If you are moving to Ireland or are buying a holiday home in Ireland – you will need to open a bank account in Ireland in Euros that you can use to pay bills and set up direct debits.
Most of the “bricks and mortar” banks in Ireland will require you to be living in Ireland before you can open a bank account with them. Some might let you open an account if you have proof of an Irish address.
It is probably best to ring around some of the banks to check (Try Bank of Ireland, KBC , PTSB, Allied Irish ).
N26 Bank Account in Ireland
Another option – is to open an online Euro bank account with N26.
N26 is a fully online bank that is used by around 200,000 people in Ireland. Based in Germany , N26 is a fully authorised bank and funds of up to €100,000 are covered by the German bank guarantee.
They have no branches and don’t deal with cash or cheques.
However, you can open an account with N26 – as long as you have an Irish address they can send your Visa debit card too. So, if you are planning on moving over to Ireland soon – you could give a relative’s address. You can’t use the N26 account until you activate the debit card by using it at an ATM.
You don’t need proof that you live in Ireland to open an N26 account – but an Irish passport will help.
We recommend opening the new account with a small amount of Sterling in cash to begin with.
Once you have a Euro account set up , you can arrange for the currency exchange and transfer from your UK account to the Euro bank account. You might assume you have to do this currency exchange through your own bank in the UK – but you don’t have to use your bank.
There are some specialist currency exchange brokers that you can use – and their exchange rates will usually be better than the banks. A difference in the exchange rate of just 1 cent in the Euro on a €100,000 Euros transaction would save you a £1000 Euros. Not bad for a couple of phone calls and a bit of form filling. You send them Sterling from your UK bank account and they convert it to Euros and send that to your Euro bank account.
Money Transfer Companies
A currency exchange company in the UK that we recommend is called Currency Solutions. They are regulated and authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. They can carry out currency transfers from Sterling to Euros as well as any other major currencies. You can make a no-obligation enquiry about your currency requirements at the Currency Solutions Website
If you prefer – you can telephone Currency Solutions on (UK) 0044 207 740 0000 .
They also have an Irish number – 01 4311344.
The Currency Solutions team will be able to help you with all your currency exchange questions. Mention “Irish Links” website when you call.
Fexco is based in Ireland and is one of Ireland’s biggest financial solutions providers. Fexco can exchange your Pounds into Euros and transfer the money to an Irish bank account (yours or someone else’s) . Many other currencies are also available.
Fexco is authorised as a payment services provider by the Central Bank of Ireland and is also regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.
You can get a quick quote for currency transfers online at the Fexco Website
Currencies Direct have an office in Cork and a London HQ. They have been operating since 1996 and transfer more than £7.5 billion annually. Currencies Direct Ltd is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In Europe, they are also authorised by the Bank of Spain to operate as an Electronic Money Institution.
OFX is another company that can offer foreign exchange services across 55 different currencies. OFX now has over 400 staff in eight offices across the world, including London and Dublin.
OFX is authorized in the UK by the FCA and in Ireland and the EU by the Central Bank of Ireland .
They don’t charge transfer fees and the minimum transfer amount is just €100.
You can register with OFX here
Of course – always check with your own bank first to see what exchange rate they will offer you.
Get the bank to confirm how much Euro you will get after the conversion – after all fees have been deducted. If you just compare the raw exchange rates – the difference in those figures may look really small and you may feel it’s not worth the bit of extra hassle. But when you see the difference in the total amount you will get after the exchange – it could amount to several hundreds of pounds.
If you are worried about Sterling weakening against the Euro – you can reserve an exchange rate up to a year in advance. So – when rates are in your favour – but your money is tied up in a fixed rate account or in property – you can reserve the rate and make the exchange weeks or months in the future .