Minimum Wage Increase 2018

The Minimum Wage in Ireland will be increased from January 1st 2018.

The Low Pay Commission recommended in June this year  that the National Minimum Wage for an experienced adult worker should be set at a rate of €9.55 per hour. The increase was only supported by six of the nine Commission members.

This week the Taoiseach ,Leo Varadkar, announced that the increase to the Minimum rate of pay would take effect from January 2018
This corresponds to an increase of 3.2%  on the current rate of €9.25 per hour.

By 2018 – the minimum wage for an experienced adult worker will have ncreased by  10.5% since 2015 – when the minimum wage was €8.65 per hour.
It is estimated that about 10% of employees in Ireland are on the minimum wage (about 155,000 people)

Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke is not happy with the increase – he said .. “With little to no inflation in consumer goods and growing concern over the impact Brexit is already having on the retail sector, there is absolutely no economic basis for a further increase to minimum wages,”

See the Minimum Wage Rates for 2017 here

These are the rates of the Minimum Wage that will apply from January 2018

  • Experienced adult worker €9.55 per hour
  • Over 19 and less than 2 years since first job  €8.60 per hour.
  • Over 18 and less than 1 years since began first  job  €7.64   per hour.
  • Aged under 18   €6.69 per hour

 

(An experienced adult worker –  for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act –  is an employee who has an employment of any kind in any 2 years over the age of 18.)

For example:  A 19 year old gets his first job on June 1st 2018 – he is entitled to €7.64 an hour. He won’t be entitled to €8.60 an hour until June 1st 2019 – the first anniversary of his first job. He won’t be entitled to €9.55 an hour until June 1st 2020 – the second anniversary of his first job.  It doesn’t matter how long he worked in each job or if there were gaps in employment.

 

 

Comparison of Bank Charges in Ireland

All the main banks in Ireland now have some sort of transaction or admin fees  on current accounts.  But – there are still ways to avoid some of these bank charges.  We have carried out a a comparison of the various current account charges so you can work out which is the cheapest bank for you and how you can still  get Free Banking.  These figures were checked  in July 2017.

EBS Moneymanager – Cheapest Bank Account.
EBS don’t currently charge any admin fees.  This is an account with basic features – ideal for people on lower incomes. (No chequebooks are issued , no overdrafts and contactless payments are not available)


PTSB (Explore Account)
The  PTSB Explore current account has a €4 monthly account maintenance fee  ( €48 a year)  and no day to day transaction fees.  But – they also offer cash rewards such as 1oc for every time you use your debit card to buy something – capped at €5 a month. (You would have to use it 40 times a month to cancel out the account charges.) They also offer cashback on payments of bills to specific companies by direct debit.  More about the PTSB Cashback Current Account here.


Ulster Bank – Fee Free is possible
Ulster Bank charge  €4 per month maintenance fee  (€48 a year) – to avoid this fee you need to keep an account  balance of at least €3000 . No day to day transaction charges.


AIB  Higher Transaction Fees  but they can still be avoided .
AIB  charge the following amounts for transactions on current accounts.
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders)  20c.
ATM withdrawals  35c
Machine Lodgements 35c
Cheque Processing 39c
Debit Card Transaction  20c
Over the Counter Transaction  39c
They will also charge an admin fee of €4.50 per quarter. (€18  a year)

All the above fees can be avoided at AIB by keeping a minimum of €2500 in the account at all times . Going below €2500 at any time in a quarter will result in charges being applied for the whole quarter.


Bank of Ireland – Impossible to Avoid a €5 quarterly charge
Bank of Ireland now charge all current account holders €5 per quarter  (€20 a year) . This charge cannot be avoided. On top of this – unless you keep at least €3000 in the account you will also be charged transaction fees too. (No fees on Golden Years, Graduate, 3rd Level student or 2nd Level student current accounts)
BOI Transaction fees
Automated Transactions (Direct Debit/ Standing Orders)  10c.
ATM withdrawals  25c
Machine Lodgements 25c
Debit Card Transaction  10c
Contactless 1c
Internet/Phone Transaction 10c
Over the Counter Transaction  60c
Cheque Processing Fee (per cheque) 60c


KBC Extra  €6 a quarter charge  (avoidable).
Any customers who don’t lodge at least €2500 a month  will  be charged a €6 admin fee per quarter plus 30c for each ATM  transaction and  30 cent per cheque lodged in the quarter.


