The Euro is made up of eight coins and seven paper notes and was introduced on January 1, 2002. Coins and bills can be used in any of the European Union countries, regardless of the country of issue. Old currencies are no longer accepted, although they can still be converted to Euros in central banks. Credit cards are accepted at larger restaurants, but cash is still the monetary medium of choice in Dublin. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks.
Currency can be exchanged at any bank, as well as most building societies (savings and loan), post offices, and some department stores such as Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Cleary’s. Most businesses accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa; less so Diners’ Club. Increasingly, transactions are electronic, with the local debit card system, Laser, enjoying widespread use.
In order to open a personal account, most banks will require proof of your address in Ireland, normally a utility bill. This could take up to 2 months to get, so be prepared for a delay. They will also require your passport and details of any previous bank accounts you have had.
Internet banking is common in Ireland, with AIB, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB and Bank of Ireland all providing internet banking facilities. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you try and open an account with a bank that has a local branch. As good as internet banking is, there will always be a need to make visits to the bank now and then to withdraw or deposit cash. If you are not with a “fee free” bank, use the cashback option in shops on your Laser (debit) card, as it will save you the ATM fee.
Average exchange rates, Euros per US dollar – 0.7996 (2006 to date) 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
Allied Irish Bank
AIB Group Headquarters
Dublin 4, Ireland
+353 1 660 0311
Allied Irish Bank has one of the largest branch networks in Ireland; only Bank of Ireland fully rivals it. AIB offers a full range of personal banking services, including loans, credit cards and mortgages, as well as a range of general insurance products such as home, travel, and health insurance. It offers life assurance and pensions through its wholly owned subsidiary, Ark Life Assurance. Internationally, AIB operates mainly in the United Kingdom (as Allied Irish Bank (GB) and First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland), and Poland (as BZ-WBK). It also owns a 22.5% stake in M&T Bank in the United States.
Bank of Ireland
Bank of Ireland Head Office
Lower Baggot Street
Dublin 2, Ireland
+353 1 661 593
Bank of Ireland Group provides a broad range of financial services in Ireland to the personal, commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors. These include checking and deposit services, overdrafts, term loans, mortgages, international asset financing, leasing, installment credit, debt financing, foreign exchange facilities, interest and exchange rate hedging instruments, executor, trustee, stockbroking, life assurance and investment fund management, fund administration and custodial services and financial advisory services, including mergers and acquisitions and underwriting. With the acquisition of New Ireland Assurance in December 1997 the Group has access to additional distribution channels and products for its life assurance and pensions business. The Bank operates telephone and online banking services for its customers under the name 365 phone and 365 online respectively, and also offers the Laser payment system.
National Irish Bank
3rd Floor, International House
3 Harbourmaster Place
IFSC Dublin 1
+353 1 484 0000
Fax: +353 1 438 5776
National Irish Bank is a growing retail bank with a network of 59 branches and 13 finance centers in the Republic of Ireland. In addition to serving personal and business customers, the bank also caters to high net-worth individuals and corporate customers. National Irish Bank is a member of Danske Bank Group. Danske Bank is the largest bank in Denmark and a leading player in the Scandinavian financial markets.