The Best Way to Get Money in Ireland (and All Sorts of Other Money Tips)


Alright, let’s talk about the best way access money in Ireland.

While a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card is the best way to spend money in Ireland, you’re going to need to access at least a little cash and often that means fees. Why pay more in fees than you need to? Here’s a few tips that will help. 

The best way to get cash in Ireland is by using your debit card at any Irish bank with an ATM.

Facade of Irish bank with ATM
Original image by Ardfern

Sounds simple, right? It actually is (unlike car rentals in Ireland, ugh).

Why is using an ATM the best way to get money in Ireland?

Irish banks do not charge ATM fees (whoop, whoop!).

The only fee you might pay would be from your home bank for a foreign/international withdrawal.

A foreign transaction fee from your home bank is often a one-time fee each time you withdraw money abroad.  It typically runs about $5.00 per withdrawal. Sometimes US banks charge a percentage of how much you withdraw (so call your bank to ask their policy).

I find credit unions have good rates and Charles Schwab has a great option with unlimited ATM withdrawals and no foreign transaction fees or currency hikes (they even reimburse you for any ATM fees you might be charged by other banks anywhere in the world).

There are a few ATMs that charge fees for extracting money in Ireland, but those are not connected to banks (think convenience stores or at the Dublin Airport). To avoid fees, seek out ATMs on the facades of brick and mortar banks.

Lake surrounded by mountains

Don’t buy lots of euros before you leave.

You could take a large amount of euros with you by going to your local bank or AAA and purchasing them before you trip, but this is problematic for a couple of reasons.

First, it is a security risk. Ireland is as safe a country as any, but its never a good idea to carry a large amount of cash with you while traveling.

Second, your home bank (or wherever you get your euros) will charge you a higher exchange rate to cover their costs (usually about 6-10%) than what the actual exchange rate is.

At the time of posting AAA’s “exchange rate” is $1.22 for every euro, but the actual exchange rate is $1.1216 (meaning you’ll pay almost 10 cents more per euro through AAA).

So doing a quick calculation, if you took 1000 euros with you, you’d be spending an extra $98.40 on AAA fees for getting the money here at home.

It’s very unlikely that you would use the ATM so many times that you would rack up that much in foreign transaction fees.

Don’t take a bunch of cash and expect to exchange it cheaply and easily.

Two donkeys grazing on an Great Blasket Island

Another way you could get euros would be taking a lot of US cash with you and exchanging it for euros in Ireland, but this puts you in the exact same boat or worse.

The airport currency exchange offices usually charge even higher exchange rates than home banks and you can no longer exchange US dollars inside Irish banks unless you are customer of that bank.

If you really want to bring euros with you, don’t go overboard. One hundred euros is enough to get you a cab and a meal if need be before you need to seek out an ATM.

Order enough that you feel comfortable and get the rest in Ireland.

How to find an ATM in Ireland:

There are plenty of ATMs in Ireland–particularly in the cities and larger towns.

If you plan on staying in only small rural villages, it might be a good idea to pay attention to where the nearest ATMs are.

Check the logo on your debit card and use the ATM locator for that bank’s network.

So what do we usually do?

First, I call up my bank and tell them I will be in Ireland so they have a heads up that I’ll be using a card somewhere new.

While I ‘ve got them on the phone, I will reconfirm the foreign withdrawal fee for ATMs in Ireland.

I also ask if there are any limits on how much I can take out at one time. This is especially useful to know if we’re staying at any cash only B&Bs that I might need to stock up for.

We usually withdraw a lump sum of a couple hundred euros when we arrive. I split it up between the two of us and place a little in a secret stash in our luggage somewhere.

Joe and I take out more as we need it, but, these days, I find we can use a credit card more often than not.

Using your Credit Card in Ireland

Credit cards are the very best way to access money in Ireland. Since our cards don’t have any foreign transaction fees, we get the actual exchange rate at the exact moment that we swipe our card.

Since we use our credit card as much as we can, we generally don’t have to visit the ATM much more than that first initial withdrawal anyway.

Call that credit card company up (just like you did with the debit card) and let them know you’ll be in Ireland.

Ask about those foreign transaction fees. If your card has them, consider getting a new card “travel” card before you go. Capital One has some great no annual fee cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Abbey Castle nestled in mountain side next to a lake Kylemore Abbey County Galway

Dynamic Currency Conversion

You may get asked what currency you want to have your credit card charged in when making purchases in Ireland.

Always have them charge in the local currency (euros or pounds).

If you say US or Canadian dollars, you run the risk of Dynamic Currency Conversion, or getting charged an additional convenience fee for charing in your home currency.  Sure you’ll know what the cost is in dollars, but you’ll end up paying more for it. 

Side note: Vendors aren’t being sneaky when they ask which currency you want. The fee is assessed from the merchant’s service provider that processes the transacation. Usually, the tellers see the question pop up on their point of sale system and need your consent either way to move forward with the transaction.

Just say the local currency and you are all good!

Money in Northern Ireland

Everything above applies to Northern Ireland too (hooray!).

You don’t need to do anything different for your travels up north. Just know they use the pound instead of the euro.

If you plan on traveling there and the Republic of Ireland, make sure your credit card and debit card banks know that you’ll be in both locations.


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  1. This is just what I’ve learned about money in Ireland. I don’t use a credit card much, except for things booked online (train tickets, events etc., for the security of refund if I don’t receive the service). ATM’s provided with me with enough cash to buy a buttons box in Galway, but it took 4 days and 2 accounts!

