Opening a bank account is a bit of a rite of passage – a step along your route to adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it. This might be for your SUSI payment, first job, or may just be because it’s one of the usual things you do as you get older.
The process of opening a bank account should be straightforward; turn up at a bank, fill out some forms, give them your money. Unfortunately it’s not that easy! Due to a crackdown on money laundering, banks now have a responsibility to make sure that people opening up bank accounts are really who they say they are.
Each year a number of people get in touch who are struggling to open a bank account because they don’t have photo ID or letters with their home address that the bank will accept. So this post aims to make a couple of suggestions that might help when it is time to open your first bank account.
What do you need to open a Bank Account?
To open a new bank account you need Photo ID, like a passport, driver license or an EU identity card. Some might accept the Age Card. You will also need proof of address. This means a letter or something official sent to your house that has your name and your address on it. This could be a bill for electricity, gas etc. A Credit Union statement or Post Office book might do. A letter from the Revenue or something from the social welfare office may also be ok. A mobile phone contract won’t do.
Each bank should be able to give you list of what documents they will accept when it comes to opening your account. They may be slightly different in each bank, so it’s worth checking before you go. We found that their lists weren’t very easy to find online, so we’ve found lists from the main banks so you don’t have to look.
If you will need to open one in the coming months or even further along, prepare now. Keep formal letters/ correspondence with your name and address on it; if you can afford it, get a passport as ID.
So what do you do if you have no Photo ID?
Proof of Identity for Financial Institutions: ML10 Form – this form is only to be used if you do not have a current passport or driving license (Irish or UK). The ML10 form is stamped by the Gardai and is not seen as proof of ID for any other setting other than proof of identity for Financial Institutions (e.g. Credit Union) – this form not accepted from Oct 2022.
If you are over 18, you should look at getting an Age Card – Apply online, costs €10. They send out an application form within 3 working days based on the info you have given them online. You get your passport size photos taken in a photo booth or pharmacy, you fill in the form and take all with you – proof of address too – to the Garda Station and they send off the photos and form for printing and you receive your Age card ID back within 10 working days.
Although the Garda website state the Age Card is not an identity card many of the Banks will accept it as one.
And if you don’t have a proof of address?
We frequently hear, “I live with my parents so I have no bills or official letters in my name sent to my address.”
It is not unusual for a young person not to have bills in their name, nor to have worked or have had any official dealings with the government yet. You might have had something with your PPS card, or when applying for a medical card, but if you were not expecting to use it, you may have thrown out any letter than came with the cards.
A tip we got from a bank official was to apply to the Revenue Office for a P21 end of year statement from the revenue office. The quickest and easiest way to get the Form P21 is to request it online from PAYE Anytime. If you have not already registered, you can register now. Once logged on to PAYE Anytime, select the relevant prior tax year, then ‘Request a (P21) Balancing Statement’ and follow the on-screen instructions. Further details of how to do this are on the revenue website here http://www.revenue.ie/en/online-services/services/common/request-or-view-your-end-of-year-statement-p21.aspx
Another way to get a P21 is to phone or email your local Revenue office and they will post one out to you. It won’t take long. Don’t worry if you have never paid tax or had a job, they will write to you telling you that you have paid no tax. This is what you want, as you will then have a letter from the Revenue addressed to you at your house.
So, in summary
- Go to Garda station and get an ML 10 form filled for your photo ID
- Get a P21 in your name sent to your home as your proof of address