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Personal Finance

Your monthly round-up: March 2020

Your monthly round-up: March 2020
Rob Flynn

Rob Flynn

Staff Writer

Welcome to your March bulletin, 2020!

What a year this month has been.

In March there was only one story that dominated the national and international headlines: the spread of the coronavirus, or Covid-19. This month has been about as unprecedented and unforgettable as we are likely to experience in our lifetimes.

The spread of the coronavirus has now had a global impact and this month saw a large amount of the Irish workforce unfortunately lose their jobs, while many more were encouraged to work from home where possible in order to curb the spread of the virus. However, not without hope, March also witnessed a landmark decision in support of those under financial strain due to the outbreak, as the five main banks in Ireland agreed a suite of measures to help struggling businesses and personal customers.

With more time spent at home over the next couple of weeks it’s important to keep things in perspective; it will require compassion and understanding, especially on those days stuck inside with family! But we will get through this together. And as March transitions into April the days will get longer and brighter, and like we said last month, more sun in Ireland is always a welcome sight.

In case you've been too busy this March and missed out on any personal finance news, here are some of the biggest stories that happened in the worlds of energy, broadband, banking, and more!

Without further ado, your March newsletter!

The energy price war continued into March as we saw PrePayPower, Bord Gáis Energy as well as Flogas drop their prices across gas and electricity.

The month got off to a good start as PrePayPower announced price cuts of 2.5% and 11.5% off electricity and gas respectively, giving savings of up to €100 - read the full story here.

Not to be outdone, Bord Gáis Energy followed suit by dropping its prices for customers for the second time in under six months - read more here.

If that weren’t enough, Flogas turned up the heat in the price war by increasing its discounts for new customers for the second time in the space of two months.

With all the great discounts on energy being announced in March we decided to help you out! That’s why we did a round up of 6 of the best dual fuel deals on the market right now.

The coronavirus continued to have a major impact across all sectors as March drew on, telecommunications being no exception to the rule.

March saw Eir announce to customers that it would be putting its new subscription charge for its email service on hold due to the outbreak of the virus - read the full details here.

This was at the same time that streaming giants Netflix and YouTube announced they would be reducing the streaming quality of their content across Europe in order to prevent the internet from breaking.

And as the effects of Covid-19 began making themselves known to customers, we took a look at what measures the household names were taking to help their customers at this trying time. You can read up on how broadband, phone, and TV providers are responding to customers’ needs in light of Covid-19 here.

The banking world has not been able to stand still for one moment this month as the impact of the coronavirus sent shockwaves throughout the sector in Ireland.

One of the month’s big news stories was the announcement that AIB would begin charging current account customers new maintenance and transaction fees for the use of its services, despite the onset of Covid-19. However, after much public scrutiny the bank made the decision to suspend the introduction of the planned fees due to the outbreak of the virus in Ireland. You can get up to date on that story here.

With people’s attention once again on the high current account fees that we are charged in Ireland, we looked at 9 simple ways to reduce your current account fees, an invaluable guide to help you save money in these tough times.

This extraordinary time in which we are living through is unfortunately placing an undue strain on people’s pockets. If you are considering taking out a personal loan make sure you’re aware of the best rates available right now - you can find out more here.

The mortgage space was just as busy this month as many people were hit with the sudden and harsh impact of the coronavirus, adversely affecting people’s ability to make mortgage and loan repayments.

After the Government announced measures for those in financial difficulty, we took a look at the mortgage payment break options available to customers from the five major retail banks, as well as the other supports that are available should customers need them.

And although it may not be the best time to apply for a mortgage, with more time spent at home, why not read up on these 8 essential things to know before applying.

March saw many people endeavouring to resolve issues with airlines as Covid-19 inevitably grounded flights across the country. In light of these unforeseen circumstances we helped to highlight your rights as a consumer in the increasingly likely event your flights are cancelled.

And while it’s certain that most holiday destinations will witness a drop-off in tourism this year, if you’re still looking to book a holiday over the coming weeks then remember to keep these six tips in mind when booking a holiday this year.

We had a busy media schedule in March with both our Head of Communications, Daragh Cassidy and bonkers.ie CEO, David Kerr appearing on local and national stations to discuss a range of issues affecting consumers, from banking to the adverse effects of the coronavirus.

Daragh joined Pat Kenny on Newstalk to discuss bank charges - you can listen back to that interview here.

While David chatted with Mary Wilson on Drivetime to discuss working from home in light of Covid-19.

And you can listen back to more of our interviews from March here.

We’re giving away two premium tickets for Harry Styles’ show on 19th March 2021 in the 3Arena. The show was scheduled for 19th April 2020 but has been postponed due to the coronavirus.

To be in with a chance of winning keep an eye on our social media channels: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to find details on how to enter!

While it seems like a long time ago now, we celebrated the bonkers.ie National Consumer Awards 2020 at the end of February and we'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners on the night, with a special shout out to Vodafone Ireland who took away the Grand Prix for Best Consumer Business 2020.

Take a look at our highlights reel from the night and see how the awards unfolded at the stunning Round Room in the Mansion House.

Did you know?

Lenders are working with the Central Bank to ensure that the credit record of those who decide to avail of of a payment break isn't adversely affected.

Why bonkers.ie?

With energy prices falling it's well worth your while to switch and save. Right now the average energy user can save up to €432 when they change energy supplier - see what you could save today by comparing with bonkers.ie.

We hope you enjoyed your February bulletin. If there are any topics you’d like us to cover on our blog, just tweet us @bonkers_ie with your suggestions.

To get up-to-date news about price changes and tips on how to lower your household bills, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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