Christmas 2018 Social Welfare and Pensions Payment Arrangements

Welfare and Pensions Payment Arrangements  for Christmas 2018 – including Child Benefit.


 All of the Department of Social Protection’s offices will be closed on Tuesday 25th December, Wednesday 26th December 2018 and Tuesday 1st January 2019.

All the Banks in Ireland will close on Monday 24th December 2018 and will not re-open until  Friday 28th December 2018 .
Post Offices will close at 1pm on Dec 24th and will not reopen until Friday 28th December.
Post Offices and Banks will also be closed on 1st January 2019
There will be no mail delivery or collection on December 25th ,26th or 27th 2018.


Social Welfare Payment Arrangements for Christmas 2018

    • 1. Payments for People who are paid weekly and collect their payments at Post Offices.

      • All people who are paid weekly and collect their payments at Post Offices or are paid by cheque – will receive their normal payment in the week commencing December 17th –  plus an advance/”double” payment for the following week.
      • There will be no “regular” weekly payments during the week beginning Monday 24th December 2018 .
      • Any weekly payments due for collection on 31st Dec will be available on 31st Dec. (No change)
      • Any weekly payments due for collection on Tuesday 1st January 2019 will be available for collection on Monday 31st December 2018.

  • 2. Benefits Paid Monthly for Collection at Post Office

    • Payments due for collection on 25th or 26th  December will be available on 21st December
    • Payments due for collection on 27th Dec will be available on 24th Dec
    • Payments due on 28th and 31st Dec will be available on 28th Dec.
    • Payments due 1st Jan 2019 will be available on 31st Dec
    • Child Benefit payments due for collection on Tuesday 1 January 2019 may be collected on 31st December 2018.

  • 3 . Payments for People who get Weekly Payments Direct to Bank Accounts.
    • All people who are paid weekly into bank accounts – will receive their normal payment plus an advance payment for the following week. This double payment will be made in the week beginning Monday 17th December 2018. There will be no payments in the week commencing 24th Dec.
    • The following exceptions apply... Maternity Benefit , Paternity Benefit and Health & Safety Benefit will all get an advance payment on Friday 21st December.
    • All Weekly Payments due in accounts  on Mon 31st Dec will be in bank accounts on Fri 28th Dec
    • Weekly payments due on in accounts on Tuesday 1st January 2019 will be credited to accounts on Mon  31st December 2018.
    • Normal payment arrangements  will resume from Tuesday, 8th January 2019.
    • See item (6) below for information about casual Jobseeker claimants.

4. People who get Monthly Payments into Banks :

  • Monthly  Payments due in accounts on 25th or 26th  December will be there on 21st December
  • Monthly Payments due in accounts on 27th Dec will be there on 24th Dec.
  • Monthly Payments due in accounts on 28th and 31st Dec will be there on 28th Dec.
  • Monthly Payments due  in accounts on 1st Jan 2019 will be there on 31st Dec (Includes Child Benefit)

5. Child Benefit will be in bank accounts by Tuesday Jan 1st 2019 . (It may be there earlier –  in some cases on 29th or 31st Dec)

6. Casual Jobseekers

If you claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit on a casual basis, you will need to return your dockets for the signing weeks ending 10/11 December, 18/19 December, and 25/26 December to your local Intreo Centre or Branch Office on or before 10 December 2018.

Where dockets are provided by this date, two payments covering the signing weeks ending 18 and 25 December or 19 and 26 December will be paid into accounts on Friday, 21 December.

Normal payment arrangements for casual jobseekers will resume from Tuesday, 8th January 2019.


Note: All these dates have been  confirmed by the Department .


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Taxi Fares in Ireland

Metered Taxi fares in Ireland must not be charged at more than the national maximum taxi fare . The National Transport Authority (“NTA”) sets the maximum taxi fare . (NTA took over the responsibilities of the Commission for Taxi Regulation).
Only metetred taxi journey fares are controlled . Hackney and limousine journeys are not controlled – they are pre-booked and, therefore, both passenger and driver are aware of the journey details and the fare agreed for the journey in advance.

There are about 15,500 registered taxis  in the whole of Ireland.


The Initial taxi charge is fixed and covers any distance up to 500 metres or time period up to 85 seconds. After that, the fare is calculated based on the distance travelled or, if the speed drops below 21.2 km/h, the journey time. See the table below for details.

You can ask for a discount before engaging a taxi. Taxi drivers have the right to charge the maximum amount calculated on the meter, but they can charge less if they want.

