There was a time when it was the bankers’ job to help clients find solutions that were right for them, but now you’re treated as little more than a number.
The people behind the counter may seem like they want to help you, but in reality they are little more than salespeople, desperately trying to get hold of your money. Every time you hear a bank announce a record profit, remember: that profit is made with the help of your money.
The simple fact is that you can’t trust anyone in the bank to make the right decision in relation to your money, and you have to make sure that you know all your options before you walk through those bank doors.
Here is some important information that you won’t get from your bank.
Bank fees are negotiable
If you are willing to play hardball, you can knock a number of bank fees off your accounts. Banks can be surprisingly flexible if you threaten to take your business elsewhere, so don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many banks offer fee waivers for those over 60, but they won’t simply hand out this information; you have to ask to get it.
They are not financial advisers
Some people assume that because they are talking to someone who works at a bank, that they are trained to help them with their situation. You may be able to organise to speak with a trained and registered financial adviser at your bank, but anyone else you are speaking to is actually more of a salesperson, as mentioned above. They have an incentive to sell you as many products as possible, including things like insurance and credit cards.
Offset accounts are better investments than term deposits
If you still owe money on your mortgage you are better off having any excess cash in an offset account, rather than storing it in a term deposit. An offset account means that you are earning the interest rate for your mortgage, which will always be higher than a term deposit. If you have kids with a home loan, you may be able to negotiate a deal where you store your money in their offset account and they pay you back at a rate higher than any term deposit, but still lower than the interest rate they are charged by the bank.
Loyalty is worth nothing
Many people prefer to keep all of their financial accounts with the one bank, assuming that their loyalty will ensure that they get the best deal. This is not usually the case. Banks prey on customer loyalty. They know people often won’t shop around for better financial services and therefore banks will not always offer their best deals. It is worth shopping around for all of your financial products, whether these are bank accounts, term deposits, credit cards, loans or insurance.
What banking secrets do you know? Do you trust your bank? Share your banking stories.