I recently needed to transfer $1,000AUD to an account in Australia. I had a look at my Bank of Ireland account to work out how much it would cost. There was a fee of €5 for the transfer and ‘foreign exchange margin’ to do the transfer. I couldn’t find any particular percentage for the foreign exchange margin on the fees page. Bank of Ireland do publish their daily currency exchange rates on their website. Using this I could see on the day the transfer would have cost me €736.79 which included the €5 fee. XE.com said that the mid market rate for $1,000AUD was €704.75 so there was a markup of €27.04 hidden fee in addition to the €5 fee with Bank of Ireland. I decided to look around for other options and came across CurrencyFair and TransferWise. I have to admit, I don’t know why I dismissed CurrencyFair but instead used TransferWise.
Parcel Wizard is DPD’s offering and is unique in that they deliver to your house, not to a pick up point. Parcel Wizard is more than just a UK Virtual address, it is a way to schedule your deliveries. You can mark days you are in and out of the house allowing DPD schedule parcel deliveries to suit you. This post will just focus on their Virtual Address service.
They offer an address in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland and they will delivery it to your chosen address in Ireland normally the next working day. The charge is €3.85 for this service. Their online interface isn’t the most polished but by no means awful. Payment is made by PayPal or credit card and you need to purchase either 1, 3 or 5 deliveries at a time. When purchased, these are added to your account and deliveries are deducted from this balance. There doesn’t appear to be an auto-top up feature. If you do not prepay for deliveries, they will contact you when there is a delivery to arrange payment.
I am not sure if this means they will issue you with a PayPal invoice to pay or that they accept other payment methods. They now have a credit card feature on their website.
Peer-to-Peer lending has grown in popularity over the last few years. P2P lending is when a individual lends to companies or other individuals directly. There is a market place where the borrowers and lenders are matched together. P2P lending allows the lender to receive higher interest rates then they would get in a savings account. The best interest rate available in Ireland today for a lump sum savings account is less than 1% while with P2P lending interest rates of over 10% is not unheard of. With P2P lending there is more risk involved then a normal deposit account but there are ways to minimise the risk. Some platforms including Twino and Mintos offer buy back loans guarantee. In the case the loan goes into default, they will repay the balance to you. Also, splitting your investment across many different loans reduces the impact of a default. I’ve been averaging around 8% return on my P2P lending to date which is substantially more than I’d be getting if it was sitting in a savings account.
As expected Parcel Motel is getting much busier coming up to Christmas. Up until last week, if a parcel was checked in to the Dublin dept by 7PMish I’d expect it in the locker the same evening ready for collection. My last parcel was delayed nothing too long but still was out of the ordinary. Well another one of my parcels was ‘delayed’. I put delayed in inverted commas as by Parcel Motel’s FAQ 24 hours to reach a locker is standard, but compared to the standards I’ve come to expect it was a delay. The parcel was scanned into Dublin depot yesterday at 5.30PM. There was no sign of it last night so I presumed it would be ready until this evening. At 12 this afternoon I received the text that the parcel was ready for collection. While this might be normal, this is the first time that I’ve had a delivery not at 10-11PM to this locker. I presume they are sending out parcels at different times during the day to try and keep all the lockers full.
eir took over Setanta Sports and now offer the eir Sports pack to all eir broadband customers ‘free of charge’. They really push the idea it is completely free, but it was announced around the same time they increased their subscription fees. My broadband only package went up by €5 a month. I used to pay €15 a month for Setanta sports so I came out ahead. There are six channels in their pack – eir sport 1 (formally Setanta Ireland), eir sport 2 (formally Setanata Sports 1), BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and BT Sport ESPN.