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Personal Finance

Your monthly round-up: June 2019

Conor Dever

Conor Dever

Staff Writer

It's July. And would you believe it the year is nearly halfway done. 

There is always that heatwave that's promised but until we see the sun physically in the sky and hear our bawny Irish flesh crackling like bacon, we won't believe it. 

Anyway - back to business - money, and helping you save some. It’s all below, if you can find time away from watching Love Island that is.

Personal Finance

With the Irish summer off to a typical dismal start, thoughts up and down the country have probably turned to planning a holiday to sunnier and warmer climes. But if you’re planning a trip abroad, what are the best ways to reduce your foreign exchange fees? 

Off the back of a poor local and European election result, this month saw the Government launch its new Climate Action Plan. How much it will cost us to pivot our economy onto a more carbon-neutral footing is quite a difficult question to answer. So we read the plan and figured out six ways it might affect your pocket, either for better or worse. 

You might have seen a meme of Dave Chappelle doing the rounds saying “modern problems require modern solutions.” Well, it looks like a group of people who took this to heart were scammers, as the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland revealed that nearly half of young adults have been the targets of fraud scams on a monthly basis.

Energy

Not long on the heels of Just Energy leaving the Irish market, there was some good news for consumers as Iberdrola, a Spanish company which trades as Scottish Power in Great Britain, entered the market. Extra competition in the sector is always good to see, but it is Iberdrola’s green energy policies that have caught our attention.

Banking

To say the last couple of months have been a turbulent time for current account holders would be an understatement. The landscape of banking is definitely changing with digital banks like N26 and Revolut rapidly gaining market share due in large part to their excellent interfaces. Despite this extra competition, the traditional banks like Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB have increased their fees recently. Go figure! So it was great to see KBC make it easier for its customers to bank for free. 

Speaking of digital-first banks, there have been some interesting developments for consumers on that front too. This month we saw N26 launch its new Metal card while its competitor Revolut has finally added Apple Pay in Ireland, which means you can now add your Revolut Mastercard to your digital wallet.

Mortgages

There was some more bad news for first-time buyers this month as we found out, barring Greece, Ireland has the highest mortgage interest rates in the Eurozone. Finland had the lowest but if you want to know why Ireland's rates are so high, and what you can do to combat the high rates, make sure to check out this article here.

Broadband

We are currently in the golden age of television, and there are some great shows out there. However, one show which completely captivated us from start to finish was the HBO and SKY show Chernobyl. Following the runaway success of the show, SKY has announced a new TV studio and promised to double funding for new productions. We only have two words; more, please. 

ComReg released a report this month on customer service in the communications sector which made for some interesting reading. It continued to ring alarm bells for Eir who fared very badly and disimproved on the last quarter. While Three proved best in mobile for customer service, Virgin Media took top spot for broadband.

You said...

Earlier this month the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association (ISME) called on the Government to allow workers pay 20% tax on incomes up to €58,306, which is one and a half times the average industrial wage, as opposed to just €35,300 at present. We went on to Twitter to see what you thought, and asked, “Do you agree? Do you think the Government should tax middle earners less or put the money into funding public services instead?” 

It looks like you do because 71% of you said ‘yes’ to lower taxes with only 29% of respondents answering that they would prefer to see the money go into public services.

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