The island of Ireland is divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. These are parts of 2 different nations. Ireland uses the Euro (EUR) as its currency, while Northern Ireland is part of the UK and uses the Great Britain Pound sterling (GBP). Here is a look at some of the challenges posed by this two-currency system, and the solutions.
Bilateral trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland is important. Ireland is Northern Ireland’s leading trading partner outside Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales). The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) reported in 2018 that Northern Ireland exports GBP 4.2 billion (EUR 4.69 billion) in goods to Ireland. This accounts for 37% of the territory’s international trade.
This trading volume is expected to grow larger in the future with the Irish Sea border policy. This policy became effective from January 1, 2021. It put some restrictions for trading between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This will increase the importance of trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The two-currency system makes this trade somewhat more complicated. Ways to handle the complication include using online systems and services which offer seamless currency conversion and cross-border payments.
Financial regulation is a little more complicated by the two-currency system. Companies such as SSE Airtricity and Dunnes Stores operate in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. They must cope with differing financial regulations in the 2 territories. Northern Ireland follows the UK banking sector regulation controlled by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). On the other side the Central Bank of Ireland defines Ireland’s banking regulations. Firms must manage their accounts in both currencies. The dual currency system makes auditing a bit more complex. To handle this issue companies use multi-currency saving services offered by many banks, such as the Bank of Ireland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and HSBC. Organizations often engage qualified auditing service providers to audit foreign currency transactions under international standards (ASC 830 and IFRS).
Migration for work
Migration and work are affected by the dual currency system. According to the 2018 Annual Population Survey by the UK’s Office of National Statistics there are 380,000 Irish-born people in the UK. Unlike the citizens of other EU countries who are affected by Brexit, the Irish can still work and live in the UK, including in Northern Ireland. This regulation is reciprocal in that UK citizens can also work and live in Ireland. The regulations simplify border crossings between Ireland and Northern Ireland. However the dual currency system presents some challenges for migrant workers. Irish nationals working in Northern Ireland earn in GBP and send Euros back home. Similarly UK citizens employed in Northern Ireland earn in Euros and send GBPs back home. This requires Mandatory currency conversion at the applicable exchange rates. The conversion attracts additional charges and fees imposed by banks.
A unique situation is faced by cross border workers (aka frontier workers) who cross the border twice each day to work. They must use both GBP and EUR almost every day for commuting, working, and daily expenses. Currency exchange services and dual currency accounts can help in these situations. Some banks with ATMs in both Ireland and the UK allow cash withdrawal in local currencies. Some banks charge ‘applicable fees’ while in some cases, such as the Bank of Ireland ATM card, without any fee.
The invisible border between Ireland and Northern Ireland makes travel easy. However travelers and tourists must take into account the dual currency system. International credit and debit card services such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in both countries. Many migrants living in Ireland choose a more efficient solution in the form of the Ria Money Transfer App. The fast, safe, reliable, and cost-effective service is cheaper than bank transfers and significantly more cost effective than using credit cards.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.
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