Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Consumer watch

Consumer watch
Banking blow

According to the Irish Independent’s Charlie Weston, 30,000 people over the age of 60 will be impacted by Ulster Bank’s decision to end free banking this May. From then on, the €4 monthly maintenance fee will only be waived for those aged 66 and older.

“The change in the fee arrangements is set to enrage customers affected, especially those in rural areas who are already worried their post office will be among the 200 expected to be shut by loss-making An Post,” Weston writes, noting that both Permanent TSB and KBC Bank offer free banking for those aged over 60.

Bus strike looms

The on-going saga at Bus Éireann could result in a strike affecting thousands of people across the country, as talks between unions and company management have broken down. In a statement issued yesterday, the company said that it is “extremely disappointed” that talks have broken down, citing a lack of flexibility from the unions.

SIPTU representatives have said that strike action is ‘unavoidable’. “Our members believe management at Bus Éireann have sleepwalked this vital community service into this position, by not engaging with the unions in a fair and equitable manner while unfairly attempting to portray the unions as being unreasonable and inflexible,” said sector organiser Willie Noone.

Consumer sentiment

Finally, do you prefer to shop online or along the high street? According to data from the latest Visa Irish Consumer Spending Index for February, more Irish people are shopping online – e-commerce has risen by 7.6% when compared to this time last year. Overall, consumer spending fell by 0.7% between February 2016 and 2017, with the lack of a Leap day this year blamed for the decrease.

“February marks the fifth month in a row where the increase in consumer spending has registered at less than +5.0%, underlining the trend that growth is slowing amid a cautious outlook by Irish consumers,” said Philip Konopik, Visa Ireland country manager. “The other shift that is still clearly evident is the continued rise in popularity of e-commerce and it is positive to note the recent figures from the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index which show that Irish SMEs rank first out of 28 countries in Europe for small firms selling online.”

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When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.
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