How COVID-19 is accelerating the path to a cashless society

The usage of checks and cash has been in a decline for quite some time, and that trend has continued over the last four years. With the growing usage of credit and debit cards, as well as the growth of fintech, cash is becoming more and more obsolete. In recent years, fintech payment platforms such as venmo, paypal, and cashapp have contributed greatly to the growth of digital banking payments in Ireland and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic created a new demand for these type of payments, as many businesses required contactless payments and online commerce greatly increased. The latest figures from BPFI’s payment monitor reflect this growing shift in payment methods. 

 

On March 15th 2021, Banking and Payments Federation Ireland published the figures from the BPFI Payments Monitor for the fourth quarter of 2020. The data showed a 67% increase in online/mobile banking between 2016 and 2020. It is also interesting to note that in the same four year period, check usage was cut in half. In fact, check usage fell to only 4.8 million in …

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Why are house prices surging in Ireland?

House prices in Ireland have surged in the last 12 months. Two separate reports have pointed to a 13 percent increase in house prices over the last twelve months, both in Dublin and nationwide. Property website myhome.ie, which is owned by The Irish Times, pointed to a ‘red hot’ demand outpacing supply as one of the main reasons for this increase in their latest quarterly report. According to MyHome, house prices nationally increased 13 per cent to €303,000 in the second quarter of 2021, breaking the €300,000 mark for the first time in recorded history. In Dublin specifically, they found the average price to be €412,000, representing a 10.6 percent increase on the year. Daft.ie, another property website, reported similar increases in the price of homes on its website, up 13 per cent on the year to €284,000, the highest such increase since 2015.  This increase means house prices have increased for four consecutive quarters, the first time this has happened since 2014.

This substantial increase put house prices nationally 14.3 per cent lower than their highest-ever level in 2007. …

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El Salvador Becomes First Country to make Bitcoin Legal Currency

El Salvador has become the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Officials in the Salvadoran congress voted in a “supermajority” of 62 out of 84 votes. This fulfills president Nayib Bukele’s promise to make bitcoin legal tender alongside the US dollar. 

 

“The purpose of this law is to regulate bitcoin as unrestricted legal tender with liberating power, unlimited in any transaction, and to any title that public or private natural or legal persons require carrying out,” the law reads. Furthermore, the law enables prices to be shown in bitcoin. Taxes can now be paid in bitcoin, and exchanges in bitcoin are exempt from capital gains tax. The government will also be partnering with digital wallet firm Strike to provide an easy and simple to use financial framework based around the cryptocurrency. Jack Mallers, founder of strike, claims that adopting bitcoin could help countries like El Salvador avoid some of the pitfalls of traditional fiat currency, such as excessive hyperinflation, that developing economies are sometimes prone to. 

 

This decision is unprecedented, as no country has yet …

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What is the difference between Fixed and Variable Rate Mortgages?

The two most common types of mortgage are fixed-rate mortgages and variable-rate mortgages. Although there are many options among these two types in Ireland, the first step in searching for a mortgage is identifying which of the two primary loan type best meets your requirements. Most people seeking to own homes usually find themselves torn between taking fixed or variable loans. A fixed-rate mortgage has a fixed interest rate that does not alter during the loan period. Most individuals see Variable Rate Mortgages as being too much complex than the Fixed Rate Mortgages because the interest rate charged initially on Variable Rate Mortgages (VRMs) is usually set under the rates that are being charged in the market. The amount of deposit and interest paid each month for Fixed-Rate Mortgages may vary; the overall payment stays consistent, making budgeting for homeowners simple.

The primary benefit of a fixed-rate loan is that it protects the borrower against a significant and unexpected rise in mortgage repayments if interest rates climb. Fixed-rate mortgages are simple to comprehend and differ little from one lender …

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Methods to start growing money 101

Everybody wants their money to increase. But let’s think about the most fundamental question – what’s it to be rich in Ireland? Before we get to the ‘how to’, do you drive a BMW or have luxury cruises and eat at the high-end restaurants? Well, this is only the icing on the cake. It’s enough money to be truly prosperous, to assure a financial future. How can we become rich if we cut to the chase? Have you ever wondered what is common to the rich? It’s their approach to money and, of course, a little luck. Wealthy individuals invest in the long-term and are not dismissed by transitory upheavals and falling. 

The first best way to grow money is avoiding debt. Debt is like marsh for many individuals and therefore, it should be avoided because it gets them stuck as they get deeper. Build a habit that you won’t accept extra debt no matter what. Probably the most significant impediment to being affluent for most of us. When you want to invest, prioritize two things; pay off your …

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Why are Mortgage Interest Rates so High in Ireland?

