Best Place to Buy Sterling in Ireland

If you are travelling outside the Eurozone it can be wise to bring some cash with you in the currency of the country you are visiting. There are a few places in Ireland where you can carry out currency exchange .  (These are sometimes called bureau de change.)

Of course –  the currency exchange rates  change every day  and there has been a lot of volatility with exchange rates since the UK/EU  referendum vote. We carried out a quick comparison of the main currency exchange companies on the same day to find out the  Best Place to Buy Sterling in Ireland .

We checked out how much it would cost in Euros to buy £700 GBP Sterling cash . We compared the figures from  the currency companies websites at roughly the same time on 26th July  2017. All the exchange companies we used in the comparison say they do not charge commission .

Best Deal
At the No1 Currency Website it would have cost you €802.38 for £700 GBP – and you can order and pay for it online and get it delivered to your door for free. The delivery is by An Post registered post and is fully insured . (Orders under €750 cost €6 for delivery) .  Minimum order is €400. The price shown is for payment by debit card, a credit card incurs 2% fee. Popular currencies such as Sterling and US Dollars should usually be delivered next day if ordered before noon. Other currencies will take 2 to 3 days. You can check their current exchange rates on the No1 Currency Website

2:  At they were quoting a price of €804.60 for £700 Sterling. You can reserve your currency online for collection and pay for it when you pick up. They only have 2 locations in central Dublin .

3:  An Post were quoting a price of €808.12 for buying £700 Pounds.
They don’t allow online ordering, you have to go to a Post Office branch that does currency exchange . This service  is only available in larger towns and cities – see here.An Post only sell Sterling and US Dollars.

4:  At ICE ( International Currency Exchange) – it would have cost you €833 for £700 Sterling. You can reserve your currency online and then collect it and pay for it at one of their Dublin Airport kiosks.

There is always the option of using an ATM abroad – see here for  details of ATM Charges Abroad .

We also did a recent comparison on the cost of buying US Dollars in Ireland

If you are looking for information about transferring larger amounts of money abroad in different currencies – you should read our article on some other currency transfer options



Fuel Allowance to be paid as two Lump Sums

Anyone getting the Winter Fuel Allowance from October this year will now have the option to receive the payment in two lump sum payments .
The lum sum option , if chosen , will result in a payment of €292.50 in October and another €292.50 in January 2018.

Up until now, the Fuel Allowance has always been paid on a weekly basis  – the current rate is €22.50 per week   for 26 weeks.

It is hoped that lum sums will be more useful to allow people to get cheaper fuel by buying in bulk where possible. Oil , coal and peat are usually cheaper when bought in larger amounts.

Employment and Social Protection Minister, Regina Doherty announced the change this week.  She said   ”  I believe that it should be used on a trial basis for the next fuel season to enable people to buy fuel in bulk and potentially avail of special offers or discounts on the purchase of the particular fuel that meets their specific needs.”

Total expenditure on the Fuel Allowance for 2016/2017 is estimated  to be  €229 million, benefiting about. 376,000 households.

More about Winter Fuel Allowance and who is eligible here.

Some households could also  save hundreds of Euro by switching energy provider. Find out which provider has the best deals here


An Post Smart Current Account Charges

An Post recently launched a new current bank account called the “Smart Current Account”.  Their press release called it a “game changer”  and highlighted the MoneyBack feature , claiming that customers could  save €660 a year.

We have taken a closer look at this An Post account to find out more about the charges and the potential money back savings – but it doesn’t really look that good to us.

Monthly Charge – the account has a €5 a month maintenance charge which cannot be avoided . This works out at €60 a year and  is the most expensive  “maintenance fee” of any current account in Ireland .
On top of this there is a 60c charge for each use of an ATM or for withdrawing cash (Note – one withdrawal at the Post Office branch each week is free).
You can see how these charges mount up and compare them to other bank accounts here in our Comparison of Bank Charges

The options for money back on your spending with this An Post account are fairly limited – with only a few selected retailers involved.

For example – you get 5% of your debit card spend at Lidl back (only if your order is over €25). You would need to spend €100 a month at Lidl to cover the maintenance fee. If you are already a regular shopper at Lidl it will be possible.

You can also get 10% of your SSE Airtricity  bills back if you pay by direct debit from your An Post account. This could be worth on average about €160 a year on the typical dual fuel bill.  BUT – you have to go on the standard rates with SSE to get this cashback – and you could easily save more than €160 on fuel bills in a year  by going with a cheaper deal from another supplier.  (See more here about Cheapest Energy Providers )

There are also moneyback offers with Elverys (8%) , Kennys Books (5%) , OutdoorLiving (5%) , Sunway (5%) – none of which will be regular shopping places for most people.

Overall – this An Post account seems to be a potentially expensive option. People on low incomes would be better off using the EBS current account. (See Comparison)

(You can only apply for your  An Post Smart Account in person at  a  Post Office.)