Know your rights: Basic bank account

I am on a low income and I need to open a bank account. Some banks offer free accounts to people who are a certain age or lodge a certain amount of money but I don’t qualify. Is there another option?

You can open a type of account called a basic bank account.

A basic bank account is a current account that has no maintenance fees or charges for everyday banking for at least one year.

To get a basic bank account you must:

  • Not have another payment or current account with a bank in Ireland
  • Be legally resident in the EU
  • Be over 18 years of age (for most banks)
  • Provide proof of identity and address and meet the bank’s criteria for opening an account

A basic bank account comes with a debit card. You can also set up direct debits and standing orders and register for online banking.

There are no charges for day-to-day banking, but there may still be charges for things like replacing your debit card, bank drafts, international services and missed payments. You should discuss this with the bank before opening your account.

You cannot get a cheque book or an overdraft with a basic account.

At the end of your first year with a basic bank account, your bank will review your account. If the total amount lodged into the account within the year is less than the national minimum wage, you will continue to get fee-free banking for a limited time.

If you go over this limit, or if you have had a basic account for a total of 5 years, the account will be converted to a normal current account and you will pay fees and charges.

If you want to open a basic bank account, you should contact one of the main banks to find out how to apply.

You can find more information about managing your money and opening a bank account on the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) website

You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on