Maximum Metered Taxi Fares in Ireland

Time PeriodsInitial Charge for first 500m or 85 seconds)Charge for the next 14.5km (or 41 mins)Charge after 15km
Between 08:00h and 20:00h Monday to Saturday, except public holidays€3.80€1.14 per km or €0.40 per minute up to €20.40€1.50 per km or €0.53 per minute
Between 20:00h and 08:00h Monday to Saturday, and all day on Sundays and public holidays€4.20€1.45 per km or €0.51 per minute up to total €25.40€1.80 per km or €0.64 per minute
Christmas Eve from 20:00h to St.Stephen’s Day 08:00h and between New Year’s Eve 20:00h and New Year’s Day 08:00h€4.20€1.80 per km or €0.64 per minute€1.80 per km or €0.64 per minute

There is a perception that taxi fares on Christmas Day or New Years Day can be very expensive – at  least double the normal fare – but that is not really true.

For Example: Maximum Charge for a 10.5km taxi journey for 1 person

  • Mon to Sat  between 8am and 8pm : €15.20
  • Mon to Sat 8pm to 8am and on Sundays/Public Hols :€18.70
  • From 8pm Christmas Eve to 8am St. Stephens Day : €22.20
  • From 8pm New years Eve to 8am  New Years Day : €22.20

So the fare on Christmas Day or New Years Eve is 46% more than a standard fare  (Almost “time and a half” .)
It is just 19% more than a normal Saturday night fare.

No wonder it is so hard to get a taxi on Christmas Eve or New Years Eve. Would you work on Christmas Day for just time and a half ?


Extra Taxi Charges

A Booking fee of €2 may be charged for  a booking made by telephone, email, smartphone app, fax, text or letter, or a booking made through a  personal visit to a dispatch operator’s office.

Charges for Extra passengers : – taxi drivers may charge a fee €1 for each adult passenger after the first. In relation to additional child passengers, one child under 12 years of age is carried at no extra charge; the fee for two or three children under 12 is €1; for four or five children €2; and for six or seven children €3;

No  extra charge should be made  for carrying luggage or an assistance dog.

If you want to complain about being overcharged by a taxi driver – you can do so at the Transport for Ireland website

 

Digital Banking: N26 Vs Revolut

N26 Compared to Revolut


A few years ago – if someone mentioned “mobile banking” in Ireland they were probably talking about a van from Allied Irish Bank or Bank of Ireland visiting rural villages.
Today – Mobile banking  or Digital banking – refers to the new wave of  branchless, online-only,  banks.

The two digital providers that have the most customers in Ireland are N26 and Revolut.

New:  November 2018  – N26 has just launched in the UK More here about that.. UK residents can sign up for N26 Here


 

A Comparison of N26 and Revolut in Ireland

N26  bank was  launched in Germany in January 2015 and has been available to Irish residents since December 2015.  N26 have over 1.5 million customers across the EU.
New:  November 2018  – N26 has just launched in the UK . UK residents can sign up for N26 Here

n26

N26 has had a full European banking licence since 2016 – and any funds you have with it are covered by the German Bank guarantee (up to €100,000) .  N26 Bank, is licensed by the  European Central Bank and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules in Ireland.
With N26 in Ireland you get a bank account number  (IBAN) –  the same as any mainstream bank – so you can get your salary etc paid in. You can also set up Direct Debits.
N26 supports Apple Pay and Google Pay but being branchless,  N26 does not deal with the paying in of cash or cheques – but how often do you do that these days?

N26 started off as a smartphone based app – but since July 2018 N26 have upgraded their web based app so that most of their banking functions can also be done on laptops and PCs .

N26 Debit Card

The N26 bank account comes with a Mastercard debit card  (not a prepaid card) . The only fees on this are a €2 ATM withdrawal fee if you make more than 5 ATM Euro withdrawals  in a month.
The €2 fee does not apply to non Euro ATM withdrawals – but there is a 1.7% fee for all non-euro  withdrawals. This fee compares quite well with the “main” Irish banks – who all charge around  3.5% for non euro cash withdrawals.
See More Here on ATM charges abroad.

Unlike all the main Irish banks – there are no processing fees for using the N26 debit card to make purchases in currencies other than Euro. (See what the other banks charge here)
The N26 Mastercard also has no fees for contacless payments .

Signing up to N26 is free and is done with your smartphone via a video call (make sure you have good coverage). You just need to fill in an online form and show yourself and your passport.  (Over 18s only).  They’ll send out your Mastercard after a few days. Irish residents can Join N26 Here

If you are a UK resident you can  join N26 Here

Read more here about N26 in theUK

 


Their premium  N26 “Black” account comes with free non Euro ATM withdrawals and includes free multitrip all year round travel insurance as well as extended warranty insurance, mobile phone theft insurance and ATM mugging insurance. It costs €9.90 a month – but if you travel more than a couple of times a year you would probably spend that on travel insurance alone.


