Banking and Finances

Banking can be very stressful, whether you’re moving home or not. Organising finances and transferring funds is enough to turn the most calm and collected person into a bundle of nerves. Thankfully, there are lots of resources available to make things that little bit easier for you.

One of the most important things to organise around your move back to Ireland is your finances. You will need money to secure accommodation and buy essential items while you are looking for work or waiting for your first pay. As soon as you know you will be moving home, you should start saving and consider all of the practicalities that will cost you money – flights, baggage and accommodation to name but a few.

Transferring your finances home

When transferring savings or your current account balance from an international bank it is important to consider the benefits and costs of different transfer options. Fees for international transactions can be expensive so do your research – a call to the international bank is vital.

Bank of Ireland, for example, have foreign exchange specialists to help guide you every step of the way and offer competitive rates on international transfers. Alternatively, transfer operators such as Western Union, MoneyGram and Currency Fair are also a reliable solution and can be found in even the most remote parts of the world.

As of March 2016, coming home from places like the US, UK or Australia means exchange rates are in your favour. At the time of writing, the Euro is nearly on par with the dollar, with €1 costing just over $1.10 – so $5,000 in savings converts to around €4,500. Similarly, the Euro is currently performing poorly against Sterling – £5,000 in savings will convert to over €6,400. Obviously these figures are subject to constant change, you will find up-to-date rates on XE.com.

It’s important to close your overseas bank account if you have no intention of moving back in the future. Having proof that you’ve done this will help you satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition in Ireland and qualify for social welfare benefits. It also means that you aren’t been charged unnecessary fees for keeping your account open.

Banking in Ireland

With a current account, you will have receive a debit card, as well as internet and phone banking services. Most Irish banks now also have banking apps which make it easy to keep on touch of your finances on the move. There are ATMs all over Ireland where you can access your money. Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are also acceptable, which can be handy if you have to wait a while before getting your Irish bank account set up. You can find out more about stamp duty charges on debit and credit cards on the Irish Revenue Office website.

You may notice differences in transferring money between Irish accounts since you returned home. You no longer need the recipient’s account number and sort code. This has been replaced with the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and Business Identifier Code (BIC). The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland website offers a handy IBAN and BIC conversion tool.

As well as are eight different banks, including Bank of Ireland, there are three building societies and 536 credit unions in Ireland.

Setting up a bank account in Ireland

You don’t have to wait to come home to get your personal finances in order. The Bank of Ireland diaspora team have a suite of services to help make coming home easier. They can help set up a current account before you leave or reactive your dormant one.

If you decide to wait until you come home to set up your bank account there are a few things to bear in mind. Most banks do require proof of residence and proof of identification. Remember that you can’t use the same document as proof of both your identity and your address. As a rule of thumb, you can prove your identity with any of the following. These are minimum requirements and the bank can look for further information from you:

• Valid passport or current Irish driving licence
• National Age Card (issued by An Garda Síochána)
• An identification form with a photo signed by a Garda
And the following as evidence of your address:
• Current utility bill (e.g a gas, electricity, telephone or mobile phone bill)
• A document issued by a Government department that shows your address
• You can also provide a letter from your employer or licensed employment agency If you open an account that pays interest on your money, you also need to supply your PPS number.

Managing your money when you return

It can take a while to find your feet financially when you get back to Ireland. The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is a fantastic free, confidential service that can offer advice about how to deal with any outstanding debts, make a realistic budget and maximise your income. You can also take advantage of MABS’ online budgeting tool, which can help you to understand where you’re spending your money and how you can reduce your expenditure.