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Know Your Rights June 17th

Know your rights: Basic bank account                                               June 17, 2021

I am on a low income and I need to open a bank account. Some banks offer free accounts to people who are a certain age or lodge a certain amount of money but I don’t qualify. Is there another option?

You can open a type of account called a basic bank account.

A basic bank account is a current account that has no maintenance fees or charges for everyday banking for at least one year.

To get a basic bank account you must:

  • Not have another payment or current account with a bank in Ireland
  • Be legally resident in the EU
  • Be over 18 years of age (for most banks)
  • Provide proof of identity and address and meet the bank’s criteria for opening an account

A basic bank account comes with a debit card. You can also set up direct debits and standing orders and register for online banking.

There are no charges for day-to-day banking, but there may still be charges for things like replacing your debit card, bank drafts, international services and missed payments. You should discuss this with the bank before opening your account.

You cannot get a cheque book or an overdraft with a basic account.

At the end of your first year with a basic bank account, your bank will review your account. If the total amount lodged into the account within the year is less than the national minimum wage, you will continue to get fee-free banking for a limited time.

If you go over this limit, or if you have had a basic account for a total of 5 years, the account will be converted to a normal current account and you will pay fees and charges.

If you want to open a basic bank account, you should contact one of the main banks to find out how to apply.

You can find more information about managing your money and opening a bank account on the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) website mabs.ie

Know Your Rights: Springboard+

I’m unemployed and I want to return to work.  Are there free courses I can take to develop my skills so that I am more employable?

Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including information and communications technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.

You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

  • You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
  • You are signing for social insurance credits
  • You are on an Employment support scheme such as Community Employment or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply to up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.

If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:

•          Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

•          Email Bray CIC at bray@citinfo.ie – anytime

A limited number of appointments are being made in Bray Citizens Information Centre

You can  find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday,
    9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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