    1. Oh yeah! I should have added that credit cards give you that extra added security if you don’t receive the service or something goes wrong. Good point! Ha! I am glad you were able to get it in the end. Sometimes those withdrawal limits can be a pain!

  2. As always, solid advice. I tend to start any trip with about 50 of whatever the local currency is and then pay by credit card when I can. Since my first trip to Ireland in 2000, a lot more places accept credit cards, and I find myself never spending all of the 50 in cash I have.

    I tend to take it home and bank it for the next trip–easy enough for me since the next trip is no more than a year away–but if you don’t think you’ll need the local currency anytime soon, I’ve found the best way to convert it is to go to the Starbucks at Dublin Airport (or Heathrow or almost any other European airport) and put the remainder of my cash on a Starbucks card. No forex fees, no worries about the conversion rate, and I can spend off the card when I get home.

    1. Hadn’t thought about that, I agree with Stephanie, that’s genius! (Adds that to the list of tips in Evernote…)

    1. Hi Raúl, I am not sure this is universal yet (not all stores participate) and quite a few banks in US will charge a foreign transaction fee for purchases in Ireland. So I’d still call up your bank to see which is a better deal. All in all a viable option though if it is a available to you!

  3. I typically pull €50-200 (depending on what I’m expecting to spend on drinks/tips/trinket souvenirs that I can’t claim vat on, cash only transactions) and use my credit card for all other purchases. Because I was able to bargain pricing on a souvenir based on paying with cash instead of credit card, it worked out in my favor.

    For notifying the bank of your travels: most of the bigger banks have built travel notification into their mobile apps/online banking systems (Bank of America calls it ‘Travel Notice’, Capital One doesn’t have it in their mobile app). It’s 24 hour access and saves you from having to schedule time to call/visit a branch. Even my former credit union had that built in. I’d say check there first, then call/visit if need be.

    1. Yesss!! Online notification makes it so much easier (especially if you are on your way to the airport and forgot to set it earlier…not talking from experience or anything…ha!). :-)

      1. I wouldn’t know anything about setting the travel notice while seated in the plane sitting on the tarmac… ?

        When I purchased my flight on my Capital One card, it flagged their system to alert them I was traveling and they automatically set the notice for me. Talk about service!

  4. I have heard on other blogs that there are cash machines in the airport. I assume these are the expensive ones and not affiliated with a proper bank. What is your experience? Also, do taxi’s take credit cards? I have read that they do not have Uber, like we do in the States.

    1. I can say that the ATM fee in Shannon airport was no more than the fees for the AIB fees in Dingle and Dublin (about €4/€5). However, you have to keep in mind that the fee is in local currency and will seem higher/lower because of the conversion rate your bank uses on the day you pull the money. You must also include the fee your bank may charge for international cash withdrawals.

      For example, I pulled €200 from an ATM in Shannon. Because I used my bank debit card, I was charged $5 for the international fee, plus $6.99 for the the Shannon ATM fee (conversion of €5). The €200 = $233.02. Total with fees: $245.01.

      In Dingle, I pulled €100 = $123.24, $5.00 international fee, $3.70 ATM fee (conversion of €3 or €4, I don’t have that receipt handy). Total with fees: $132.04

      Conversion rate fluctuates, which means it can be different dependent on when in the year you go, what year you go, how the economy is doing, etc. The Dingle pull happened in April 2018. The Shannon pull happen in September 2018. The conversion rate was higher in September (end of tourist season, economy doing well).

      So, check with your bank and find out what fees they charge for ATM & International fees. Depending on whether or not your bank charges fees, consider using your credit card for cash withdrawals, then pay it as soon as you can to make sure you don’t get hit with the interest.

      That’s my 2 cents. ?

      1. Hi Patricia,

        There are ATM’s at the airport, but it depends on which terminal you arrive at if they are associated with a bank or not. In T1 (which is primarily European arrivals) there is a Bank of Ireland ATM. In T2 (which is primarily North American arrivals), there are ATM’s at the ICE (currency) exchange desk.

        We had left over euros from our last trip, so I didn’t check out the ATM’s at the airport on our most recent trip. I don’t think the T1 ATMs have additional charges, but I would venture to guess the currency exchange desk would have a small charge (likely still better than actually exchanging cash).

        If you can hold off, you’re best getting cash from the outside of a real bank in Dublin (which are everywhere!). They will have no additional fees, which is the best possible kind of deal. :-)

        As for Uber–you’re right! No real Uber presence in Ireland, but the app Free Now (used to be My Taxi) is fabulous and is basically the same thing. We used it a bunch on our last trip without problems at all.

        Jami is definitely right about checking with your local bank to determine if they have any international/foreign withdrawal fees associated with your debit card. For me it’s 5 euros each time I withdraw any amount.

        I hope this helps!! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!

  5. Great advice and information. I also keep reading that in order to use our credit card for purchases we will need our PIN #. (Unlike the USA where the PIN # is only required if you were to withdraw cash.) Is this indeed true?

    1. Depends on what you are buying. I never needed it for paying at restaurants, but just like any store, using your debit card to purchase souvenirs may require you to use your PIN.

    2. Hi Greg! We’ve gotten away without having to use a pin so far (I have it just in case, but it hasn’t ever been required). However, I always think it is a good idea to have on hand just in case. :-)

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