An Post Smart Account (Not Yet available Nationwide)
This is another account that pays rewards  – such as 5% back on all Lidl transactions of €25 and above using the debit card. BUT – the account has a €15 a quarter charge (€60 a year) PLUS other charges as follows :
Cash Withdrawal in Branch  50c (1 a month is free)
ATM withdrawals  60c
Lodgements at branch  50c

Comparison of Bank Charges  – based on the following  monthly transactions:

Cheques Lodged 1
Direct Debits/ Standing Orders : 6
Debit Card Purchases :  45
ATM withdrawals  :  12
Counter transactions 2

Assuming the conditions for avoiding bank fees were not met…

AIB would charge the most – at €51.21 a quarter (€204.84 a year)
An Post would charge €39.60 per quarter.(€158.40 a year)
BOI is close behind at €34.70 per quarter (€138.80 a year)
KBC would charge €17.70 for the quarter (€70.80 a year)
Ulster Bank would charge €12 for the quarter. (€48 a year)
PTSB would charge €7.50 for the quarter (€48 a year) (10c cashback on debit card purchases included)

EBS would charge nothing (there are no fees)

Comparison of banks quarterly current account fees IF  the balance is kept above the  relevant  limit.

An Post  fees cannot be avoided by keeping a certain amount in the account. They would charge €39.60 per quarter for the above transactions. – But there is the chance of cashback if you shop at Lidl or use SSE for energy. You would need to spend €800 a quarter at Lidl to get enough cashback to cover the fees.

PTSB   €7.50 (Balance not applicable) Could be lower if you pay bills for  SSE or Sky by Direct Debit

BOI (€3000 limit)  : Fee €5 per quarter or €20 a year

Ulster Bank (€3000 Limit)  :  Zero

KBC (lodge min €2500 a month)  Zero

AIB (€2500 limit) : Fee  – Zero

EBS   Zero

So – it is still possible to get free banking at EBS  all the time.  At other banks PTSB , AIB , KBC and Ulster Bank  – you can also avoid fees –  but only if you can manage to lodge a certain amount or keep your account balance above their limits or spend with your debit card over 40 times a month at PTSB
Be careful with AIB because a fall in your balance to just  €2499 for just one day could end up costing you over €50 for one  quarter. (based on sample transactions above).

Tips
1) Keeping €3000 in an account just to avoid fees – means you could be losing out on possible interest of about €30 euro a year after DIRT .  So bear that in mind when working out fees.
2)  There is nothing to stop you withdrawing money and relodging it  to comply with a bank’s minimum lodgement rules.

3) Use cashback in shops whe paying with debit cards instead of ATMs to reduce transaction fees . (Not relevant for PTSB Explore customers who should use their debit card as much as possible.)

Note:  There is also a government stamp duty of 12c per ATM cash wiithdrawal.  This is capped at €5 per year and was introduced in 2016 to replace a flat rate stamp duty .
More here about ATM Cashpoint Charges in Ireland

 

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate Update

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate  : July 18th  2017 10am

1 GBP = 1.128635 EUR
1 EUR = 0.886026 GBP

See Latest  Exchange Rates Here

Today, Sterling fell against the Euro with the exchange rate going as low as €1.12.  Lower than expected UK inflation figures were the main reason for this – lower inflation will mean less of  a chance of UK interest rates being increased.

Sterling slipped below €1.14 against the  Euro  earlier  this month  after worse than expected UK Manufacturing figures.

Tho months a go  weeks ago a  EURO was worth  £0.8453 GBP.  Today , the Sterling to Euro exchange rate was  closer to  £0.89

Sterling is not seen as an attractive option for investors at the moment, especially with Brexit still dominating the news. If the initial  talks do not run smoothly we could easily see the GBP/EUR rate  come under even more pressure, and it would not take much to see exchange rates down at the €1.10 level we witnessed last year.

