Top 3 Savings Accounts in Ireland (2020)
Ireland doesn’t have many good saving options due to being part of the eurozone and using the euro, however there are still a few decent savings accounts and some alternatives to traditional savings accounts you could consider to increase yield and safety.
We’ll cover the 3 only traditional savings accounts worth considering for Irish citizens and residents, then present a few alternatives that could preserve your savings better in the long-term. We’d still say, even with the low rates these accounts offer, that it’d be smart to keep a few months of expenses kept in them or simply your standard checking account in case you lose your job, your vehicle breaks down, or something unexpected occurs.
Our Personal Favorite: N26's Online Savings Account
This is the absolute best traditional savings account you can get that’s denominated (earns in) Euros that is easy to open and get (some banks in Syria/Ukraine offer more but are very hard to open if you aren’t a resident of those countries).
Not only is N26 and overall great bank to bank with they also offer the highest rates — which is up to about 1.7% per year or so. We would never lock up our money for the term length it requires to get that percentage however, so in reality for a 3-6mo term deposit you’ll likely earn about as much as the other accounts in this list. Overall while it’s the best account, and the safest in our opinion, we’d still opt to have the majority of our savings in non-traditional savings accounts such as in Cryptocurrency stablecoins that earn interest or simply in gold/silver holdings. This is because with such a low interest rate you lose out to inflation — none the less we’d still hold a couple thousand euros in the short-term deposits with N26 if we lived in Ireland.
You can sign up for this account through this page on their website. You might be able to sign up through the app, but we’ve been told sometimes opening N26’s savings account isn’t an option through the app.
Best for Monthly Savings: Permanent TSB's Online Savings Account
While we personally wouldn’t opt for this account it’s actually a fantastic choice for some people — particularly if you want to be committed to saving and being more or less forced to do so — as this account requires a deposit every single month between 10 Euro and 1000 Euro depending on what you set when you open the account.
It offers a pretty high interest rate for a Euro-denominated account coming in at just a little below 1% per year. Keep in mind due to Irish taxation this would be reduced by approximately 30% for most individuals, so the real return will be less than 1% per year.
You can open this account online on their website and review the account information through this link. If you’re thinking of buying a home sometime soon it may be worth choosing this account simply because this bank is one of the best for getting a mortgage loan in Ireland, so it’s worth considering choosing them even if the rate can be a tiny bit less compared to N26’s savings yield.
An Overall Decent Choice: Ulster Bank's Special Interest Deposit Account
If you don’t want to be forced to deposit every single month, but for whatever reason don’t like banking online and wouldn’t want to go with N26, then this account by Ulster Bank is a pretty decent choice.
It offers 0.85% interest per year on deposits and allows you to deposit any amount of money any time or simply deposit 1 EUR per month to keep the account open and earning interest. Likewise to the other bank above, since it is an Irish bank they’ll automatically withhold 30% or so of interest payments for taxes, so your actual yield will be less than 0.85% per year.
The easiest way to open this account is on their website, however they do have physical locations you can open this account through as well.
Alternatives to Traditional Savings Accounts in Ireland
As mentioned before, we’ll cover some alternatives since Ireland’s savings rates are just so pitifully low and don’t even beat inflation.
What we personally do for our savings is have a Coinbase account (yes the cryptocurrency exchange) where we buy USDC, which is a cryptocurrency they made that is 100% backed by real US dollars, and best of all — earns between 1% and 2% interest per year risk-free — and best interest is paid every second (you can literally see it tick up) and you can withdraw at any time for free. We keep the majority of our savings in this account, as we can access the money immediately if needed without penalty and if something ever happens with Euro or US banks we can keep our money safe even if the banks shut down, go bust, or experience a bank run.
We also put a portion of our savings (about 30%) in Bitcoin and gold/silver because we are concerned about the Euro and even US dollar surviving with how much they’re being printed by central banks.