If you are moving to Ireland from the UK or anywhere else outside the Eurozone you will probably need to exchange currency. You might be planning to buy a property in Ireland or may need money available for renting and buying furniture etc.
Opening a Euro Bank Account
Opening a Euro bank account in Ireland is your first step. You will usually need an Irish address to open a bank account there – but some Irish banks may allow you to open an account while you are still living elsewhere.
One option that will work is an online Euro bank account with N26. It is not available to UK residents. However, you can open an account with N26 – as long as you have an Irish address they can send the N26 debit card to. So, if you are planning on moving over to Ireland soon – you could give a relative’s address for now.
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.
N26 is a fully licenced EU bank and all customer funds are covered by the German bank guarantee (up to €100,000).
You cannot pay Sterling into an N26 Account
To transfer your Sterling or US Dollars into Euro in an Irish bank account we recommend that you use a specialist money transfer company.
You might assume that you have to carry out currency transfer through your own bank – but your bank probably won’t give you the best exchange rates and they will probably also charge a fee and maybe commission too.
A specialist foreign exchange company will be a cheaper alternative to your bank . Their exchange rates will usually be better than the major banks – usually by as much as 2 or 3%. Plus they don’t charge commission. On a large transfer that will be a substantial amount of saving.
On paper – the exchange rate figures may look very similar – but a difference in the exchange rate of just 2 pence on a £100,000 Pounds transaction would save you a £2000 Pounds – not bad for a few minutes effort. Why let the banks have it?
Money Transfer Companies
- One UK based company that we recommend that specialises in Foreign Currency Exchange is Currency Solutions. They are regulated and authorised by the UK Financial Services Authority and HM Revenue. Currency Solutions can carry out exchange from Sterling to Euros , Euros to Sterling – as well as most other major currencies. You can make a no obligation enquiry about your currency requirements online here
If you prefer – you can call Currency Solutions on 0044 207 740 0000 or if you are calling from Ireland you can save on phone charges and dial a Dublin number 01 4311344 .
Ask for Ernie Enver – he or his team will be able to help you with all your currency exchange questions. Mention “Irish Links” when you call.
- Currencies Direct also have a London HQ and have been operating since 1996. They have over 500 employees worldwide and transfer around £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.
- Fexco is based in Ireland and is one of Ireland’s biggest financial solutions provider. 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
- FairFx are another London based foreign exchange firm – and they also have an office in Dublin . They have been operating since 2007 and are regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. You can arrange currency money transfers with FairFx online or over the telephone . (Irish number 01 5665546 1566 6546 or UK number (0044) 20 7858200 .
Of course – check with your own bank too – to see what rate they will offer you first. Remember to calculate the total amount after conversion – including any fees they add. If you just compare the basic exchange rates – the difference might look really small and you may feel it’s not worth the hassle. But when you see the total amount you will get after the exchange – the difference may run into several hundreds of pounds – enough to buy some furniture or to cover your removal costs!
With a currency exchange specialist you can also reserve an exchange rate up to a year in advance. So when exchange rates are in your favour – but your money is tied up in a house for example – you can reserve the current exchange rate for up to a year. This takes away the uncertainty of not knowing what the exchange rates will be when you sell your house. (A 10% deposit is typically required.)
Any Irish residents thinking of moving to the UK – or wanting to move some of your Euros into another currency can look at our page about Opening a Sterling Bank Account
Tip – if you are moving to Ireland from the UK don’t close all your old UK bank accounts or hand in your old credit cards when you move.
You should still be able to use them – just inform the bank and credit card company of your new address. They should not have a problem with you moving to or from Ireland. The sterling accounts will come in handy for paying in any sterling you might receive or for paying any remaining UK bills etc. Also – they will be useful for any visits back to the UK or Ireland .
In the short term, it is possible to use your UK cashpoint card at most Irish ATMs to withdraw money from your UK account – but the exchange rates wouldn’t be that good and there will be foreign transaction charges made by your UK bank.(Around 2 or 3%)
Also you can use your UK credit cards to buy goods at most shops in Ireland – with no problem. But again this would only be for short term spending because of the foreign transaction charges.