How to do your banking for free

Comparison sites have taken the shovel to dozens of banking products and unearthed some treasures that will help you beat the banks at their fee-gouging ways.

So depending on which bank fees you find most objectionable and would like to avoid, take your pick of these fee-free products, or take them all.

Monthly account fees

Virtual bank ING does not have conventional branches and thus avoids having to pay the overheads forced on to other financial institutions. So, according to Mozo, it can afford to pass that saving on by offering customers accounts that are free of monthly fees.

Plus, as long as you maintain a balance of $1000, ING customers can use any ATM – that’s right … your nearest one will do – for free anywhere in Australia.

While ING reimburses ATM fees automatically, if you bank with ME Bank or Macquarie Bank and use another bank’s machine, they will refund fees at the end of the month.

Another comparison site, Canstar, has also discovered several zero-fee savings and transaction accounts. They are offered by HSBC, ME Bank and NAB.

Credit cards

Killer credit card charges are everybody’s enemy number one. American Express comes to the rescue with its zero annual fee Essential Credit Card. And with an interest rate of 14.99 per cent on purchases, it is more than competitive.

There are other credit cards that are free for the first year, but Finder.com.au shows that their interest rates tend to be higher. This may be because the providers – ANZ, Woolworths and CUA – offer services not available from American Express.

Home loans

Budget lender U Bank offers a fee-free home loan with no ongoing or upfront fees, free extra repayments and redraw facility. Its 3.74 per cent variable interest rate is more than reasonable.

According to Canstar, other lenders offering some free home loan services include loans.com.au, Hunter United and Heritage Bank.

Would you switch banks to one that didn’t charge fees? Do you know of any other ways of saving on bank charges?

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