Paying bills

You can use your current account to pay your bills and other payments in a number of ways.

Direct debit

A direct debit is an instruction from you to your bank giving permission to a creditor such as another bank, utility provider or insurance company to collect variable or fixed amounts from your current account.

You should be given advance notice of the collection amounts and dates. You can set up a direct debit as a single or recurring payment and you will need your BIC and IBAN to set one up.

You can cancel a direct debit by writing to both your bank and creditor and instruct them to cancel the direct debit. You may also be able to cancel it using online banking.

If an unauthorised direct debit is taken from your account you can request a refund immediately and get a refund of payments taken up to the previous eight weeks. You can also request a refund for any unauthorised direct debits after eight weeks and within 13 months from the date on which the payment was debited. However, after the eight-week period you may need to provide additional information or proof the transaction was unauthorised.

If you don’t have enough money in your current account to meet your direct debit, it may be returned unpaid and your bank may charge you a penalty or it may be paid and your account could go into unauthorised overdraft and this could also incur fees.
More information on direct debits can be found on the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland’s website and from your own bank.

Top Tip

Irish businesses cannot refuse to accept a valid international IBAN from a bank account set up in any country within the Single Europe Payments Area (SEPA). If they do refuse to accept your SEPA IBAN, you can report it to the Central Bank if the direct debit is to a financial services provider, like a bank or insurance company. You can also report it to the Central Bank if your employer won’t pay your wages into your SEPA IBAN. For business to consumer transactions (for example a utility company, gym etc.) you can report it to the CCPC.

Standing order

A standing order is an instruction from you to your bank to make regular fixed payments from your current account to another account and the amount doesn’t change unless you change it yourself. A standing order can be a convenient way of paying your rent, saving money into a different account or paying for a club membership.

Depending on your bank, you can set up, amend or cancel a standing order in a branch, over the phone, online, in writing or through a mobile app. You can chose for the payment to be made weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or yearly.

If there is not enough money in your current account to pay your standing order, you may be charged a penalty by your bank or it may be paid and your account could go into unauthorised overdraft and this could also incur fees.

You may also be charged for setting up, amending or cancelling a standing order.

Top Tip
Where possible set up payments as standing orders as you have more control over them and can cancel and amend them more easily than a direct debit or recurring payment.


A cheque is a written instruction to your bank to pay a certain amount of money to a person or company. You might use a cheque to pay a credit card or a utility bill. If you write a cheque always make sure there is enough money in your account to pay it, as you may be charged a penalty or it might bounce.

If sending a cheque by post make sure to write ‘Account Payee Only’ diagonally across the front with a line above and below. This can prevent someone else trying to lodge the cheque into their own account.

Cheques can be an expensive and time consuming way to make a payment and it can be easier to use other methods such as:

Online transfer

If you have the details of the person or company you wish to pay, you can transfer money from your account to theirs using online or mobile banking or an in-branch self-service machine. You usually need their BIC and IBAN and possibly the name and address of the receiving bank.

Each bank has their own daily transfer limits and security procedures in place but this can be a convenient way to make one-off payments or to make payments when you are on the move. When doing a transfer this way, always make sure you include a reference, so the person you are paying knows where the money came from.

With some utility providers you can make a payment by calling them on the phone or visiting their website and providing your card details. You might do this to pay your car tax or gas or electricity bill. As you must remember to do this, it can be less convenient than a payment that leaves your account automatically.

Recurring payment on your debit card

For certain repeat payments you may be able to provide your debit card details online or over the phone and the payment will come out on a regular basis such as every month.

You might do this to pay for a monthly movie streaming service, gym membership or waste charges and it can be a quick and convenient way to set up payments. But as this is not a direct debit or standing order it can be more difficult to cancel or stop, and you may need to cancel your debit card if you are having issues with a provider, for example if you wish to stop a cancelled gym membership or subscription service.

Ask your bank about their terms and conditions in relation to this type of payment before setting one up.

Last updated on 27 September 2022

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