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May 2008, 16/05/2008

Paying Utility Bills and Taxes Online

Although paying utility bills is a straightforward thing to do it can be very time consuming. In cases when you live away from your property during most of the year it would be also difficult to monitor and you may need to engage someone to help with this.

There are alternatives which help to save time and hassle. Most banks offer direct debit service to pay utility bills however in most cases you receive the information about the payments made some time after it has been completed and have to have online banking to check the balance in your account.

Instead you could easily pay for various services through the electronic payments system ePay. The ePay.bg site which has also English language version is user-friendly and offers variety of services.

To make payments through ePay.bg you need to have a Bulgarian debit or credit card and to register your card for payments within ePay. Please note that you will have to complete the initial process of registration whilst you are in Bulgaria as you will need to confirm through a local ATM machine.

The first step is to obtain a debit or credit card from a local bank. On the home page of ePay you will find a link to a list of banks which cards are valid for payment on ePay.bg.

Next you have to create your account within the ePay system which is free of charge. This is easy to complete as you will be guided by the system with instructions for each step.

Once you create your account you can enter the details of your bank card. For security reasons you will be asked to confirm your desire to pay online through an ATM machine. For this purpose you will receive a message with details of the procedure which will contain security code valid for limited time. Then you just need to go to an ATM machine with the card you have registered on ePay and enter your code.

After you confirm through the ATM you have the option to set a list of utility bills you will pay online. There is a long list of utility companies and other merchants registered with ePay. A link to the list can be found on the home page. For each utility bill you will have to choose the supplier and then enter your customer number. All electrical, telephone and gas bills plus most water, heating, internet and cable operator bills can be paid through ePay. For each utility service you can request from the system to send you an email alert when a new bill is received in your account. Alternatively you can just log-in once a month and order the outstanding bills to be paid. The system keeps record of each payment which you can print out at any time. In addition it is easy to pay taxes or transfer money to any Bulgarian bank account from your card.

For each payment of utility bills you will be charges as for withdrawing money from your debit/credit card through an ATM (typically 0,20-0,50 levs). If you make payments to bank accounts you will be charged by the bank which issued the card with same rate as for a normal money transfer.

You have to remember that the ePay system will not pay your bills automatically but you would need to confirm that the payments should be made. In addition you should check the balance of your card account and transfer sufficient money to cover your bills.

 

Sofia City Apartments

As we predicted in our January 2008 review of the market, prices of city properties continue to grow fast and have already exceeded the figures predicted for the first half of 2008 in all major cities. The main reason for the continuing strong trend is strong domestic demand supported by the growing domestic economy.

Sofia apartments lead this trend and we would like to draw your attention to some offers of apartments located in new and upcoming quarters of Sofia with good connection to the city centre and in the foothills of Vitosha - the mountain sited at the southern end of Sofia which offers excellent facilities for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.

Properties such as this one- bedroom aparment in a residential complex of low buildings with contemporary architecture and this apartm ent in a gated complex aim to achieve the comfort of a modern suburb with minor traffic, fresh air, greenery and the Vitosha mountain close by. In the recent years the district has become popular between for investors and turned into one of the modern, fast developing and favoured residential areas of Sofia.

Such apartments have a big advantage compared to apartments in the centre as they are located away from the busy traffic whilst there is comfortable access to the centre and all main Sofia points.

Demand in other big cities is also steady and prices continue to grow. Centrally located apartments in the sea capital of Bulgaria Varna are on the hot property list as ever too. Two examples of this are this modern fully furnished 1-bed apartment just off the main street of Varna and this ready- to-move-in apartment next to the Opera building.

Until recently the city of Rousse on the river Danube was affected to a lesser extend by the price growth however this has changed dramatically with Bulgaria and Romania joining the EU as Rousse is the only road connection between the two countries and just 60 km away from Romanian capital Bucharest. As a result there is a boom in the local economy and in property sector in particular (2- bed apartment in the very centre of Rousse).

 

Guest House with a Prime Location in Veliko Turnovo Old Town

We are pleased to offer this operating guest house which is situated in the heart of the old town of Veliko Turnovo. Few minutes walk from the cafes, bars, restaurants and historical attractions it has been running successfully for over five years and has an excellent reputation and repeat business. The house can accommodate up to 18 guests and there is 65 sq m terrace in addition.

 

US Travel Writer Picks Bulgaria as Top Budget Destination

Bulgaria was ranked one of the top 10 budget destinations for summer vacations in 2008 by the US travel writer Pauline Frommer. According to Frommer most European countries became expensive for tourists from outside Europe due to the high rate of the euro compared to the US dollar. Bulgaria was the only European destination in the list.

Frommer said that Bulgaria was safe with "old monasteries, preserved medieval villages, together with affordable sea and spa resorts" although the tourist infrastructure was not well developed.

Other places included in the Top 10 by Pauline Frommer were five destinations in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Newfoundland in Canada, the Mayan coast in Mexico and Peru.

 

Greek Buyers Interested in Bulgarian Vacation Property

The Greek newspaper Imerisia reported that increasing number of buyers from Greece were interested in Bulgarian holiday property. The interest is towards both the coastal cities of Varna and Bourgas and the ski resort of Bansko. According to the publication Greek investors have been building large residential, office and retail developments in Bulgaria and other Balkan countries.

On the other hand individual investors were buying properties to use for holidays or let. The property prices in Bulgaria were said to be affordable for the Greek buyers whilst prices in other Balkan countries such as Romania and Serbia were too high after the raise in the recent years.

 

Bulgaria To Adopt the Euro in 2013-2014

In a resent report Italian financial UniCredit Group said that Bulgaria and Romania would probably join the euro zone in 2013-2014.The main challenge for both countries would be to lower the inflation to meet the Maastricht criteria. Bulgaria has reported record high inflation of 12% for the year 2007.

 

Monthly Travel Guide

Below is a link to the Jamadvice HRG Bulgaria Monthly Travel Guide. It provides useful information as well as some interesting facts from the travel industry.

Monthly Travel Guide..

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