Opening a bank account
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Once you have decided on the type of account you want and choose a provider, you will have to fill out an application form. You should ask to keep a copy of your completed form.
Under anti-money laundering law, you need to supply documents to prove your identity and your address even if you already have an account with the provider. You cannot use the same document to prove both your identity and address.
You can prove your identity by producing one of the following:
- A valid passport
- A current Irish driving licence
- A National Age Card (issued by An Garda Siochana)
- An identification form with a photograph signed by a member of An Garda Siochana
- Documents issued by Government departments showing your name
In order for the documents issued by Government departments to be accepted for opening an account, they must be verified by a statement from a person in a position of responsibility. Ask your provider who they will accept as a person in a position of responsibility. Usually it can be a solicitor, accountant, doctor, community employment scheme supervisor or social worker. That person must come with you to the account provider, with proof of their own identity.
You will need one of the following documents with your name on it to prove where you live:
- A current utility bill (such as a gas, electricity, telephone or TV bill)
- A current car or home insurance policy that shows your address
- A document issued by a Government department that shows your address
- A list of your tax credits issued by Revenue
- A current balancing statement or a C2 certificate from the Revenue Commissioners
- A social insurance document that shows your address
- A letter from your employer or licensed employment agency stating that you have recently arrived in Ireland and have started work but cannot yet provide evidence of your Irish address. (You will have to provide evidence of your address at a later date)
If you open an account that pays interest on your money, you also need to supply your PPS (personal public service number). If you do not have a PPS number, you can contact your local social welfare office for details on how to apply for one, or a bank may accept a copy of your birth certificate instead.
Providers must establish your identity if you want to open an account in Ireland but you do not live in Ireland. You should contact the provider directly to ask about the list of documents they will accept from you. You may need verification of your identity from a bank or other financial institution in the country you live in.
If you prefer to do your banking in the branch it makes sense to choose one nearby. If you have little time to get to the bank, choose one that offers a comprehensive telephone and internet banking service.
You should also consider opening hours. Some providers open earlier and close later than others and some open on Saturdays.
If you have a problem opening an account, there are a number of things you can do:
- Ask to speak to a more senior member of staff or the manager of the branch and ask the reason for their refusal
- If you are not happy with the response you get, you can make a formal complaint to the account provider
- If you are still unhappy with the response to your formal complaint, you can complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman. Get more information on making an effective complaint.
You can open an account in the names of more than one person. For instance, you might want to open a joint account with your partner to manage the household expenses or with a family member to pay expenses for a relative.
It is important to be clear about the type of account you need. Ask your provider:
- If you need the approval of both yourself and the other account holder before you can get access to your money, and
- What would happen to the account if one of the holders dies?
Under the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Code, your provider must warn you about the risks involved in having a joint account. Think about whether you want any limits put on the account, for example, needing the signature of all account holders to withdraw money.
For student/children's accounts, each provider has different procedures. Some require that a parent or guardian sign the account opening form for all students under 16 years of age. Elsewhere, parental permission is needed only for those under 13.