Charlie Weston: Don't take out a Euro 2016 bank loan without checking out all options
If you're booking late, don't get kicked into taking out a Euro 2016 bank loan without checking out all options including your credit union
Banks and credit unions are going all out to lure in football fans with loan offers ahead of the Euros kicking off next week. Banks have generally been cutting loan rates as they try to attract more customers, and have been targeting the Green Army for months now.
And credit unions are expecting a surge of loan applications from football fans heading to the Euros in France in the coming days and weeks.
The local lenders say they were open to applications from members who want to experience the football extravaganza.
Fans who went to Euro 2012 in Poland are understood to have travelled on a tight budget, with spending of between €2,000 and €3,000.
For this tournament fans are expected to spend more.
But lovers of the beautiful game would be wise to be wary of banks.
AIB was accused of losing the run of itself recently by offering loans of up to €30,000 for fans to go to the tournament.
The bank can approve the loans and allow them to be drawn down within three hours if an application is accepted.
AIB says on its website: "You can apply, get approval and draw down the loan entirely online in three hours."
For a loan of €5,000 from a bank you can expect to pay anything between 7.5pc and 14pc in interest.
AIB charges 13pc, which means borrowing €5,000 over three years will mean monthly repayments of €167.
The total cost of this credit will be just over €1,000, according to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Bank of Ireland charges 7.5pc for the same-sized loan. But to get this rate you must hold a Bank of Ireland personal current account, and meet the bank's specified criteria.
With KBC Bank, the loan rate is 14pc, which means the total cost of a €5,000 loan over three years will be €1,080. Monthly repayments will amount to €167.
Ulster Bank offers loan rates of 10.9pc, giving monthly repayments of €162.
With Permanent TSB there are two options for loans. You can get a traditional loan with a rate of 14.3pc, with monthly repayments over the three years of €170.
Alternatively, you can option for what the bank calls a 'Save and Borrow Loan'. This has an interest rate of 13pc, for monthly repayments of €167. The catch is that you have to continue to save while you repay the loan.
You have to have at least six months' savings as security against the loan. If you fall into arrears on the loan there is a loan arrears charge of 1pc per month on the amount of the arrears.
A better bet if you do not have the cash to fund the trip would be to check out your credit union. They have more than €5bn available to lend, said a spokeswoman for the Irish League of Credit Unions, the largest representative group for the lenders.
Interest rates at each credit union vary, but the rates are often lower than those charged by banks.
Take the Health Services Staffs one. It has five loan rates varying from 5.1pc (annual percentage rate) to 8.9pc.
With a credit union there are no set-up/administration fees and no penalties for early repayment.
If you are between the ages of 17 and 24, Member First in North Dublin is offering loans with rates as low as 3.03pc.
A League spokeswoman said they have historically had a very good relationship with travelling football fans and Euro 2016 will be no exception.