Poor credit history? Late payers now facing extra charges on credit cards

Customers with poor credit histories will be charged more than people who have always paid their bills promptly, as “personalised pricing” is introduced in Ireland for the first time.

Provider Avantcard is introducing the tiered interest rates, the first personalised pricing for any form of consumer borrowing in this country. It is likely to spur other card providers to follow its lead.

Leitrim-based Avantcard, which used to be called MBNA, said there would be three rates based on customers’ credit profiles – great, good and OK.

The Carrick-on-Shannon company offers the Mastercard credit card, but has some of the highest interest rates in the market, with 22.9pc charged for making purchases on its card.

The new individualised pricing will also apply for those taking out a personal loan with Avantcard, with the amount to be borrowed also to be a factor in the interest rate charged.

Customers rate themselves, and this is then cross-checked by the card provider with the Irish Credit Bureau.

Those confirmed as having a “good or OK” risk profile will get a 22.9pc annual percentage rate (APR) on card purchases.

Those regarded as having a “great” credit profile will get a 20.9pc rate. These are people who settle their card bill on time, and save each month.

Avantcard is pushing hard for new business by offering 0pc on purchases for three months on all new credit cards. There is also 0pc on balance transfers for six months, and 0pc charged on money transfers for nine months.

People borrowing between €10,000 and €20,000 will be charged interest rates of between 8.9pc APR and 11.9pc, depending on their credit record.
Head of credit risk for Avantcard Tadhg Ó Súilleabháin said personalised pricing “rewards customers who have a better credit profile with lower rates, and opens the door to those who may find themselves declined by other lenders, to avail of credit at interest rates that are still competitive”.

Avantcard managing director Chris Paul insisted the new approach increases transparency, rather than pitting people with good credit histories against those with poor records.

“We believe this new approach to product pricing increases transparency, which will further build customer confidence and trust in Avantcard as their preferred provider of loans and credit cards.”

But Dermott Jewell, of the Consumers’ Association, questioned whether card holders would benefit from new incentives for them to take on debt.

“It remains a fact of financial prudence that no consumer should have access to a credit card unless they have the means to clear the balance without penalty, and especially when the penalties are calculated at outrageously high percentages,” he said.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Insurance now the biggest bill for GAA clubs

The cost of insurance has doubled for GAA clubs in the past five years.

Tom Ryan, the director general of the Gaelic Athletic Association, told an Oireachtas committee that the cost of insurance premiums is a major challenge for the organisation.

The sports body is one of a number of community groups that appeared before the Finance Committee which is looking at the impact of surging insurance premiums on community groups and businesses, such as livestock marts and men’s sheds associations.

Mr Ryan told the TDs and senators: “The increased cost of claims and the increased volumes of claims we are seeing are a challenge for us. The legal process and how it operates is also a challenge.”

The GAA provides property and liability insurance to all the clubs in the State and also operates an injury fund.

A combination of self-funding, based on levies on gate receipts, and commercial insurance is used to cover clubs.

“The biggest single bill for any GAA club is the insurance bill. Insurance is arranged centrally and recharged to the clubs.”

He said most of the claims faced by clubs did not relate to injuries to players and trainers. Instead, they were mostly due to injuries incurred at social events in club houses.

The cumulative cost of claims in the past five years has been €45m, Mr Ryan told the committee. Premiums have jumped by 20pc in cost in the past year alone, and have doubled in five years.

The politicians were also told that livestock marts and men’s sheds were threatened with closure due to soaring insurance costs.

The manager of the Donegal Co-operative Livestock Mart, Eimear McGuinness, said there were up to 70 marts around the country, but many were threatened with closure due to high claims volumes and soaring premiums for public liability insurance.

Barry Sheridan, of the Men’s Sheds Association, which covers 400 groups, said many of the member groups were struggling to get insurance cover.

“The cost is putting pressure on many sheds, which have limited resources.”

He said the groups played an important social and community service.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

Adrian Weckler on GDPR: A foolproof guide to what all those emails really mean

WE’VE all been getting the incessant emails. They say things like: “Let’s keep in touch!” And: “Important – if you want to keep receiving our emails …”

For weeks, they’ve been filling up our inboxes because of what is happening today.

Europe’s sweeping new data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), came into full force at midnight.

It brings with it tough new penalties for organisations and individuals who fall foul of it, including fines up to millions of euro.

It also affords new rights to individuals, including an enhanced `right to be forgotten’ and the ability to get service providers to transfer your data between them. But most surveys show that many people here are still confused as to what exactly their new restrictions and rights are.

Listen: The Big Tech Show: An absolute idiot’s guide to GDPR

Does it mean you can’t send group emails any more? Is consent needed to keep in touch with people you’re used to contacting? And what if you’re involved in a community group or charity?

Here’s a beginner’s guide to some of the practical ways in which the GDPR might affect ordinary people in and out of work.

‘I’m the secretary of a sports club. Does GDPR mean I now can’t send group texts or emails to members any more?’

No. This is still mostly fine, assuming you’re to what all those emails really mean communicating with your club’s members about things lsuch as upcoming events or even raffles that go to support the club.
‘I’m raising money for a good cause and want to email and text everyone I know to tell them. Does GDPR’s introduction now stop me from doing this?’

No. You can do that to your heart’s content.

‘I keep CCTV in my shop. Do I have to provide video footage or photos of someone if they ask me?’

Yes. However, if your CCTV recorded someone but was on a 24-hour auto-delete loop and the person asks a week after the footage was automatically deleted, you don’t have to provide them with the (deleted) footage.

‘I am keen to contact someone about a job I have to offer. Am I allowed to email them having obtained their details from a site like LinkedIn?’

Probably. For example, if the person indicates on his or her LinkedIn page that they are open to job offers or “exploring new opportunities”, then you probably can. It’s a different situation if you go about ‘scraping’ people’s email addresses from websites in order to build up some sort of recruitment-related database.

‘I’m worried people might not click the box to `keep in touch’ when I email them and that my email database will be drastically thinned out. Should I throw in a competition to win some cash as an incentive?’

No. Some experts are very clear on this. “Doing this invalidates the consent,” said Daragh O’Brien, founder and chief executive of data protection firm Castlebridge. “Companies have been prosecuted in the UK for doing exactly this.”

‘My boss told me to handle GDPR. If I send an email to someone looking for their consent is it OK to say they’ll be kept subscribed unless they email me back. Or do I have to tell them their details will be removed unless they email me back?’

It depends on how you got hold of their contact details. For example, your company might do business with another company or individual, in which case you have their contact details on that basis. It’s not quite the same as consent in the case of other email databases.

‘This is all new to me. Surely there’ll be some bedding in period to let us get used to it.’

Nope. That `bedding-in’ period has been the last 18 months. Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon, whose office will enforce the new law, says that she will enforce the law fully and won’t be letting people off because it’s ‘all new’ to them.

Article Source: http://tinyurl.com/kbwqb42

€100m price tag for docklands scheme

When Ballymore chief Sean Mulryan and his partners at Singapore-headquartered developers Oxley unveiled plans in October 2016 for over a million square feet of offices and apartments in the Dublin Docklands, there were some who may have baulked at the scale of their ambition.

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