Savings accounts in Ireland

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With many different types of savings accounts available, all with different terms, interest rates, and benefits, it can be difficult to know what type of savings account will help you maximise your money. On this page, you’ll find out more about the features and benefits of different types of savings accounts, how to compare savings accounts and how tax on savings works, giving you the information you need to decide which savings account is right for you.

The rundown
  • Savings accounts are a great way to strengthen your finances and act as a rainy day fund or pension pot
  • Grow your savings more quickly by choosing an account with a competitive interest rate
  • All savings products on Raisin.ie are protected up to an equivalent of €100,000 per depositor and bank according to EU laws

Top types of savings accounts at a glance

Deposit accounts

You’re likely to earn the most interest with this type of savings account. However, you’re agreeing to ‘lock’ the money away until the end of a set term, so you won’t be able to withdraw any money until then.

Demand deposit accounts

This is one of the most flexible types of savings accounts. You can withdraw money whenever you want, whilst still keeping your demand deposit account open.

Could a deposit account be right for me?

As you’ll be locking your money away for a set term, a deposit account, also known as fixed term deposits, could be ideal if you have a long term savings goal and you know you definitely won’t need access to the money during this time. It could also be a good option if you’re looking for the most competitive rate of return on your money.

Could a demand deposit account be right for me?

A demand deposit account could be ideal if you’re looking for flexibility, and you want the freedom to make withdrawals and top up your savings as and when it suits you. It could be a good option if you have a short term savings goal, or you just want to put money away regularly whilst still earning a high street-beating rate of  interest.

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How to choose
the right savings account for you

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide what type of savings account is right for you and your savings goals.

What are you saving for?

Deciding what your savings goals are can help you decide which savings account would suit you best. For example, if you’re saving for something specific, such as a new car or a trip abroad, a demand deposit account may be ideal as you’ll be able to withdraw your cash as and when you need to without a penalty, as well as being able to top up your balance whenever you want. For long term savings, a fixed term deposit account may be a better option.

Do you need access to the money immediately?

Savings accounts have different rules as to when – and how often – you can withdraw your money. Demand deposit accounts usually allow you to withdraw your money whenever you like without incurring a penalty – but they do come with lower interest rates than fixed term deposit accounts, and the interest rate can go up and down at any point. Deposit accounts require you to lock your money away for a fixed period, with no access to your money within this time – but in return you’re likely to receive a higher interest rate.

How much would you like to save?

How much you’re looking to save will affect what type of savings account suits you best. Regular savings accounts typically require you to deposit a set amount of money every month. If you don’t make the minimum payment into your account, your account may be closed or you may be given a lower interest rate.

What features are most important to you?

Savings accounts come with different features which may suit what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to get into the savings habit, a regular savings account requires you to deposit a set amount on a monthly basis. They also come with stricter rules than other savings accounts, like limited withdrawals across a period of time. If you want to be sure of how much interest you’ll earn, a fixed term deposit could be a good option over a variable savings account. Other features may also be important to you, such as having a Sharia-compliant savings account, or banking with a ‘Green’ bank or building society.

Read on to understand why a savings account may be beneficial for you, and to help you choose the best savings account for your savings needs.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is an account you pay money into and earn interest from. It’s as simple as that. The critical thing to know is which type of savings account is best for you (more on that below).

What are savings accounts for?

A savings account is not only a safe place to stow your money; it also helps you grow your finances. Your money will grow based on the account’s interest rate and how much you deposit. 

As for what you save for, that can be absolutely anything. You might be thinking about saving for a house deposit, a new car, your retirement or even a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Saving for a house

Saving for a deposit on a new house is made easier when you opt for a savings account that suits you. You could even choose one that has restrictions on withdrawals to help you save, such as a fixed term deposit.

Saving for holiday

Whether you’re planning the trip of a lifetime or want to take the little ones somewhere special, having a savings account will help you stack up your spare cash. With lots of different types of savings accounts available, you’ll be able to find one that works for you.

