Tuesday 24 April 2018

Save money on: bank current account fees, gas bills, shop insurance, credit cards whoopsies and apartment cover

National Irish Bank is now the Despicable Me of banking. This is the bank that's whacked up variable rates on its mortgages by a full per cent despite the fact that the ECB cut rates two weeks ago.

Evil or what? While NIB is socking it to its variable rate mortgage customers, its current account clients are basking in the sunshine. Banks are cranking up the pressure on current accounts. You can pay a quarterly fee or pay every time you use an ATM or make a transaction.

We're comparing quarterly fees and not the pay-as-you-go accounts. And yes, we know that there are perks for certain accounts... but not everyone has a loan or an overdraft that qualifies. Figures from the Financial Regulator.

Best: National Irish Bank Easy Account zero

Avoid: Ulster Bank €168 per year

Saving: €168

contact: www.nationalirishbank.ie or local branches

Gas bills

Excellent news! If you are struggling to pay your ridiculously expensive gas bill, those wonderful people at Bord Gais have come up with a brilliant new wheeze. Customers can get cheap tickets at the Grand Canal Theatre because the semi-State company is using some of its bumper profits to sponsor the venue. Hooray for cut-price tickets to see Richard Clayderman, Psychic Sally or the Russian State Ballet. Er... what about cutting bills instead? Bord Gais is far too dear for gas -- even if you've switched to its wintersaver tariff and pay by direct debit. For someone spending €1,500 per year on gas or €125 per month. Quotes from bonkers.ie

Best: Flogasnaturalgas.ie direct debit discount €1,306.39

Avoid: Bord Gais wintersaver with direct debit €1,500

Saving: €183.61 per year

contact: www.flogasnaturalgas.ie or 1850 306 800

Shop insurance

Commercial insurance for a florist in Cork City with buildings cover of €500,000, fixtures and fittings €10,000, stock in trade of €15,000. Quotes from www.chromeinsurance.ie.

Best: Zurich €999 per year

Avoid: Aviva €1,664

Saving: €665.00 a year

contact: www.zurichinsurance.ie or 1890 200 105

Credit cards whoopsies

Late payment fees are just another way for horrible credit card companies to get their pound of flesh. Set up a direct debit to pay off the minimum amount each month to avoid these horrible little surprises. Or just cut up your card and perform an exorcism. NIB has a really scary new penalty for people who go over their limit. It's 9 per cent of the transaction value above the credit card limit. Banks aren't cuddly and nice. We're comparing late payment fees. Tesco has the lightest cock-up fees of all the providers. MBNA -- which is also behind the EBS and One Direct cards -- is downright cruel.

Best: Tesco €6.35

Avoid: MBNA €15.24

Saving: €8.89

contact: www.tesco.ie or local stores

Apartment cover

Things are getting pretty grim when your sofa is worth almost as much as your apartment in Longford. Most apartments are covered under your annual management fees, but make sure to check. If so, you'll only need to get the contents covered. Cover of €55,000 for a couple in Longford with no claims and a €300 excess.

Best: 123.ie €137

Avoid: Zurich €320

Saving: €183 a year

contact: www.123.ie or 1890 221 123

Save enough for a Plain Lazy 20-inch BMX bike

The winners of the Gift Grub tickets were Stephen Devine, Michael Breen, Colette Hudson, and Jean Kidd.

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