Irish Banking Culture Board launches guide to Basic Bank Account supporting financial inclusion and access to banking

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Irish Banking Culture Board launches guide to Basic Bank Account supporting financial inclusion and access to banking

IBCB announces partnership with Safe Ireland for financial literacy for people impacted by domestic violence 

8 February 2022: The Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) today launched a Guide to the Basic Bank Account providing essential guidance for customers, and particularly customers in a vulnerable position, to apply for a bank account to support their inclusion and accessibility to banking in Ireland. 

A basic bank account is a current account that provides essential daily banking services, which all residents of the EU have the right to, no matter what their financial situation. The basic bank account financially empowers customers in a vulnerable position, supporting peoples’ financial freedom and providing dignity and access to a better life for many. 

IBCB undertook qualitive research in 2020 to better understand the needs and wants of people in accessing and utilising banking services. In doing so, it sought the views of organisations that support marginalised and vulnerable groups who experience difficulties accessing banking products. The research identified a clear need to raise awareness of the basic bank account as a first step towards financial inclusion across society.

The guide has been translated into Arabic, French, Lithuanian, Polish, Pashto, Urdu, Portuguese, and Mandarin, removing language as a barrier to many who are seeking to apply for a basic bank account.  All retail banks in Ireland, including IBCB member banks, provide a basic bank account with the same core features; receiving money, making payments, making lodgements and withdrawals, and debit card.

Speaking about the launch of the Guide, Board Member of the IBCB, Angela Black, said: “This guide is of vital importance and a positive response from the banking sector to help prevent financial exclusion for many people in Ireland. The Guide to the Basic Bank Account is a user-friendly source of key information to support customers.”

Angela Black continued: “Banks have listened and are responding to the needs of those who have found opening a bank account challenging, due to their specific personal circumstances. By providing this helpful guide, which promotes an important service, banks are demonstrating in a practical manner, their support for marginalised members of our community, those dealing with domestic or societal challenges that have impacted their lives, and those excluded by the language barrier.”

In addition to publishing this guide, IBCB is partnering with TASC and Safe Ireland in providing funding, banking expertise and support with bespoke financial resilience training to victims of domestic abuse. This partnership will, we believe, have an impact nationwide, delivering valuable training throughout Safe Ireland’s national network of 39 organisations. 

Speaking about the Basic Bank Account Guide launch, CEO of Safe Ireland, Mary McDermott, said: “Safe Ireland warmly welcomes the publication of a Guide to the Basic Bank Account by the Irish Banking Culture Board. Central to intimate coercion and the use of violence is the desire to access and control finance. It is a well-evidenced means of abuse and often engenders financial illiteracy in those targeted.” 

“Frequently, the disempowering effects of financial illiteracy become a part of that cycle of abuse. This guide is an important, very clear support for people who find themselves locked out from financial access and in challenging, vulnerable positions. They will now have a simple guide to give them information, support, and confidence to develop monetary know-how, and move forward on their financial journey. Such skill will make a significant difference to their lives.”

Mary McDermott added: “We are very happy to work with these innovative developments and, with the IBCB and TASC, to provide roll-out parallel support with financial literacy training. The IBCB Guide to the Basic Bank Account will offer far-reaching and positive support to all Safe Ireland member organisations who provide specialist domestic violence refuge and support services across the country.” 

Safe Ireland estimates that when this training is delivered to service providers across their national network, it will benefit at least 11,000 women and over 2,500 children per year. It is widely recognised that the provision of targeted knowledge and skills in money management are a significant benefit to service users, reducing vulnerability. Enhancing the financial independence of victims of domestic violence directly creates capacity to act and to leave abusive homes – to survive and thrive.

Below is the link to access the guide in all languages:


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