With so much  uncertainty in the currency markets at the moment –  it could get very stressful for people or businesses planning large Euro / Sterling exchanges in the next few months.   We are likely to be entering a period of heightened volatility which, depending on your timescales and budget, could cause problems if you are not properly prepared.

Using a Currency Exchange specialist  can remove some of the uncertainty by allowing you to fix an exchange rate as much as 12 months in advance of your transfer.  For good deals on large amounts of currency exchange –  for personal money or  for businesses – see our page on how to get the Best Exchange Rates

You might also be interested in this information about Transferring  Money from Ireland to a UK Bank

If you are just looking to buy some Pounds , Dollars  or other foreign cash for a holiday  – take a look at our page about the best place to buy travel currency in Ireland

 

euro sterling exchange rate ireland

 

Best Deals for TV and Broadband Bundles in Ireland

If you are looking for the cheapest  “triple play bundle” of TV , Broadband and Home Phone there are usually some good deals available from both Sky and Virgin Media .  These two companies are the two biggest digital TV subscription providers in Ireland.

Firstly –  apologies if you don’t live in an area covered by Virgin Media – because this comparison is not going to be any use to you. Virgin Media  (previously UPC) provide their TV , broadband and phone services via their own cable network – which is available in Dublin, Cork City, Galway City, Limerick City and many areas of County Dublin. (You can check if Virgin is available where you live here )

Sky provide their TV via satellite dishes  and their  broadband and phone via the national telephone network. Sky Fibre is only available in some areas of the country – but it should be available in all the places where Virgin Media is available.

So – how do Virgin Media and Sky Ireland compare on price – and what do you get for your money?

We did a comparison of the deals on offer in  mid July  2017 from Sky Ireland and Virgin Media Ireland.   We looked at packages with unlimited broadband, inclusive anytime phone calls and TV with around 50 channels.

Cheapest Bundles

We found a  package on Virgin Media – with  broadband with speeds upto 240Mb , Unlimited data, free calls to Irish landlines 24 hours a day and 50 TV channels on their Horizon box. The price is €85 per month with the first 12 months at just €49 a month. Total cost in the first year: €588. More Here

We found a similar bundle  from from Sky on Switcher.ie  including fibre broadband with speeds upto 100Mb (where available) , unlimited data and free calls to landlines all day as well as 55 TV channels.  The total cost of this in year one would be €965.50. (€64.75 a month for 6 months then €92 per month) . (

The Virgin deal costs €377  less over the first 12 months.  You can switch again after 12 months if there is a better deal available.


What are the differences between the Virgin Media and Sky bundles ?

Broadband :The speed on the Virgin Media deal is faster , upto 240Mb compared to a maximum of  upto 100Mb with Sky. Sky uses the same phone lines  as Eir/vodafone while Virgin use their own cable network . The Virgin speeds should be better in the majority of cases.

TV: The difference in TV channels is negligible.  The main differences we could see is that with Sky you get Sky Atlantic and with Virgin you get a few more of the HD channels , Film 4 and Discovery. Virgin throw in FREE Netflix for 6 months.

Phone – Both bundles include anytime calls to Irish landlines.
With Virgin you also get 400 minutes per month of calls to landlines in 22 countries and USA mobiles.
With Sky you get unlimited free calls to landlines in the UK, USA and 18 other countries – which could come in very handy if you have friends or relatives overseas.

Overall there is not too much difference :-   But Sky works out at a good bit more expensive when comparing over  over the first year .
These prices were correct on July 17th  2017.

You can go for an upgrade with Sky to the “Variety” package with 103 channels – for an €59 a month for 12 months .  ( Total €1051  in year one) If you want to see the full range of Sky TV and broadband bundles – you can see them here and order online.

An upgrade with Virgin Media to their  “Full House” TV with 100 channels would work out at  €648 in the first year.  This beats the almost equivalent Sky bundle on price by more than €300 over 12 months. You can  find out more about Virgin Media TV and broadband deals and even order your bundle online at Switcher.ie

You might also want to take a look at our comparison of Broadband and Phone bundles where  Pure Telecom  come out as the best priced option .

cheapest broadband ireland