Personal FAQs

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland delivers an extensive range of services through its specialist team whose combined knowledge, expertise and commitment drives our ability to advocate and deliver on behalf of our members.

Account Switching

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) introduced its Code of Conduct on the Switching of Current Accounts with Credit Institutions in October 2010. The Code must be complied with by credit institutions (banks and building societies) providing current accounts in Ireland

The Code applies when a consumer wants to switch his/her current account, including any direct debits and standing orders, to another current account in a different credit institution. The two credit institutions involved must be in Ireland.

Access more information on switching your current account.

Access the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website for more information on switching your current account.

Under the CBI Code of Conduct on the Switching of Current Accounts with Credit Institutions, consumers have the option of closing their existing current account or keeping it open after they switch to a current account in another bank or building society. Access more information on switching your current account. Access the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website for more information on switching your current account.

If you want to switch your current account from one branch to another, but you want to stay with your current bank or building society, you should contact your bank or building society directly.

Cheque FAQs

It normally takes three to five business days to clear a cheque if it is drawn and payable on a member bank of the Irish Paper Clearing Company Limited (IPCC).

The cheque is lodged on Day One. It is exchanged with the bank on which it is drawn on Day Two. The customer on whose account the cheque is drawn is debited on Day Two or Three. In the event that the cheque is to be returned unpaid for any reason, it will be returned by close of business on Day Four to the payee’s bank.  It will therefore be Day Five before the payee’s bank knows that the cheque is being unpaid.

While the clearing cycle normally takes three days, certainty of payment can actually take up to five or six days. Depending on a particular bank’s policy in relation to risk control, customers are not always permitted to draw down the funds ahead of this timeframe, in order that the bank may be certain that the cheque will not be returned unpaid.

If your bank or building society is not a member of IPCC, you should contact it directly to confirm its clearing cycle.

A stop can be placed on a cheque provided it has not already been paid. The bank should be contacted with details of the particular cheque, i.e. the date of issue, cheque number, the amount and the payee.

It is the practice of banks in the Republic of Ireland to decline cheques which are presented for payment six months or later than the date the cheque is written.

A cheque which is crossed with “a/c payee only” must be lodged directly into the bank account of the named payee. However, if a cheque is crossed with ‘not negotiable’ or ‘& co’ it may be endorsed by the payee, which means it can be signed over to the benefit of a third party on the reverse of the cheque. It can then be lodged to the bank account of that third party.

There is no centrally managed cross-border clearing system in operation for cheques and so it is strongly recommended to use electronic payments for accepting or making cross-border payments. Cheques drawn on foreign countries lodged in a bank in the Republic of Ireland may take a considerable time to clear (check with your bank) and may be returned unpaid in accordance with the legislation and/or clearing rules in place in the country in which the cheque is drawn. For some countries this can be at any time in the future. If the cheque is denominated in another currency, the beneficiary will be exposed to exchange rate fluctuations until the value for the cheque is received.

A bank draft is similar to a cheque, with the primary difference being that it is drawn on a bank rather than a customer account. Because of this, bank drafts have a certainty of fate in that they will not be returned unpaid unless they have been counterfeited, fraudulently altered or stolen. It is for this reason that it can be a preferred method of payment instead of a cheque. However, it should be noted that the value clearing cycle for a bank draft is usually the same as that for a cheque.

Yes, your company can design its own company cheque. Access Guidelines for Printing and Using Company Cheques.

Debt Management

Mainstream bank and building societies remain fully committed to working constructively with their customers who are experiencing genuine difficulty with their mortgage repayments. The importance of early engagement is reflected in the four key action steps as follows that a borrower is advised to take:
  • Contact your mortgage lender as soon as possible if you’re having trouble with your mortgage repayments or you are concerned that this might be likely to happen
  • Look at your financial situation to make sure that you’re maximising your income and draw up a budget based on your most important spending commitments
  • Respond to letters or phone calls from your mortgage lender or their legal representative
  • If you are genuinely unable to make your mortgage repayments, ask your mortgage lender to explore with you one or more of the options available under the statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears
  • If you are experiencing difficulties meeting your mortgage or other debt repayments you should contact your mortgage lender and seek free and independent advice.  There are a number of organisations that provide independent advice free-of-charge.

StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange Debt Charity Ireland offers free and independent debt advice tailored to your situation. They can help you to prepare a Standard Financial Statement and recommend the best way forward for you to deal with your debts or mortgage arrears. Their free helpline is available Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm, or visit their website StepChange Freephone number: 1800 937 435.


If you need advice and assistance to deal with mortgage arrears or other debt, you can contact the State’s Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS). The MABS service is a free, independent, confidential and nonjudgemental service which is provided by skilled and experienced advisors for people who are in debt or at risk of getting into debt. The MABS Helpline, 0761 07 2000, is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm. The MABS face-to-face service is available in over 60 locations nationwide – see to find your nearest MABS office.

Insolvency Service of Ireland

The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is an independent, Government organisation set up to help sort out your personal debt problems and to get you back on track. If you owe money and cannot afford to repay it, one of the following options may be open to you:

Debt Relief Notice

You may apply for this through MABs or another approved body. If you have unsecured debts below €35,000, a low income and few assets – this gives you freedom from your debts normally after three years.

Debt Settlement Arrangement

You may apply for this through a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) – your outstanding unsecured debts are written off over a period of time, normally up to 5 years.

Personal Insolvency Arrangement

You may apply for this through a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP). This allows you to settle and/ or restructure your secured and unsecured debts over a period of time, normally up to 6 years. (A mortgage is a typical example of a secured debt.)


You may apply to the High Court to be declared bankrupt. Visit for further information.

Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5pm. Phone: 0761 07 4050 The Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline offers independent, confidential and high-quality information to borrowers in mortgage arrears or at pre-arrears stage. Click here for more information on the Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline The Helpline is provided for callers with mortgages on residential property only. It is targeted at people who have to date not taken any action to address their difficulties, for example, by approaching their lender.  The Helpline can provide information to mortgage holders on:
  • Existing mortgage solutions/alternative repayment arrangements
  • The availability of relevant State supports and the relevant documentation required
  • Dedicated arrears contact points of mortgage lenders
  • A lender’s appeal process, or it can direct caller to where this information can be located
  • The right to appeal a lender’s decision to the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Citizens Information Service

The Citizens Information Board is the statutory body which supports the provision of information, advice and advocacy on a broad range of public and social services. You can get information and advice face-to-face at your local Citizens Information Centre by phone through the Citizens Information Phone Service on 1890 777 121, or by clicking here to access the Citizens Information website. The Citizens Information Board and MABS recently launched the website, which aims to provide comprehensive information to anyone who faces losing their home because of mortgage repayment or rent payment difficulties.


Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC) is an independent charity that campaigns on legal issues. It provides an information and referral line (1890 350 250) and organises evening Legal Advice Centres throughout Ireland in conjunction with the Citizens Information Board. Click here to access the FLAC website.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s personal finance information website provides information and advice on a range of financial issues including managing your money, tackling debt and repossession and making a complaint. Access the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.

Dormant Accounts

Banking and Payments Federation Ireland provides a guide to dormant accounts. Download BPFI’s Guide to Dormant Accounts.

You can get dormant account application forms from banks or from An Post. Please ensure that you send the completed application form to the institution that you believe holds the dormant account, not Banking and Payments Federation Ireland. For further information on dormant accounts see our Dormant Accounts section here.


It is wise to take precautions when dealing with your money and to be aware of and alert to possible frauds or scams. The National Consumer Agency provides information and advice on how to protect yourself against fraud on its website. Access the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website for more information.

Download the BPFI Fraud Prevention Guide.

Banking and Payments Ireland (BPFI) has developed a Guide to Fraud Prevention which provides simple tips to consumers on avoiding identity theft, staying secure when shopping online, banking on the move, protecting payment card details, identifying counterfeit cash and how to spot fraudsters. is a website developed by Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and provides a range of information on payment card fraud and its prevention. The site has a specific section on Identify Fraud which you can access here

makeITsecure is a public-private partnership aimed at raising awareness of IT security amongst Irish internet users that is spearheaded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in the Republic and the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland. BPFI is a key partner in the campaign. To access the makeITsecure website click here

Access additional information on how to avoid identity theft from the SafeCard website.


Information on the range of loan products currently offered is available from each financial services provider by visiting your local branch, calling the telephone line and on their website. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission provides information on the type of credit available across a range of financial services providers. Access the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.

To apply for a loan you should contact the financial services provider directly.  Before you do so you may want to have your up to date financial information available including details of your current income.  The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission provides information and advice on how to apply for loans, including personal loans and car loans. Access the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.