Basic bank accounts

A basic bank account is a type of current account where you don’t pay any charges for everyday banking for the first year. To avail of a basic bank account you will need to meet certain criteria.

You can open a basic account if:

  • You don’t have another payment/current account with a bank in Ireland.
  • You are legally resident in the EU.
  • You are over 18 years of age (16 with AIB).
  • You are able to provide proof of ID and address and meet the banks criteria for opening an account.

There are no charges for day-to-day banking, but there may still be charges for things like replacing your card, bank drafts, international services and missed payments. Make sure to discuss all of these with the bank before opening the account.

A basic bank account comes with a debit card, although it may not have the contactless payment feature. The debit card can be used at ATMs, in store or online. You can also set up direct debits and standing orders and register for online banking. Depending on the bank, you can lodge money into the account by direct transfer or cash lodgement.

The main difference between a basic account and other types of current accounts is that you cannot get a cheque book or an overdraft with a basic account.

For the first 12 months there are no maintenance fees or charges for day-to-day banking. After 12 months, your bank will review your account to see if you are still eligible for free banking. If the total amount lodged into the account within the year is less than the national minimum wage, you will continue to get fee-free banking.

If you go over this limit, or if you have had a basic account for five years, the account will be converted to a normal current account and you will pay fees and charges.

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