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Examiner1

Site claims it can save you €500

LET'S try and save some money. To be precise, let's save €500 in 15 minutes on electricity bills, credit cards and bank fees.

That's what a new website launched yesterday is claiming consumers can do by logging onto www.bonkers.ie.

First up - electricity. Total savings once I entered my details: Nil. That's because I have already opted for Bord Gais duel fuel direct debit.

If, however, I was still with the ESB the website told me that I'd be paying 16% extra a year for my electricity.

After this it's onto credit cards. The website lays out in a clear way the various fees that accompany 20 different cards on the market. It offers links to apply for a card that you feel suits you and also details the fees and charges.

For anybody lucky enough to have €10,000 lying around, the website points out that if this money was in a standard demand account earning 0.01% AER it will earn just €1 in interest a year.

However, this customer can earn up to €330 a year with competitive instant access demand accounts available from Nationwide UK, Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank, it said.

For regular savers it shows that the top rate available is 4.0% from Bank of Ireland, meaning a customer can earn €78 in interest for one year by depositing €300 every month.

For non-savers, the future is not so dull either with the website showing that interest of 2% is paid on balances up to €1,500 on the PTSB switch current account, which is around €30 a year.

However, highlighting some stings that may be encountered, it points out that the AIB standard current account charges a €4.50 quarterly maintenance fee, 20 cent for ATM transactions and 30 cent for teller transactions. The Bank of Ireland standard current account charges a €11.40 quarterly maintenance fee, it said.

The loan section of the website allows users to put in how much money you want to borrow. Let's say €3,000 over 36 months. The results show a difference in total repayments of €158.53.

Opting for the National Irish Bank variable loan, a borrower will pay back €3,531.07 over the three years and €3,689.60 with the Bank of Ireland personal loan. Increase that loan to €20,000, however, over five years and the difference on the total amount repayable is €2,714.25. The loan will total €25,188.92 with Ulster Bank and €27,903.17 with Blue Cube.

Managing director of the website, David Kerr, said staff are constantly scouring the market for the best deals out there. "For example, switching to a no-fee, interest paying current account could net customers over €100 a year, taking advantage of the best savings rates could add over €300 to that, and for electricity customers that have never switched, average savings of over €120 are possible," he said.

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