Saving for retirement

With some advisers recommending that you save 10 times the amount of your annual salary ready for retirement, the earlier you put into your pension pot, the better. You could consider growing a lump sum for retirement with a fixed term deposit.

Saving for children and grandchildren

Making the decision to have children is a huge step, and definitely one that you want to be financially ready for. Whether it’s for your children or grandchildren, having a savings account set up for them will help them in later life.

Saving for your wedding

It’s called the big day for a reason, and with the average Irish wedding costing around €36,000, you’ll definitely want to take some financial stress out of wedding planning by having a pot ready.

Saving for Christmas

Christmas shopping can be stressful if you aren’t fully prepared for how expensive it can get. Saving for Christmas allows you to spread the cost throughout the year, which can lower the financial impact of Christmas shopping.

How do savings accounts work?

A savings account works by you opening and paying into an account. In return for choosing to bank with your provider, they will pay you interest based on how much you have in your account. 

The bank will then use your money to give loans to other people, charging them interest. Essentially, a bank takes money from one person and rewards them with interest in the form of a savings account, and lends money to others and charges them interest in the form of a loan. Despite the bank using your money to provide loans, it is always available to you and is protected up to an equivalent of €100,000 per depositor and bank according to EU laws.

Who can open a savings account?

Each savings account will have its own terms and conditions regarding who can open an account and with what amount, but you will usually have to be aged 18 or over to open a savings account on your own.

If you’re under 18, there are some accounts available to you, including children’s savings accounts.

What are the pros and cons of savings accounts?

 Savings Account Advantages
Savings Account Advantages  Savings Account Disadvantages
Savings Account Disadvantages
Many savings accounts offer easy access and plenty of availability. They are easy to open and you can withdraw and deposit money anytime (within certain limits) by using online transfers and cashpoints. They often also have low deposit requirements. Low interest rates might mean that your money isn’t growing at the rate you would like it to.
You can grow your money with savings accounts by choosing one that offers a competitive rate of interest. Inflation could mean that your money ends up having less buying power if interest rates remain low.
A savings account can come with perks, such as insurance, recreational benefits and bonuses. Some savings accounts have a minimum balance requirement, such as €500 a month, meaning you will need to deposit this amount every 30 days.
Most savings accounts don’t lock you in for any period of time, meaning you can change whenever you like. While easy access can be seen as a major plus, it also means that saving could be difficult if you often give in to temptation, and these types of accounts typically offer less competitive interest rates.
Savings accounts provide a liquid asset that you won’t have to sell or go through lengthy procedures to have access to. Some savings accounts will have restrictions in terms of withdrawal limits and access. Be sure to check the terms and conditions before you commit.
Up to €100,000 of your cash is protected in the unlikely event that your institution fails.

How to calculate interest on a savings account in Ireland

The most simple way to calculate interest on a savings account is to multiply your account balance by the interest rate by the time period you plan to have the money in the account. 

The equation looks like this: 

D x R x T = interest earned

D = Initial deposit

R = Rate

T = Time in the account

How is interest paid on savings accounts?

How interest is paid depends on your savings account, so it’s best to check the details to make sure you’re getting an account that’s right for you. It’s common to receive interest payments once a year, either on a predetermined date or on your account opening anniversary. Some accounts pay out interest monthly, and some may pay quarterly. In the case of fixed term deposits, you may only receive an interest payment when your account matures, which could be up to five years.

You’ll usually receive interest payments into a bank account you nominate, or the interest you earn can go straight back into your savings account.

Are savings account interest rates worth it?

Although saving account rates aren’t as high as they have been in recent memory, savings accounts still offer one of the most reliable and safest ways to grow your money.

