Paying bills

You can use your bank account to pay for goods and services, or to pay your bills, by using:

Direct debit

The introduction of the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) in March 2014 brought some changes to direct debits. Direct debits are now collected under the SEPA direct debit scheme. A direct debit is an instruction from you to your bank or building society giving permission to a creditor such as another bank, utility company (gas/electricity), phone company to collect variable or fixed amounts from your account. In general, you, the debtor are given advance notice of the collection amounts and dates. The payment is collected by the creditor’s bank.

Most banks charge a penalty if there is not enough money in your account to meet the direct debit. See our current account comparison to compare fees and charges.

You can cancel a SEPA direct debit by writing to both your bank and your creditor (e.g. another bank, utility company, phone company etc.) to inform them of the cancellation. You should keep a copy of the cancellation in case of a dispute.

What information should I provide in order to cancel a direct debit?

When you contact your bank you will need to provide your account details (IBAN and BIC Numbers), the name of the creditor and any other details relevant to the SEPA direct debit.

You can find out more about the SEPA direct debit scheme in Ireland, by visiting the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) website.

Standing order

With a standing order you instruct your bank to make regular fixed payments from your account to another account. You might pay ongoing expenses in this way, for example, your rent. The amount does not change unless you ask your bank to change it.

You instruct your bank about how much is to be paid and when, for example, on a certain date every month, or once a week. Once you have set up a standing order on your account, you can be sure that your regular payments will be made as long as you have money in your account to meet those payments. If there is not enough money in your account, your bank may charge a penalty.

To cancel or change a standing order, you should contact your bank.   There may be a charge for setting up or changing a standing order.


A cheque is a written instruction to your bank to pay a certain amount of money from your account to the person or company you have made the cheque out to.


All cheques lodged must go through a cheque clearing cycle, which is monitored by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).  If you receive money by cheque and lodge it to your bank account, it can take 3 to 5 working days to clear. The clearing process is normally shorter when your account is with the same bank as the person who wrote the cheque. Clearing usually takes the longest when the cheque is from a bank outside Ireland.  Once you lodge a cheque to your account, you may see the lodgement on your statement immediately, but you may not be able to withdraw the money until the cheque has cleared.

If you write a cheque make sure that there is always enough money in your account to pay it. Otherwise you may be charged a penalty fee, or the bank may refuse to pay out and your cheque will bounce.

If you are sending a cheque in the post, you should make sure it is crossed, to avoid someone else (not the person you made it out to) cashing the cheque.

A cheque is considered out-of-date 6 months after the date shown on the cheque.

Clearing cheques abroad

If you are sending a cheque abroad, it may take several weeks to clear. Electronic credit transfer is a faster method of sending a payment abroad. You can use your credit card or an online account such as paypal for these transactions.

Cancelling a cheque

A cheque can only be cancelled by the bank that operates the account that the cheque is written against. To cancel a cheque you wrote, you must notify your bank in writing, giving them your account number and the cheque number.

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