Royal Bank of Scotland, which owns Ulster Bank, cancelled its corporate entertainment programme at Wimbledon, as it dealt with the ongoing IT crisis at the bank. RBS guests still dined on strawberries and champagne for the first two days of the tournament while Ulster Bank customers were banging their heads against walls trying to get money.
It hasn't been a good week for banking customers as interest rates paid on savings accounts have been quietly cut again. Ulster Bank is taking the mickey with its easy access account. For €10,000 in a reef it out quick or demand account, it'll pay you just a euro over a year. Quite possibly the most useless savings account on the planet.
Best: KBC -- 3.25 per cent
Avoid: Ulster Bank Easy access -- 0.01 per cent
Saving: €324 per year
contact: www.kbc.ie or 1800 515253
Man in a Van insurance
Small business is getting it with both barrels. There's nothing coming from the banks and all the Government seems to be offering is a series of initiatives...or glossy brochures. Motor insurance is savagely expensive, especially for commercial vehicles, so shop around. Cover for a €15,000-valued Hiace diesel van for a 45-year-old Galway male with a spotless record. Excess €300 and parked off road.
Best: Chill.ie -- €455
Avoid: Aviva -- €749
Saving: €294 a year
contact: www.chill.ie or 1890 302 020
Home phone & broadband combo
Smart Telecom -- remember them? -- have been jolted back into life. The firm is now giving UPC a firm poke in the eye with its new whopper broadband deal. For someone using 100 minutes of local calls and another 100 minutes of mobile calls plus some pretty racy broadband. Average monthly cost quotes from www.callcosts.ie. Bite Smart Telecom's hand off!
Best: Smart Telecom -- €33.06 per month
Avoid: Eircom Next Generation basic & talktime offpeak -- €59.25
contact: www.smarttelecom.ie or 1850 945 549
Oil prices have fallen by 30 per cent in three months. But petrol stations are only slowly beginning to chip away at the crazy prices charged for fuel. For every $10 drop in oil prices, petrol should drop by around 8.5 cent per litre. And pigs will do loop the loops over Kinsale. Check out pumps.ie for the latest prices. For 60 litres in west Dublin last week.
Best: Discount Fuels, Clonsilla -- €1.568 per litre
Avoid: Texaco, Lucan bypass -- €1.609
EU breakdown cover
Looks like smuggling will be making a bit of a comeback as we're too poor to buy stuff in Ireland anymore. Taking the car to Europe comes with its own risks, so some form of breakdown cover is rather useful. Breakdowncover.ie is a bit less flashy than the AA but it's dirt cheap. Its annual policy is cheaper than the single trip deal from the AA.
Best: Breakdowncover.ie -- €84
Avoid: AA Ireland European Cover -- €132
contact: Breakdowncover.ie or 0818 44 44 48
Sunday Indo Business