The Bank of Ireland base rate is currently low, at just 0.10% (as of 17th November 2021). That means it can be difficult to find high-interest savings accounts that make your money work hard for you. Currently, some of the best savings interest rates in Ireland are lump sum savings accounts that lock your money away to earn interest for a set period of time. You can view the top savings account rates in the table above. The most competitive lump sum account in our marketplace has an interest rate of 2.51% AER.

When will interest rates go up or be cut?

No one can say with certainty when interest rates will change, as the rates for the euro area are set by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB). When this changes, it influences financial institutions’ rates.

What are the most common types of savings accounts in Ireland?

There are several different types of savings accounts, all offering different benefits. These are the most common types of savings accounts: 

Fixed term deposit accounts Fixed term deposits require you to lock away your money for a set period of time. Interest rates are typically competitive, especially over the longer term.
Demand deposit accounts The most straightforward savings account type, a is very flexible and allows you to deposit and withdraw money at any time.
Regular savings accounts Most banks offer regular savings accounts, which are sometimes tailored towards a savings goal - mortgage savings accounts, for example. They typically require you to save a set amount each month, which is ideal for those who are starting with a small amount rather than a lump sum. They don’t tend to offer very competitive interest rates, but are a better alternative than leaving your money in your current account.

What are fixed term deposits?

Fixed term deposits or deposit accounts offer guaranteed returns on your savings over a set term, typically between six months and five years. Interest rates on fixed term deposit accounts are often better than standard or demand deposit accounts and are usually more competitive the longer your term is. If you have a lump sum of money that you want to grow and can afford to lock away, deposit accounts might be right for you.

What are demand deposit accounts?

As the name suggests, demand deposit accounts have minimal restrictions and allow you to top-up or withdraw your money easily and at your convenience. Typically, demand deposit accounts offer variable interest rates, meaning that the rate could both increase and decrease.

Why compare savings accounts?

It’s important to compare savings accounts so you find the account that suits your needs and pays a competitive rate of interest. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s never been a more important time to get the best available rate. For example, many savings accounts are currently offering as little as 0.1%, but when you take a look around and compare savings accounts, you can usually find ones that offer much higher rates.

What should you consider when you compare savings accounts?

There are a few important things to consider when comparing savings accounts, which are as follows:

  • Will this account allow me to access my money when I want or need to?
  • Will the interest rate on this account help me reach my savings goal? 
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to be aware of? 
  • Will my money be protected with this bank? 
  • Are the interest payments made in a way that works for me? 

Should you compare savings account interest rates?

It’s important to do a savings account comparison to make sure you get the right type of account and the right interest rate for you. You can compare savings account rates on fixed term deposits in the table above.

How to decide which is the best savings account for you

The best savings account for you will depend on how much you have to deposit, whether you have a lump sum or want to save a smaller amount each month, how long you’re prepared to leave a lump sum untouched for and how you want your interest to be paid.

You can also choose to split your money by opening more than one type of savings account to get a mix of the benefits they provide.

How many savings accounts can I have?

You can open an unlimited number of savings accounts, and it’s something worth considering. For example, you could open a fixed term deposit account for long-term savings and have an emergency pot in a demand deposit account that you can dip into as and when you need to. 

You might also consider a demand deposit account if you’re saving for a big holiday, a wedding or a house deposit. Protected savings accounts will cover your money up to €100,000 per depositor and bank according to EU laws, so if you have more than this amount to deposit, it’s advisable to spread this money over more than one savings account to ensure you’re covered by the limit.

Do I pay tax on money in a savings account?

You will have to pay tax on the money you have saved, as the interest you earn on your savings is subject to Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT). In 2021, DIRT is 33%, a reduction on previous years (it was 41% in 2014-2016, for example).

Any tax you need to pay on your interest is typically deducted by your bank before the interest is paid to you. If you’d like to know more about your deductions, you can request a statement of DIRT. 

In the case of demand deposit accounts offered on Raisin.ie, you’ll need to declare your own Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) as our partner banks are outside Ireland.

