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. If you want to know more about why, have a look at this explainer from the Central Bank.
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.
We’ve also included the Credit Union details and a link to An Post if you were considering opening a savings account with either of them – they are pretty much the same as the banks.
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?
We contacted banks to ask what were the best documents to use if a young person no photo ID. Often the answer can be to get some form of photo ID, eg the Irish Passport Card rather than a full passport). The basic rule is to collect as many types of documents linked to your ID as possible.
The one document that was mentioned by everyone was to get a full Birth Certificate that was issued in Ireland (so people born outside of Ireland may not be able use this method)
A valid Public Services Card may be acceptable. In some instances A Social Welfare Free Travel Pass might be accepted.
Some banks will accept a current CAO college Student Card
If under 18 a letter from school, on headed paper confirming name and address and date of birth – that is stamped by the school, signed and dated – might be accepted along with other documents like a birth cert.
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.
Previously anyone could get a completed ‘proof of Identity’ form, called the ML10 form from the Gardai, but this is no longer accepted in any of the institutions we contacted. Acceptance of the ML10 stopped in Oct 2022.
Each bank will have a list of alternative documents they will accept – so it is worth making your first stop being a conversation with the bank about what they will accept.
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.
Get a ‘letter of introduction’. This could be a letter from your school or college on headed paper, signed, dated and stamped, confirming your name, address and date of birth. This could also be like a solicitor, Justice of the Peace, TUSLA Social worker or Medical Doctor – But the must know you (the bank can tell you who they might accept).
So, in summary
- Get a full Irish Birth certificate
- Collect other types of documents where you can
- Get a P21 in your name sent to your home as your proof of address
- Get a letter of introduction from school or college (Signed, Dated and including name, address and date of birth)