How do I switch my current account?

March 8, 2022

With a number of retail banks currently preparing for a phased withdrawal process from the Irish market, customers may be considering their options for switching their current account.

Top Tip

If you are a customer of a bank that’s due to exit, stay on top of any correspondence they send over you the next few months, and keep an eye on their website for updates to the phased withdrawal process.

Whether you’re switching your current account provider out of necessity or by choice, the process can seem daunting. But thanks to the Central Bank Switching Code, your new provider can look after nearly everything for you.

If you are interested in availing of the Central Bank Switching Code, read on to find out how it works. If you would rather close your current account and then open a new account yourself, you can do so; you don’t have to use this switching process.

Step 1: Pick a new provider

The good news is that you have a number of options. Providers have different pricing structures, with some charging a standard quarterly fee and others charging transaction-based fees. You can compare the different fees and charges using our current account Money Tool.

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 Tip

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

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’ve decided to switch and have completed the switcher form, your 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. Still, we would advise you to be proactive in checking that each stage is being completed correctly.

First, any company that you have a direct debit with will be notified by your old provider of your new account details. This notification 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 directly and update those details yourself.

Top Tip

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

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

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

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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