Australia’s banks are some of our largest and most profitable listed companies, with the big four on track to rake in billions of profit this year.
How do they make such big profits? From you, their customers.
By immediately passing on rate rises to home loans but not giving savings accounts the same courtesy. Charging sneaky or excessive fees and not bothering to tell you there are better deals available.
I say it’s time to put an end to this culture of getting screwed over by the banks. Don’t get mad… get even!
Here are five ways to turn the tables on your bank and make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.
1. Negotiate EVERYTHING
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Simple.
In many cases, your bank would rather keep your business than lose you to another institution. So get motivated, take the initiative and give them a call.
What can you negotiate? Everything. Negotiate the interest rate on your home loan (the headline rate is for mugs).
You may be surprised at what the banks are willing to offer straight off the bat.
And it never hurts to go in with a bit of extra ammunition. Compare your bank with others and what they offer to give you some leverage in your battle for a better deal.
2. Don’t be afraid to switch
If your bank’s not prepared to play ball, it could be time to pack up and leave. Because if they’re not loyal to you, there’s no need to be loyal to them.
Switching has become a lot easier with a lot of institutions offering to do all the paperwork for you.
Check out one of the many comparison websites out there (like Mozo and Canstar) to browse and compare offers from other banks.
Switching is simply a numbers game; if it turns out you’re better off elsewhere then don’t be afraid to pull the trigger and leave. Every little bit counts.
3. Minimise the interest you pay
Paying interest is a parasite on your wealth, sucking money out of your pocket and straight into the bank’s. So you should always aim to pay the least amount of interest possible.
Focus on cutting out “bad debt” like credit cards and car loans first. These generally charge the highest rate of interest and long-term they don’t get you anywhere.
Once you’ve ditched these, turn your attention to bigger debts such as the mortgage. Yes, negotiate the rate, but also do everything you can to get ahead on your repayments (mortgage offset accounts can be a great option here).
The quicker you can pay off the principle, the less interest you’ll have to pay to the bank.
4. Maximise the interest you receive
As well as minimising the interest you pay banks, maximise the interest you earn on your own money. Savings sitting in transaction accounts earning piddly returns are actually going backwards thanks to inflation, so compare the high interest online savings accounts in the market and find the place to store your money.
Take advantage of bonus periods and other offers to eek out every last cent of interest you can from your bank… remember, your bank would do the same to you.
5. Stop paying unnecessary fees
Credit card fees, account fees, ATM fees. Australians are up to their eyeballs in unnecessary fees and if you have any sense you wouldn’t be happy about it.
The first step is to look at all your banking accounts. Cut redundant accounts, make sure the accounts you have are the best ones for your circumstances, understand the conditions of the accounts and always stay within the terms.
Cancel unneeded credit cards, switch to a fee-free bank account, organise your finances to avoid overdraft or late fees and put the money back into your own pocket.
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