Regularly switching service suppliers is something that buyers should be embracing to get the best deals possible, be it from electricity and gas bills or even mortgage repayments.
Small and medium ticket businesses, places as your local coffee shop or the corner store may reward customer loyalty. Still, when you are dealing with more significant outlays such as your mortgage, loyalty rewarding is harder to come by. The best deals and better offerings are reserved for attracting new customers, and the only way you can profit from them is to become a new customer yourself by switching to the new offer.
Fixed-rate mortgages present an undeniable good value, especially Avant Money’s 1.95% interest rate that has stirred the market recently. The lower the Loan-To-Value Ratio (LTV) is, the better deal you are getting.
For instance, an 80% LTV can get you a 2.2% fixed rate for three to five years with Avant, raising to 2.3%, if you currently have an account with them, while KBC offers the same terms at 2.45% rate. Ulster Bank quotes are at 2.3% or 2.6% fixed for two or five years, respectively, with AIB offering 2.45% on three or five-year terms.
Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors’ chairman Trevor Grant claims that mortgage holders could save 200€ to 300€ a month by switching lenders. “There has never been a better time to consider switching provider and saving thousands of euros on your mortgage”, says Grant.
When switching mortgage, you are reinitiating the process so you will need to submit a completely new application, meaning you’ll have to provide your bank statements, wage slips and information on any savings and/or debts. In case you are exiting a fixed mortgage, be sure to confirm if there are any break fees you can be charged for. Besides that, you are only required to pay for legal and valuation fees which will amount to about 1,500 €, but in most cases your new bank _ will pay back for this and more.
As of now, there are 10 current account providers on the Irish Market meaning consumers can opt for the best deal for them among a pool of offers, enabling them to save around 100€ a year in fees alone by switching provider, according to Daragh Cassidy. Still, the head of communications at Bonkers.ie pointed that “less than 0.1%” switch current accounts in Ireland, saying that, “statistically, you’re more likely to get a divorce than to change your bank account”. According to Cassidy, the focal reason is fear that switching will lead to problems with, for instance, direct debits.
However, as Daragh Cassidy notes, the Central Bank rules a code of conduct on switching which, among other items, mandates banks to set up new accounts within 10 working days.
The process should run smoothly. You only need to contact your new bank, which in turn will send your way to a switching pack. Afterwards, you should provide your address and proof of ID and then agree on a date to complete the switch. As soon as you fill in your account transfer form, your new bank will deliver it to your old bank which will then transfer your assets, direct debits and others. For added assurance, contact your old bank to close your old account.
Ireland has currently 13 energy providers making for a highly competitive market which benefits the consumer the most. One thing you have to remember with energy contracts is to switch when your contract is ending, as terminating your contract before the 12-month period can cause you to pay a fee (usually 50€).
Gather your recent bills or login into your account, check your usage and then place your data on a comparison site for Irish providers. That should retrieve you discounted plans or cashback option plans; the latter rarely makes for the optimum deal over the course of the year. In case you decide to effectively switch, take a meter reading and proceed to do your switch online.
Providing an example for a savings estimate, let’s say you have been on Iberdrola’s Green 23 plan for a 12-month term, were paying direct debit, online billing and spending 4,200kWh a year (the national average). By switching on the same terms to Energia, you would save 334€ in those next 12 months. If you were already on Energia’s SmartChoice tariff, by moving to Bright you could be saving 399€ a year.
Three out of five people in Ireland are likely to be overpaying for their Health Insurance by up to 500€ per adult, according to TotalHealthCover.ie. If you are still on your first health insurance or have kept the same for a few years, you may be overpaying as well.
“Many older members are reluctant to change due to fear of losing benefits, and misplaced loyalty,” claimed TotalHealthCover.ie managing director, Dermot Goode. According to Goode, the elder are still on “dated plans such as VHI Health Plus Choice, Irish Life Health Level 2 Hospital, and Laya Essential Plus Excess” that “provide good cover but poor value.” Goode added that about 50% aren’t aware that corporate plans, which typically offer better cover and better value, are available to everyone.
If you are looking to make a Health Insurance switch, contact your current insurance provider or broker and ask for other plans, including corporate options, that could offer the same or even better cover at a better value. Once you have that information, check for other providers’ offers for comparable plans.
Also, keep in mind that changing to a lower cover plan will require you to serve waiting periods in case you wish to increase it at a later date.