Revolut

Revolut was set up in July 2015  and they report that they have over a 3 million users across Europe and 75,000 in Ireland . Revolut was only granted a European banking license by Lithuania on Dec 12th 2018.  So , like N26 , eventually all funds will be protected under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.   It’s worth pointing out that this scheme is not currently in place, so current funds with Revolut remain safeguarded in accounts with a tier one UK bank, as per obligations under the e-money regulations.

( Until the full EU licence is rolled out bt Revolut  – Revolut is regulated by the UK  Financial Conduct Authority, meaning that any money you deposit is ring-fenced (in a Barclays account), so in the event there are problems with Revolut, the money should be safe.)

As with N26 – you get an EU IBAN with Revolut , so you can get bank transfers paid in. There is no joining fee – but you have to pay €6 to get your debit card delivered to Ireland. (This is free with N26) . Revolut doesn’t support Apple Pay but you can use Google Pay.revolut card

Debit Card

Using the Revolut prepaid debit card you can spend, transfer or exchange up to €5,000 in total every month (a 0.5% fee applies after this).  Free ATM withdrawals are limited to the first €200 each  month, after that a charge of 2% is added.

Direct Debits are also possible with Revolut  – and as with N26 , they don’t cater for paying in cash or cheques.

Unlike N26 – Revolut will only work on a smartphone  – you cannot currently use it from a PC or  Laptop .

Revolut  also offers access to five cryptocurrencies — bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), and ripple (XRP)

You can sign up for Revolut here . You just have to enter your mobile number and they will send you a link to get the App and sign up.


Summary of Revolut and N26 in Ireland :-
What are the differences?

Revolut

N26

Annual Fee None None
Delivery of First Debit Card €6 Free
ATM Charges in Ireland First €200 a month is free then a 2% fee. First 5 withdrawals a month are free – then €2 each. (All free for UK residents.)
Non Euro ATM Charges 2% fee when you withdraw more than the equivalent of €200 in a month. 1.7%  fee
Non Euro  Spending First €5000 worth of spending a month is free – then a 0.5% fee No charges
Direct Debits
Yes Yes
Pay in Salary
Yes Yes
Transfer or Loading Fees.
No No
Full EU Banking License Coming Soon Yes
Can be used on Laptop/PC No Yes
Apple Pay No Yes
Google Pay Yes Yes

Note: the rules may differ slightly in other countries
More about Apple Pay here


Summary

Overall – because of the lack of an EU banking licence and the option to operate the account from a laptop/PC  , N26 is our preferred option.  But – the EU licence for Revolut was granted in early Dec 2018  and should be in operation for Irish customers in early 2019 . You may as well apply for both accounts  one of them could come in handy as a backup .

In Ireland, there is nothing stopping you from using N26 as your only current bank account – but at the moment most people are probably just using it as a second account which they use mainly when travelling abroad. We think that gradually , more people will leave the expensive “pillar” banks and move over to N26 for day to day banking.
Just using the N26 card for purchases instead of , for example,  an Allied Irish Bank debit card – would save you 20c each time in fees.

For UK residents – N26 don’t have any fees for ATM withdrawals. But they don’t yet allow direct debits to be set up.

With N26, you can opt for their “N26 black” account which costs €9.90 per month. The N26 Black comes with free travel insurance which also covers mobile phone theft, travel insurance and ATM theft protection.More importantly, it waives all the ATM-withdrawal fees abroad for every foreign currency. Ideal for people who travel a lot.

Exchange Rates

Revolut say they use the Interbank exchange rates when you use their card for non Euro purchases. N26 use the standard Mastercard exchange rates.
We did a quick comparison of  USD/EUR rates , Interbank versus Mastercard , over a 2 week period in late 2017. On average – the Mastercard rate ,which is used by N26, was 0.25% worse than the Interbank rate.  On a spend of €1000 this would work out at a difference of €2.50 less compared to Revolut

Apparently Revolut add a 0.5% markup to the interbank rate at weekends on 14 major currencies and a 1% markup for all others. So it is likely this would often make their exchange rates worse than N26 at weekends. So overall – not a massive difference between them.

 

Some people are using these new  mobile banks as their only bank – but it’s probably not a bad idea to have a “back up” option if there is an IT problem with a bank – as happened recently in the UK with TSB and in the recent past here in Ireland with Ulster Bank.

Other mobile banking apps that are currently only available in the UK and other EU countries include Monzo, Starling , Atom and Monese . Some of these may be available in Ireland in the future .