Recent reports from the Central Bank of Ireland indicate that mortgage holders in Ireland are still paying much higher interest rates as compared to most of their  neighbors in Europe. Therefore, why are people in Ireland paying high mortgage rates and is there a way to reduce it? Currently the  interest rate for a first-time buyer is at 2.79 percent, which means that it is now the highest in all of the 19 countries in Europe together with Greece. Despite the fact that the interest rates have dropped by 0.11 percent as compared to last year, they are still way more than what is being charged in other places in Europe where the average rate is as little as 1.31 percent. 

In a report by the Banking and Payment Federation of Ireland (BPFI), the mortgage for a first-time-buyer in Ireland is approximately €225,000. Basically, this means that someone who borrows this amount with the hopes of repaying it in 30 years ends up paying an extra of €167 per month and over €2,000 annually as compared to other countries …

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Dublin, Ireland the next tech city?

Cities are formed by their socioeconomic environments, and therefore, external developments of all sizes heavily impact them. The urban effects of deindustrialization and global economic restructuring are well documented.  From the Industrial Revolution to the 21st Century, urban transitions mirror societal changes. This is seen in North American and European cities, and in less-developed nations where massive industrialization is currently taking place. Dublin is symbolic of urban economic reform since it has seen substantial changes in recent years making it the next tech city.

Ireland was one of Europe’s wealthiest nations from the mid-1990s until 2007, when the global financial crisis struck, with the country’s GDP almost twice the European standards. The economic expansion was fueled by the convergence of several intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Also, a sequence of pro-growth government legislative proposals, such as the provision of efficient monetary rewards to attract more foreign investment, particularly from North American sophisticated production company and service companies, and, for the first time in Irish history, massive net immigration was witnessed. The most remarkable effects have been felt in the Greater Dublin …

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Want to switch mortgages in Ireland?

By switching your mortgage, you can save a lot of money. Mortgage is most likely to be the biggest household expense for many years, so this bill is one that most people do not want to overpay on. Therefore, just like any other bill, you should always opt to switch your mortgage every few years so that you can be sure that you are not overpaying.

Without a doubt, you could save a lot by switching mortgages. If you have a mortgage with a balance of €250,000 and are currently paying 4.5 percent standard variable rate, and have a minimum of 20 percent equity in your home, you could save approximately €300 each month by switching to the most affordable on the market. This translates to a lot of savings. Despite the fact that there are certain upfront costs linked to switching providers, banks can offer cashback to the individuals who switch. 

Every financial institution has its unique set of criteria for allowing its customers to switch their mortgage. In the event that your financial situation has changed negatively since …

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What will the Local Property Tax changes mean for you?

On 2 June 2021, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed the details of the Local Property Tax (LPT) changes. Once the changes go into effect on 1 November, the government estimates that just over a third (36 percent) of property owners will see an increase on their bill, just over half (53 percent) will see no change at all, and 11 percent will see their tax payments reduced.

First off, what is the Local Property Tax? The Local Property Tax was introduced in 2013, and it is an annual charge on all residential properties in the State. Basically, if you own a residential property, you will have to pay this tax. The charges are currently based on self-assessed valuations carried out in 2013. The amount you pay is based on the valuation of your property, and there are 20 different LPT bands, with the lowest two having fixed rate charges of €90 and €225. The problem with these valuations is that property prices have surged since 2013, while the valuations of property for LPT purposes have not changed since 1 May 2013. …

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4 Easy Ways to Improve your Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is one of the most important and underrated skills that anyone can have. Understanding basic financial concepts such as mortgages, inflation, and interest rates is critical for financial success. Once you unlock this knowledge, you will be better equipped to effectively manage, save, and invest money for you and your family. This knowledge, combined with other good financial habits, is the key to financial well being and freedom later on in life. While everyone has varying degrees of financial literacy, there is an overwhelming amount of resources available to expand your knowledge on financial topics.

 

Read Personal Finance Books

If you enjoy reading, there is no shortage of finance books that cover a broad variety of topics, from eliminating debt to saving for retirement. One book recommended by Forbes magazine that covers the latter is Rewirement: Rewiring The Way You Think About Retirement!, by Jaime Hopkins. This book tackles common misconceptions and bad habits that prevent people from having flexible and successful retirement plans. For a variety of books on many topics, check out Insider’s …

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