I’ve always been a bit surprised with just how expensive sending a one off parcel is with An Post at a post office. To post a 20KG parcel within Ireland costs €30.50, to the UK costs €61.50 and the rest of the world costs €82 for their Standard Parcel Service. I understand that this is for a one off parcel and if you are posting in bulk you will get significant discounts. However, what always struck me as strange is that An Post allows you to send a parcel under 10KG anywhere in Ireland for €13 (previously it was €11) by Express Post. What is annoying is that you need to ring them to order it and the parcel is collected from your address. I’d find it much more convenient to drop it off at a post office, but they said this wasn’t possible.
I’ve been a fan of Parcel Motel since the very beginning. As I buy online a lot, I find the UK delivery address very handy. I also like the fact that it is a locker based system, which means I can collect at any time fo the day. Unfortunately, the locker based system has its drawbacks – there is a finite number of lockers in each Parcel Motel. To make the situation worse, Parcel Motel have recently closed my closest Motel. My closest Motel now is twice as far away.
It is well documented that Parcel Motel (and pretty much all courier services) get overwhelmed during Black Friday and the run up to Christmas. Parcel Motel in particular is vulnerable due to the limited capacity. They have tried to stay on top of the Christmas rush this year by opening up a ‘pop-up’ collection point in Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club. I received an email early November announcing this location and encouraging me to switch. However, it is quite out of the way for me so I decided not to.
Parcel Motel allows you to return items to a whole bunch of retailers. Some of these retailers are actually couriers including Royal Mail, Collect+ and Hermes. A lot of online shops in the UK will provide a prepaid label to allow you to return the item free of charge. However, often this label is only valid within the UK. So with Parcel Motel return service, you drop off the parcel at a Parcel Motel, they collect it and bring it up to Northern Ireland where it is handed over to the courier. It is extremely good value starting at €3.50
When using this service you need to put two labels on the parcel. One is a Parcel Motel label which is used to tell Parcel Motel where to drop of the parcel, the second is the prepaid label provided by the retailer. Recently I reviewed returning with Collect+ and Parcel Motel and I found it to be very good. However, Hermes was another story.
Earlier this week I posted that N26 has changed their ATM Fair Use Policy. Irish customers get 5 free euro ATM withdrawals per month with each additional euro ATM withdrawal costing €2. ATM withdrawals in foreign currencies incur a 1.7% fee. This fee is waived for N26 Black customers which means if you have a N26 black account you are limited to 5 free euro ATM withdrawals but had unlimited free ATM withdrawals in foreign currencies each month. This is a feature I have used a lot. In nearly a year of being a N26 Black customer I’ve completed 2 or 3 euro ATM withdrawals but probably close to 50 foreign withdrawals.
When I was last travelling two weeks ago, a notification appeared on my N26 app saying the ATM fair use policy starts today. This notification no longer displays – but I was certain it said ATM withdrawals in foreign currencies would be included in the fair use policy. I posted about this change and it appears I was the only one who got this notification. I reached out to N26 and they confirmed there has been no change to the ATM fair use policy.
This article is incorrect. Please see clarification article. I’ve been a N26 Black customer for nearly a year now and as I’ve said many times before I’m a massive fan. I have finally closed my last remaining Irish current account this week so its in N26 I trust. One big perk of N26 is that there are no currency conversion mark ups or fees – you pay the MasterCard rate on the day the transaction is processed. While this isn’t quite as good as Revolut’s rate the difference is negligible that I no longer use Revolut except as a backup. One big perk and unusual feature with N26 Black is that you get 5 free ATM withdrawals per month within the eurozone but unlimited free ATM withdrawals outside the eurozone. This was great on my last trip as I did well more than 5 transactions and didn’t pay a cent in fees. However, they have closed this loop-hole now and the fair use policy applies to all ATM withdrawals. I received a in app notification of this change. They haven’t updated their pricing page to make this change clearer.