Prepaid cards let you escape Ryanair's fees
I AM sick and tired of paying Ryanair's 'administration' charge of €5 each way, €10 per return trip, every time I book a flight with the airline. I have tried several times to get my hands on a Visa Electron card but no Irish bank seems to offer one.
Is there any other way of beating this sneaky charge?
Yes there is. Forget about Electron, the Visa debit card. It is not available in this country, plus Ryanair is dropping it from the beginning of next month so that any bookings made with an Electron card will be liable for the €5 each-way charge from the start of January.
However, the good news is that, for once, Ryanair has made it easier rather than harder for consumers to avoid one of its charges. Since the beginning of December, Ryanair hasn't been charging its 'administration' fee on bookings made with a prepaid Mastercard.
Prepaid Mastercards are available from Payzone outlets throughout the country.
However, a word of warning about the prepaid Mastercard. Loading cash onto the card, particularly small amounts can be expensive.
On amounts up to €350 you will be charged €3.50 while the charge on amounts between €351 and €500 is €5.95.
There is also a 2.95pc charge on all transactions using the card.
In other words someone spending €100 using a prepaid Mastercard would be charged €2.95. Ouch!
Is Mastercard sharing some of these transactions charges with Ryanair I wonder?
Other things to remember with a prepaid Mastercard is that if it isn't used for three months or more you will be charged €3.50 for every month that it is inactive.
As against that the prepaid Mastercard can be used to make purchases in shops that accept Mastercard or for online purchases.
So does it make sense to get one of these prepaid Mastercards?
For someone who only flies with Ryanair once or twice a year the benefits are marginal.
However, if you travel regularly with the airline, particularly if you like to take advantage of Ryanair's seat sales, where it occasionally offers seats for €10 or even less, then the prepaid Mastercard starts to look a lot more attractive.
Families travelling together on Ryanair flights should also consider the prepaid Mastercard.
A family of four, who would pay €40 in 'administration' fees on a return flight if they booked by conventional credit card, would have to shell out a total of only €11.80 in transaction charges on tickets costing €150 each if they booked using the prepaid Mastercard.
My family run a small business from rented premises. We first rented it several years ago and agreed to upward-only reviews.
The lease still has several years left to run. Over the past year our sales have collapsed, our profits have disappeared and we have difficulty paying our rent.
We have a rent review coming up next year and we are terrified that the rent will be increased even further. With the Government planning to ban upward-only rent reviews, can the landlord do this?
In theory, yes. While Justice Minister Dermot Ahern signed an order banning upward-only rent reviews last week, the ban doesn't come into effect until February 28 of next year. In addition, the ban only applies to new leases.
What this means is that where existing leases have upward-only rent review, landlords are within their rights to insist on rent increases.
That's the legal theory.
The economic reality is very, very different.
With many tenants under pressure landlords are having to be flexible on rents, no matter what the lease says. Gearoid should ask his landlord for a rent reduction and play hardball if he doesn't agree to one.