department or anyone who lodges money into your account know about your new account details.

Depending on timings, you may need to keep some money available in your old account to cover any pending bills which cannot be paid in time for the switch, or to cover any fees and charges associated with your old account.

The switching process can fail if there is too much activity on the account during the switching time frame, so be mindful of using your debit card during that time period.

Step 4: New account up and running

Once you have completed all the switching documents, your new account should be up and running and your new provider will send you a debit card. If you have closed your old bank account, then you should destroy and dispose of your old debit card.

You have now completed your switch!

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