Deposit Interest Retention Tax does not apply to interest on demand deposit accounts that are owned by:

  • Revenue-approved pension schemes
  • Charities
  • Companies that pay corporation tax
  • People not resident for tax in Ireland

Is my money protected in a savings account?

Yes. The Deposit Guarantee Scheme protects your money in the event that your bank, building society or credit union authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland collapses. Deposits up to €100,000 per person, per financial institution are protected under the scheme, and your money is usually paid to you within 15 working days of your institution failing.

If you have a demand deposit account with a Raisin Bank partner bank outside of Ireland, your account will be protected by the Deposit Guarantee Scheme in your bank’s country, in accordance with EU law.

Why a savings account from our marketplace might be right for you:

  • All of the savings accounts on our marketplace are free to open
  • Your savings deposits are protected
  • You’ll earn competitive interest rates
  • You can choose from a range of savings accounts
  • You can easily manage your savings online

Quickly and easily open savings accounts with competitive interest rates from a range of European banks by registering for a Raisin Bank Account. It’s free to open a Raisin Bank Account and savings accounts through our marketplace, and once you’ve been approved, you just need to make your deposit and watch your savings grow.

Savings Accounts FAQs

Depending on the type of savings account you choose, there are plenty that let you withdraw cash whenever you like.

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You can open a savings account in a branch, over the phone, by post, online or via a banking app.

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You can close a savings account in a branch, over the phone, by post, online or via a banking app.

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COVID-19 has impacted lives across the world, with the pandemic affecting people’s jobs, health and personal finances. Amid the chaos, people may be wondering if their money is safe in the bank, and the answer is “yes”.

The deposit guarantee scheme covers all EU-regulated current or savings accounts in banks, building societies and credit unions.

The existence of a statutory deposit guarantee scheme reflects the political will within the European Union to protect savings in the event of a bank failure. As a result of recent changes, all deposit guarantee schemes have been harmonised, so that the same high standard is offered within the EU.

The amount you can claim through this compensation scheme is limited. The scheme currently states that if your bank fails, you can claim up to €100,000 per depositor and bank.

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The short answer is no. Because consumer credit reports don’t include savings accounts and no borrowing or debt is involved, savings accounts have no impact on your credit rating. Applying for and opening a savings account will not show up on your credit report, and neither will any deposits or withdrawals you make.

A credit rating or credit score is essentially a numerical expression based on your credit history which can determine your creditworthiness before a financial institution allows you to take on certain financial responsibilities.

Financial institutions develop your credit rating from consumer credit reports, considering any credit cards, loans (including Hire Purchase Agreements) and unpaid accounts or bankruptcy filings in your name.

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The amount of money you should have in savings will depend on what it is you’re saving for. The recommended amount for common savings goals can be seen below: 

Retirement  – Advisors suggest ten times your annual salary. For example, if you earn €30,000 per year, you’d be encouraged to save €300,000 for retirement. 

Wedding – The average Irish wedding costs €36,000, which gives you a figure to work from depending on your budget and what you want from your special day.

House deposit – The larger the house deposit you put down, the less you’ll pay back in terms of your mortgage. Having a 15% deposit or more could help you secure the best bank rates.

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The savings accounts that offer the highest rates of interest will differ and fluctuate in line with the EU Governing Council’s base rate, which is why it is well worth shopping around for your savings account. You may also want to consider a savings account with more restrictions, as these types of accounts typically offer higher interest rates as a reward, such as fixed term deposits. You could also consider investing, although you do need to be aware of the increased risks involved.

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One of the best ways to save for your children or grandchildren is to open a children’s savings account for them. Alternatively, you could choose to invest in prize bonds, which you can sign over to the child when they turn 18.

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As inflation rises, things get more expensive. This means your money has less buying power than it did before. 

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Yes, savings can affect your benefits if you have over a certain amount saved. If your benefits are means-tested, you will have to declare how much money you have in savings, as well as things like any capital you have or property you own.

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