Review: Choosing Ireland’s Best Banking App

revolut a real irish bank alternative

What feels like many moons ago, I wrote about Ireland’s best digital bank. I rated KBC as one of the best banks bank then, and still do today. The problem is that KBC is ramping up their exit from the Irish market. I’ve just confirmed they are waiving maintenance fees on accounts too which means they are pushing people away. People like me, who are now in the market for a new bank account. Obviously, I want a good value bank with lots of digital experience too offer. So where am I off to?

In This Article

Best Banking Apps in Ireland

I recently caught up with Daragh from to discuss banking apps in Ireland. I’ve had an account with them all at some stage, though some have since been closed. I’ve not used some of them in years but have been watching from afar to see how they’re getting on. y first ever bank account. I still have an account today and use both it and by Bank of Ireland app regularly.

I don’t think you should choose a bank purely based on app, but it is an important thing to consider. A good app keeps you informed of your finances. A good app makes you want to use it to keep an eye on your money. All in all, a good app helps ensure better financial health.


For me, Revolut is a near slam dunk when it comes to being the best banking app in Ireland. The online-only bank has been pushing countless features out to improve the user experience for the past few years. Today, Revolut stands as a genuine alternative to traditional banks. The bank got a massive boost recently by officially becoming a proper bank. That means your money is as safe in Revolut as it is Bank of Ireland.

I also spotted loans in my Revolt app recently. I can now borrow up to €30,000 and apply for that within the app.

There are lots of great features that come with choosing a digital-first bank. Virtual cards protect your data when shopping online. You get cash back on purchases and discounts when buying from Revolut partners. You also get the features you’d expect like Google Pay and Apple Pay.

However, it’s not all good news. There are some issues beyond Revolut’s control. The bank uses Lithuanian IBANs which may still pose a problem for Irish customers. Some employers can’t or won’t pay wages into non-Irish bank accounts, despite this being illegal. It’s called IBAN discrimination. The same goes for utility companies not allowing you to set up direct debits with non-Irish IBANs.

The big issue some will have is the limitations that come with online-only banks. While Revolut is slowly rolling out credit products, there are no mortgages. There’s also no branch when you have an issue and sometimes, care over chat can be frustrating.

But Revolut is about to become my primary bank. The one the monthly money goes into. What I’m most looking forward to is the analytics and insights I’ll get into my spending. Well, I’m both excited and terrified.

You can join Revolut using my affiliate link (which may give me a kickback) or just join them directly. Which you choose has no impact on you, but I understand some people might feel funny about affiliate links.

The GoodThe Bad
Incredible AppLimited Credit Offering
Full Banking StatusNo Physical Branches
Special OffersIBAN Discrimination
International Exchange
Cheap To Use


AIB is probably the best of the bunch when it comes to the remaining traditional banks in Ireland. AIB has been an innovator in the Irish market, offering Google Pay and Apple Pay before many of the competition. The AIB banking app also introduced innovative features like Quick Balance that proved a real hit with customers.

AIB does charge you fees for using your card in a machine, specifically when you insert your card to enter you pin. It’s an odd time to charge, but I guess it’s because the fee makes more sense on higher-value transactions.

When I spoke with, I laid it on thick that it’s really important that your banking app welcomes you in to use it. Again, the more you use it, the more financially healthy you should be. AIB is the only traditional Irish banking app to let you login using biometrics. That means no fumbling around for a pin or password.

The GoodThe Bad
Trusted BankFees You Wouldn’t Expect
Biometric Login
Quick Balance


I was going to say that once we finish up with these two banks, things start to go downhill a bit. But that’s not really fair. N26 offers a great banking experience. N26 is a German online-only bank that used to be far superior to Revolut. However, the bank has been hampered by Revolut’s success and struggled to rise to the same level.

N26 is a fully operational bank but doesn’t offer credit in Ireland, or at least it’s not available in my account.

The GoodThe Bad
Good AppIt’s Just Not Revolut
Spending InsightsNo Credit Products In Ireland

An Post Money

And again, before things start to get negative, An Post Money deserves an honourable mention. It’s likely An Post Money benefits from the old An Post image not being built on old banking systems. Because of this, it offers a decent digital experience. On paper at least. I’ve not got to try it out yet, but it’s worth a punt.

Because I have a credit card with KBC I might actually give An Post Money a go until Revolut offers one.

The GoodThe Bad
Offer Credit CardsAn Post Is Unproven
Irish IBAN
Google, Apple and Fitbit Pay

Bank of Ireland

So, I’ll probably always have a Bank of Ireland account. But it’ll upset me every day I do. Bank of Ireland is a solid bank. I can’t argue with that. But the Bank of Ireland app leaves a lot to be desired. Even when the bank announced exciting updates to their app, it was all a bit underwhelming. The app’s design and features are still rather poor.

There’s still no biometric login and a lack of modern features within the app itself. My Bank of Ireland account and the app that goes with it isn’t something I like having. So once I can, I’ll be moving products out.

You absolutely join Bank of Ireland for the bank part, not the online experience.

The GoodThe Bad
It’s Very TrustworthyApp Is Ugly
Finally Offer Google and Apple PayNo Biometric Login
No Insights

Permanent TSB

The less said about this the better. Permanent TSB is another reputable bank. However, online or app experience isn’t their forte. Like Bank of Ireland, there’s no biometric login. Straight away, there’s that barrier to your banking. Permanent TSB does offer Google and Apple Pay but they have to be shamed here as the last bank to do so. They were dragged, kicking and screaming into the digital age.

While I rate Bank of Ireland pretty low, Permanent TSB doesn’t really offer any redeeming qualities. Full disclosure, I used to work here. But that’s water under the bridge. I can justify having a Bank of Ireland account, but struggle to see why I’d ever have a Permanent TSB account again. Unless, of course, I need a mortgage and they offer an amazing rate.

The GoodThe Bad
Google and Apple PayVery Few App Services
Not Much ElseDigital Laggards

Choosing A Bank After KBC

Finally, we come to the point where I tell you what bank I’m choosing. It’s a rather easy choice really, but it comes with caveats. I’m moving most of my major day to day banking to Revolut. Tapping in shops, getting paid my salary and sending money to friends. All that good stuff will be done through Revolut. I might even apply for a loan if I need to. Most people I’ve told seem pretty at east with my choice. And that surprises me. Maybe it’s because I’m the tech guy, but I think people are generally more at ease with the idea of banking more with Revolut.

But my savings will likely just transfer to Bank of Ireland. Bank of Ireland has bought KBC savings accounts. I’ve been informed it will just move over unless I do something about it.

I might look to keep a credit card, though I don’t use it very often. It did come in handy recently when I had to rent a car in Crete. An Post Money offers an interesting alternative there.

I guess the fragmented approach does make sense. No one bank offers the perfect solution. No one solution fits everyone. So don’t be afraid to shop around and not do what the family has done for years.

Not convinced? You can still read a great article over on comparing the banking apps in further detail.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Martin is a massive tech fan, into movies and will talk about anything to anyone. - Find me on Mastodon