Is KBC’s App the Easiest Way to Open Bank Account in Ireland?

kbc the fastest bank account in ireland

I’ve got a few bank accounts. There’s an Ulster Bank account I don’t use, a Permanent TSB account that I’ll be closing soon, my main account with Bank of Ireland and finally, an account with N26. Despite me having nearly every bank account in Ireland and one floating in the cloud, I don’t have access to Android Pay without using a service like Boon. Granted, Ulster Bank does offer it and that happens to be the account that I don’t use. Even so, many Irish banks are way behind in terms of technology.

KBC launched an app this week which promises fast and simple bank account creation. I put this claim to the test.

Snap, Snap, Tap, Tap, Boom?

KBC is currently recruiting new customers by promising to sidestep all those horrible banking processes that come with setting up an account. New customers can open a KBC Extra Account through the banks ‘revolutionary new app’ allowing you to set up a bank account without paperwork. You’ll even need to take a selfie and get them a fiver for your troubles.

Setting Up the Fastest Bank Account in Ireland

So, KBC had my attention and was about to get my business. I sat down to open an account in minutes and see if there’s substance to their claims.

Getting Started

Full disclosure time. I’ve worked in banking and telecoms, two paperwork heavy places to work. I was pretty well prepared which should speed up the process a wee bit. I had my driver’s license and a phone bill downloaded to my phone all ready to go. Turns out, you’ll need more than that, which seems excessive. Regardless, you’ll need two proofs of ID and two proofs of address.

Despite KBC’s promotional videos stating you’ll need either a passport or driver’s license, I needed both. Despite the same videos outlining a need for one proof of address, yup, I needed two. The only thing to note here is my onboarding to the new account wouldn’t go smoothly and I didn’t get to take a selfie. Sadface.

Downloading the App

Probably don’t have to highlight this part of the process, but because we’re pure sound, here are the links for both Android and iOS apps.

Starting the Process

This is the really fun part. You know when you’re usually talking to a pane of bullet-proof glass after queuing for hours in a bank? Well, the app starts chatting with you as if you’re texting a mate. This is how KBC get your personal details like name etc. It feels totally natural and really suits the mobile app. Good job KBC, I’m liking this.

SMS Verification

The last thing you enter in this ‘chat’ section, is your number. KBC ping you a text message with a unique number to place that phone with you. The message came through for me no problem. but something happened here which kicked me out of the app.

This is where the wheels started to come off the process. Something happened which kicked me out of the app. When I went back in, I had to start over. This created a duplicate application and locked me out of the app process. Crap.

Phonecall From KBC

Ok, it’s not all bad. KBC is on the phone and I’ve explained what happened. I’m offered the option of completing the process on the phone, but I opt to return to the app for research purposes. After a brief supervisor’s query, I’m informed the app won’t be an option for me anymore but the application can be completed over the phone. I begrudgingly agree, so you’ll have to test out the app yourself from that stage on.

I begrudgingly agree, so you’ll have to test out the app yourself from that stage on.

Setting Up a KBC Account Over the Phone

Right, we’re off the plan here but let’s keep going. The KBC video promises that I’ll be able to have Android pay once I get through this. About ten minutes on the phone with their sales team and a few legal questions later, it’s nearly all done. There are just a few emails that need to be sent over with my proofs. This was where I found out that this process would require twice as many proofs as going through the app. Boo!

What’s Android Pay Like?

I’d love to be able to tell you. I received the emails and asked the salesperson if I would have Android pay available as soon as I sent everything over. They responded by informing me that there’s a three to four-day turnaround on getting an account live. If I’m totally honest, I haven’t even sent over my proofs yet because the sign-up process is just so far away from what KBC is advertising.

Here’s where KBC are missing the mark:

  • Their message right now is “banking in minutes”, yet it looks like that will vary between 4320 and 5760 minutes for me
  • They’re also bigging up a sign-up process that takes little more than snap, snap, tap, tap. That’s missing answer, answer, email, email, wait, wait. Admittedly, that’s not as catchy.
  • KBC are asking for different documents through the app and over the phone.
  • I’m sitting here with no Android Pay and not holding out hope for getting my fiver either
  • While they say no paperwork, you do have to take a photo of a posted proof or print out a digital proof. Both of these are equally silly.

Do KBC Have The Fastest Bank Account in Ireland

This was a really tough article to write. I was genuinely delighted to see KBC trying something so innovative in the Irish market. The bank had built up this account opening process so much that it genuinely had me excited – possibly the most boring thing you’ll ever do is set up a bank account. KBC’s vision for attracting new customers is bang on. We’re all ridiculously impatient these days and KBC is turbo boosting a mundane, boring task. Or at least, they’re claiming to be.

While the idea KBC put forward is brilliant, in practice, it’s disappointing. While many may open an account through the app without a hitch, it didn’t take much for my application to be derailed. What’s the point in an app and digital process if it ends up in required phone calls? I use Just Eat because I hate calling in take aways. I used this app because I hate paperwork and going to the bank. KBC has built up an expectation far beyond what they can deliver right now.

Only for the promise of a fiver to use the app, I’d have thought the app was little more than another way to get potential customers into phone calls.

The Verdict

Hopefully, these are just bugs that can be ironed out and the app genuinely is a way to signup and not just another way of getting customers into phone calls. KBC has the potential to shake up the Irish banking space with this app, but only if it works and works as advertised.

well done to KBC on trying something different

As frustrating as this process was, the last word here has to be well done to KBC on trying something different.


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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads

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