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 (name and date of birth) and your address even if you already have an account with the provider. Many banks use the “one plus one” approach, whereby they will look for one item of photo ID and one item which shows proof of address. Examples of documents which may be used to prove your identity are listed below.
Examples of documents you can use for photo ID:
- A valid passport
- A current Irish driving licence
Examples of documents you can use to prove your address:
- 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
More information on valid forms of ID can be found on the Standard Documentation list in the Department of Finance’s Guidelines on the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010. However, the Guidelines state that it is up to individual banks to decide what they will accept as valid identification from you.
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.
If you open an account that pays interest on your money that is returned to Revenue, you may also need to supply your PPS (personal public service) number. If you do not have a PPS number you should ask your bank if they would accept any other documentation e.g. your birth certificate instead. If you do not have a PPS number, the bank may still agree to open the account. You may wish to talk to your bank about this.
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.