How to switch your current account
Fed up with your bank's pesky fees and charges for managing your own money? Then switch current account and save yourself a pretty penny and keep more of your hard-earned cash in your own pocket.
We're notoriously bad at switching banking products in Ireland so it's no wonder mortgage rates and banking fees and charges here are so high.
But there's still good value to be found if you're prepared to switch.
If you're sick of opening up your current account fees and charges statement every quarter to see all the money that's going to be taken from your account, then look at switching current account provider as there's never been more choice.
How do I switch current account?
There are a few steps involved in switching bank account.
Firstly, it's important to note that if you have an overdraft with your existing bank you’ll need to make sure that your new bank is happy to provide you with one too. Otherwise you’ll need to clear your current overdraft before switching.
Choose a new provider. Use our handy current account comparison service to quickly compare the different account features and charges from all of Ireland’s account providers. Alternatively, check out our more in-depth article on how all the current accounts available in Ireland compare to see which one is right for you. Some providers do not offer overdrafts while some do not offer mobile payments like Apple Pay or Google Pay. So you need to carefully consider what it is you value in a current account.
Contact your new provider. Contact your new bank to let them know you want to switch your current account to them. Your new bank will then supply you with a switching pack which will contain all the information about your new bank that you'll need.
Pick a switch date. You’ll need to agree a date with your new bank for the switching process to start – this is called the switch date. This date should be a time during the month when there’s the least amount of activity on your account so that you don’t miss any direct debits or payments (for most people this is 10 to 20 days after payday). You’ll need to provide proof of ID and proof of address to your new bank as well.
Complete and return an account transfer form. Your new bank will ask you to complete an account transfer form. They’ll then send this form to your old bank, which will supply details of your direct debits and standing orders to your new bank, to help make the switching process smoother. Any money in your old account will be transferred over to your new account for you. At this stage you’ll need to confirm with your current bank whether you want to fully close your account or still keep it open.
- Downtime. Between your old account being closed and your new bank account being activated, there might be a period of two or three days when you'll have no account. Your new provider will advise you of this. So remember to take out some cash if you'll need it.
- Start using your new account. Your new account will be up and running within 10 working days of the switch date you selected and your bank will send you out your new debit card. When you get your new card, download your new account provider's mobile app and register for their online banking.
- Update your employer. Update your employer or anyone else who pays money into your account (such as Social Welfare) with your new bank account details as your new bank cannot do this for you.
- Online shopping. If you're a fan of online shopping, your old card details will be stored with several sites. Remember to update your banking details with any retailers you shop with regularly online.
Many payments these days for things like Netflix, gym membership, and Spotify aren't Direct Debits - they're what's called recurring payments, which are linked to your debit card number (as opposed to your bank account number).
These types of payments fall outside of the switching code so this means it is up to you to change these yourself.
What’s the best value current account?
The best value current account for you will depend on several factors such as how much money you’ll deposit into your account each month, how often you’ll use your account and whether you prefer to make payments in cash or by card.
Whether you want access to features like an overdraft facility and mobile payments like Apple and Google Pay will also need to be factored into your decision too.
With digital banking and mobile payments becoming increasingly popular among consumers, you may want to consider what banks have the best apps and online offerings.
If you do all of your banking online and prefer card payments over cash then a digital alternative would likely suit your needs best. We carried out an in-depth comparison of the two most popular digital banks N26 and Revolut in this blog post.
You can learn about the features and benefits of all the different current accounts on offer in this podcast where we take a deep dive into current accounts.
Use our handy current account comparison service to quickly compare the different account features and charges from all of Ireland’s providers.
How much can I save by switching current account?
If you're a medium account user who makes two contactless transactions a day, 10 chip and pin transactions and five ATM withdrawals a month, and has 15 direct debits, standing orders and/or other types of payments presented to your account a month, you could save well over €100 a year in fees by switching to the cheapest current account on the market. More if you use your account more often.
Switching is easier than you'd think
Perceptions about switching banks are largely negative with a lot of people worried that the process will be difficult, that they’ll lose direct debits, miss mortgage payments and will have to wait a long time to get new cards.
Despite what you might think, switching banks is actually a relatively easy process thanks to The Central Bank’s Switching Code, which ensures that switches have to be completed by the bank within a 10-day time frame; and this includes the transfer of all direct debits and standing orders.
Take a look at our other personal finance guides
Did you find this guide useful? If so, don’t forget to check out our full range of personal finance guides. Consider taking a look at the following:
- Learn all about how to apply for a tax refund in this guide.
- Do you shop online frequently? Make sure you’re shopping online safely and securely with this guide.
- In this guide we give you the lowdown on all the basics you need to know about pensions.