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Image Your monthly round-up: July 2018
Image Robyn Hamilton
Staff Writer

Absolutely everything you missed in personal finance in July 2018!

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot more bad news than good this month when it comes to the world of personal finance but hey - at least the sun is still shining… right? 

Here’s your July bulletin; a quick monthly round-up of the latest news and savings tips from the worlds of energy, broadband, banking and more. 

Let’s get to it!


So, last month we had only just clicked the send button on the June Bulletin when the news broke that Electric Ireland had announced a significant price hike, following SSE Airtricity’searlier example… 

But did it stop there? We wish! The entire first half of July was peppered with unwelcome and significant price increase announcements from the likes of FlogasEnergiaPanda PowerPinergyBord Gáis Energy and finally PrePayPower bringing the total number of suppliers to hike their prices up to 8 out of a possible 10! 

Aside from SSE Airtricity’s increases which came into effect on July 14th, all of the other increases will take effect in August, bringing the price of annual household energy bills up well in excess of €100 in many cases... 

All of the suppliers blame the need to hike their prices on increasing wholesale energy prices. But what does that even mean anyway? Ireland has the 4th highest energy prices in the EU, so we decided to investigate why that is… 

If you’re despairing at the prospect of bigger bills this winter, remember that the easiest and quickest way to offset price increases is to consistently switch energy suppliers every 12 months. A new survey from the CRU revealed that savvy switchers could have saved over €1,800 over the last fours years by doing so.

This month, our Head of Communications, Daragh Cassidy featured on RTÉ’s Morning IrelandNewstalk and Midwest Radio to give his take on why energy is so expensive in Ireland. 

Good news this month for both current and prospective mortgage holders. Both Ulster Bank and KBC Bank made a number of cuts to their fixed-rate mortgages! 

The most competitive fixed-rate mortgage available to first-time buyers on the market right now is Ulster Bank’s 2.3% rate on a two-year term. 

KBC Bank also made some significant cuts to various fixed-rate mortgages by as much as 0.55% - cuts that could save you potentially thousands over the course of your loan term so it’s well worth running a mortgage rate comparison, both if you’re a first-time buyer or to see if you’re eligible to switch to a lower rate! 

Recent rate cuts notwithstanding, it’s worth noting that recent figures from The Central Bank reveal that we’re still paying a lot more than our European counterparts. For example, in Finland, which has a similar population to Ireland, mortgage holders enjoy fixed rates of just 0.8%! Makes you think doesn’t it? 

Let’s not forget that there are also a bunch of other costs you need to consider besides your monthly repayments when applying for a mortgage… 

All things considered, there couldn’t be more reasons to make sure you’re on the lowest possible rate available to you. Find out just how much you could save by switching

Credit card company Avantcard has decided it’s high time that someone came along to shake up the frankly drab credit card rewards scene with its new ‘Avantages’ rewards scheme. 

With ‘Avantages’ customers will gain access to regular competitions, prize draws, and discounts from over 350 retailers both online and in-store including Asos, M&S, Circle K, Easons, Nike, Tesco, Sky, to name but a few. 

The launch offering seems impressive and it looks like it exceeds most of the other credit card reward schemes on the market. Would it tempt you to sign up?

Virgin Media hit a big landmark earlier this month and marked the occasion with a celebration in Arklow, the location of the latest of 900,000 premises to be covered by the broadband provider. 

In other news, Pure Telecom revealed the results of an interesting consumer survey concerning data privacy on social media. It found that less than a third of Irish people trust social media to protect their personal data and a significant percentage of people deleted one or more social media profiles in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

That's all folks!

We hope you enjoyed the July bulletin. Make sure to check us out on social media and YouTube for all the latest news and tips.