Switching accounts

You may want to switch your current account because your fees are too high, you are unhappy with the level of service or your current bank doesn’t offer a product you want.
The Central Bank of Ireland has a Switching Code that is designed to make the process as quick and easy as possible. All banks must comply with this code.

A good place to start if you are thinking about switching, is our current account comparisons. You can compare each bank’s fees and other details to help you make a decision. You should also visit each bank’s website and see the locations of their branches, availability of cash tellers and any other services you may want.

How do I switch?

Step 1: Pick a new provider

Your new bank will supply you with a switching pack in branch or on their website. This will have information on all the current accounts they offer, as well as a step-by-step guide to switching. You should also receive:

  • A copy of their terms and conditions
  • A guide to their fees, charges and interest rates
  • An account transfer form
  • Contact details for making an appointment, if it’s needed

If you have an existing overdraft facility and wish to transfer it over, you should discuss this with your new bank as you will need to make an application. If you can’t transfer your existing overdraft, you may need to clear your balance before you can switch to your new bank account.

As you are opening a new account, you will have to provide proof of ID and address and you may also need to provide bank statements from your old account.

Step 2: Getting ready to switch

The switching date is one of the most important things to think about. It is the date agreed between you and your new bank for the switching process to start. Your new bank must have your new account up and running within 10 working days of the agreed switching date.

You have the option to keep your old account open or close it, but if you keep it open you may have to pay fees and stamp duty on your old account and cards. You must let your new bank know which option you choose before you switch.

You should pick a switching date during the month when the activity on your account is low. For example, you should avoid selecting a date on or near when you get paid, when your mortgage or rent payments come out or when there are a lot of direct debits or standing orders.

Complete the forms in the switching pack and make sure to sign all of these as they are used to inform your old bank that you want to switch.

Top Tip
One of the most important parts of the switching process is notifying your employer and anyone else who lodges money into your account, such as social welfare, that you are switching banks. Provide them with your new account details to make sure any future payments will go to your new bank account.
You must complete this step yourself as your new bank can’t do it for you. The switching pack will have sample letters you can use to inform your employer about your new bank details.

You should stop using any bank card or cheque books on your old account from the agreed switching date and make sure that any cheques you have recently issued have cleared. Return any unused cheques to your old bank as you may be entitled to a stamp duty refund.

Step 3: Switching

Your new bank will send your completed switching form to your old bank. Your old bank will then notify any company you have a direct debit with of your new bank details so they can update their records. It is worthwhile also contacting any company you pay by direct debit yourself to ensure they have your new details on file.

If you have direct debits outside Ireland, you will have to notify these providers yourself. Likewise, if you have any recurring payments on your debit card such as music streaming or gym membership you will have to notify these companies of your new card details. These don’t count as direct debits and won’t be moved over to your new account as part of the switching process.

Your old bank will send your new bank a list of your standing orders and they will set these up to go from your new account, but again it is a good idea to double check these have been set up correctly and will be paid on time.

The balance in your old account will be transferred as part of the switching process, but you may need to leave enough money in your old account to cover any fees that you owe. Remember to keep enough money in your old and new accounts to cover any payments that are due to be taken and don’t use your debit card on your old account during this period as it can delay the account closing.

Step 4: New account is up and running

Depending on what option you chose, your new account will be fully operational and your old account will either be closed or left open. You will receive a debit card for your new account and you can destroy the cards for your old account.

If you did not register for internet banking when opening your new account, make sure to do this when the new account is up and running. Online banking is a convenient way to check that all your bills are being paid correctly and your salary is getting paid into your new account.

Other things to think about

If a direct debit or payment is due on the switching date, this can delay the process. A handy way to be sure this doesn’t happen is to go through your bank statements and/or online banking for the previous three or four months and make sure nothing is due to be paid on the date you have picked.

You can also carry out the switching process yourself and do it over a longer time frame than the 10 working days. This may mean you end up paying fees and charges for a few weeks on two accounts and you will need to transfer direct debits and standing orders yourself.

Example
Karen has researched the different current account providers online and used our current account comparisons and has decided to switch her current account from bank A to bank B.

She visits bank B and asks for a switching pack which she takes home and reads. She then completes all the forms and returns to bank B’s branch with her proof of ID and address to open her new account.

Karen has been getting paid on the 25th of each month for a long time and so has set up all her direct debits, standing orders and payments to come out around this date as she knows she will always have the money available to pay them.

She has direct debits set up to pay her gas, electricity and insurance as well as a standing order for her rent and another one for saving with the Credit Union. She has recurring payments on her debit card to pay for Netflix and her gym. All these payments come out around the 25th of each month after pay day.

When discussing her options with the adviser in bank B she decides to set a switching date for the 10th of the following month as she knows nothing is due in or out of her account around this time.

Five days before the switching date Karen stops using her debit card to make contactless payments and buy things in the local shop and instead makes one ATM cash withdrawal that she knows will see her through.

She also gets in touch with the payroll department in work and provides them with her new bank details straight away so she doesn’t miss a salary payment. When she is certain that her new account is fully open, the balance has been transferred and all her payments have been moved over, she destroys her old bank cards securely and replaces it with a new one from bank B.

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