CHOOSING A BANK

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Choosing A Bank

When we’re young, choosing a bank is never really our decision. One day our parents take us down to their bank, get us to sign some forms and voila! We have opened our first bank account. It might be all good at the time, but in hindsight we realise that maybe we should have been the ones calling the shots.

Now that you’re older and in control of making your own decisions, you might like to start thinking about what your banking options are to ensure you’re getting the most out of your money. There are lots of things to consider when choosing a bank: the size of the bank; the products and services they offer, the availability of their services and support; the features they provide; their interest rates; fees; and the customer service.

So how do you go about choosing a bank?

Fees

For many people, this is the first and foremost factor to consider, especially if you’re not making the big bucks yet. In exchange for looking after your money, banks can charge a few different types of fees – for example, monthly account fees, transaction fees, ATM fees, internet banking fees, branch withdrawal fees and statement fees, just to name a few. Choosing the bank with the lowest fees might seem like the most obvious and simple way to choose a bank. But there are other factors that you will probably need to consider too, ones that might make you want to pay a little more in fees in return for other benefits.

A lot of Australian banks offer low or no-fee transactions accounts, which are the most common accounts for students, so it’s good to do your research.

Convenience and Service

Being able to call your bank and receive up-front and helpful answers from a real person is considered a massively important service for pretty much everyone. When it comes to your money, you’re going to want to access and manage it with ease, so you may also want to consider whether a bank offers the various conveniences you’re after, some of which include:
  • ATMs in convenient locations
  • A mobile banking app
  • Cardless ATM withdrawal
  • The ability to lock your card if you misplace it
  • Partner discounts

Interest Rates

Interest rates may not seem like a pressing issue for you now, especially if you don’t have a huge amount of savings yet, but in the future, getting the best deal - including great rates on your savings accounts - could help grow your money. It’s worth checking different banks’ interest rates and measuring them against the account fees to see what the best deal is.

Ethics

We want to know that the bank we’re choosing shares the same values that we do – they’re the ones who are going to be in charge of our money after all. If the ethical standing of your bank concerns you, you can do your own research to ensure they’re the kind of company you want to involve yourself with.

Branches and Internet Banking

Once upon a time, having a local branch was really important. It still can be, say, if you want a face-to-face conversation with a banker, but for many people these days, it’s more important to have an easy-to-use, safe and secure banking app. Check which banks have secure apps, with features that you would like to use, before you go keying in your bank details on the interweb.

Your choice of bank will depend greatly on how much money you have and what‘s important to you. Maybe you just want a low fee account where you can use ATMs. Alternatively, you might have sum of money you’d like to invest and you’re looking to get a decent return out of a term deposit. It’s more than likely that you’ll be looking for the best range of all these factors. There are plenty of comparison websites online that can help you make all the important decisions.

Good luck m8s.

This information is intended to be general in nature only and might not apply to your personal circumstances. When in doubt always seek professional guidance.

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