Bank of Ireland is one of Ireland’s leading banks, and it operates internationally too. There are a few different ways to make international payments with Bank of Ireland - here’s our guide to what you need to know and what the costs will be. In the end, you might actually find that you’d be better off making your international transfer with TranferWise.
A quick example before we get started.
A theoretical online bank transfer at standard speed sending €1000 from Ireland to a US dollar account in the US.
While it may look like you’re just comparing the fees at first glance, and it doesn’t look like much of a difference, it isn’t just the stated fees you need to pay attention to.
|Provider||Fee||Exchange Rate||Total Cost|
|Bank of Ireland (Ireland)||€5||Exchange rate + foreign exchange margin||€5 + foreign exchange margin + likely fees from both intermediary and recipient banks¹|
|TransferWise||€4.98||The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google||€4.98|
What isn’t often mentioned is that, on average, banks and money transfer providers often mark up an exchange rate by 4-6% to make money on converting your currency. In fact, Bank of Ireland expressly states that they will add on a foreign exchange margin.
Which means it’s a good idea to compare the exchange rate you’re offered with an online currency converter** to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you**.
In addition, nearly all transfers sent internationally are sent via SWIFT. Which means there are likely 1-3 intermediary banks in addition to the recipient bank that may levy fees of their own. Costing you even more.
Bank of Ireland charges different fees depending on whether you do your international transfer online or in a branch. Their standard service is called InterPay Plus.
|Bank of Ireland transaction||Regular fees online²|
|Incoming international euro transfer coming from within the EU, including Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, with an IBAN and BIC.||
|All other incoming international euro transfer||
|Incoming international non-euro transfer||
|Outgoing international euro transfer||
|Outgoing international non-euro transfer||
The details might be different in your particular circumstances, but these are the details that Bank of Ireland currently have publicly available for transfers made via their online banking service. If you go into a branch and make the transfer, a different set of fees applies.
You might have noticed the phrase ‘foreign exchange margin’ in the table above. This applies when you make an international transfer in currencies other than euros from your Bank of Ireland account. What it means is that, in addition to the fixed fee you might have to pay, they charge you a foreign exchange rate that’s better for them than it is for you - in effect, they’re taking another cut of the payment, by charging you an inferior exchange rate.
Bank of Ireland has an online currency converter³ that can give you an indication of what sort of exchange rate will be charged. However, the rate shown there might not be the actual rate that you’re charged. Bank of Ireland notes that these rates are ‘for information only and not to be treated as a definite currency price’⁴. Not only that, but it’s also stated in fees that, for foreign transactions, they add on a foreign exchange margin. You can compare Bank of Ireland’s rate with the rate you can find on Google, or a different online currency converter.
Whatever exchange rate you get, if you use Bank of Ireland, it’ll have been set by a bank, so won’t be as favourable to you as the mid-market exchange rate that you’ll find by looking online. Banks are able to set exchange rates themselves when they make a foreign transfer.
Bank of Ireland probably won’t be the only bank involved in your foreign transfer. There is also the receiving bank, and there may be intermediary banks as well. The receiving bank may have its own set of fees, and for many transfers the intermediary banks can charge fees too.
Though not a fee as such, you should think about the exchange rate as a further cost in your transfer. If you transfer at a bad rate, both you and the recipient lose out - it saves the banks some money, but not you.
|Bank of Ireland transaction||Additional fee⁵|
|Recipient bank and/or intermediary bank fees||Although you can choose to pay foreign bank charges for an extra fee of €7, this only covers charges from foreign banks up to €20. If they charge more than that, you will be retrospectively charged for the difference.|
|InterPay express service||€25|
Another way to send money internationally is with TransferWise. Using the mid-market exchange rate you’ll find on Google or XE - a better rate for you than one set by a bank - TransferWise will transfer your money for just one simple fee, stated upfront, based on the amount you want to transfer. You can see the exact exchange rate used before you make the transfer, and there won’t be any charges from intermediaries.
A borderless multi-currency account can be even more useful if you often need access to money in multiple currencies. You can keep money in up to 28 different currencies, and get local account details for EUR, GBP, USD and AUD accounts. So if you often travel or do business abroad, a borderless account can drastically reduce the number of costly foreign transfers you need to make, saving you money each time.
Take a look at what TransferWise offers and compare its rates now.
Bank of Ireland offers several ways for you to transfer your money abroad. You can make international payments online, as well as on your mobile or tablet via their app, and also in person if you go into a branch.
To make the transfer online, you first need to be registered with Bank of Ireland’s online banking service, 365 online. Once you’re logged in, select ‘Money Transfer’ and add the person or company you’re paying to your list of payees, including their bank account details. When that’s set up, you’ll be able to select ‘International transfer’ and choose your payee - then, enter the amount you want to transfer and you’ll be ready to hit send. Bear in mind that you can only pay existing payees if you use the bank’s mobile app.⁶
If you go to a branch, talk to a teller and they’ll guide you through the process. The Bank of Ireland website talks you through the online process step by step, as well.
You’ll need the following details about the person you want to pay⁷:
- The destination country
- The recipient’s name and address
- The recipient’s IBAN
- The recipient’s BIC/SWIFT (you can use our SWIFT/BIC finder to work it out)
- Other account details from the recipient and their bank, if they don’t have IBAN and BIC/SWIFT
What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?
The person sending you money should tell you exactly what details they need from you, but to be safe you can provide them with the following⁸:
- Your name and address
- Your bank’s name and address
- Your IBAN
- Your BIC
From the Republic of Ireland, euro transfers should be there within 1 day from the moment Bank of Ireland receives your request - as long as they are covered by Payment Services Regulations. European transfers in other currencies should be there within 3 days, and transfers to places further away might take longer.⁹
The same applies for customers in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, excluding transactions in pounds sterling - these should only take a day.
For payments in EUR, GBP, and USD, Bank of Ireland offers the possibility to process the payment faster with their InterPay express service. These payments are subject to cut off times, which they outline on the application form. However, this doesn’t guarantee that the recipient will receive the money in their account the same day. According to the Bank of Ireland:
It is the responsibility of the receiving bank to effect payment for same day value, subject to their regulations, following receipt of the payment from Bank of Ireland.¹⁰
Like most banks, Bank of Ireland have daily cutoff times for international transfers. You should try and make your transfer by 3:30 pm on a weekday if you’re in the Republic of Ireland, or 4:30 pm if you’re in the UK, to ensure the transfer gets there as fast as it can. If you do it later, it’ll probably delay the process by a day.¹¹
- Bank of Ireland has a section of their website devoted to international payments.¹²
- For further information, their help centre can lend you a hand.
- Or you can give them a call: in the Republic of Ireland their number is 1 890 706 706.
However you choose to move your money abroad, don’t forget that both the fixed fees and the exchange rates play a part in setting the cost. Make sure you know the complete picture before you transfer your money.
¹ https://www.bankofireland.com/fs/doc/wysiwyg/37-374ru-16-without-crop-marks-2.pdf, January 19th, 2018
⁴https://www.bankofireland.com/fs/doc/wysiwyg/37-374ru-16-without-crop-marks-2.pdf, January 19th, 2018
⁹https://www.bankofireland.com/help-centre/faq/can-transfer-funds-365-online/, January 19th, 2018
¹¹https://www.bankofireland.com/help-centre/faq/can-transfer-funds-365-online/, January 19th, 2018
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