Bank customers prefer solving problems face to face

While Aussies are happy to do their banking digitally, it takes a conversation, preferably in person, to answer tricky question and resolve problems, according to a new study.

According to the J.D. Power 2017 Australia Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, 89% of Australian banking customers have used a digital channel to interact with their primary bank over the past 12 months. However, visiting a branch or calling a bank representative was found to be the preferred option for resolving problems (86%) and for getting answers to questions (73%).

Even millennials (defined by J.D. Power as those born between 1982 and 1994) were found to prefer the personal touch when push comes to shove, with 85% preferring to speak to a person when they have a problem and 66% when they have a question.

J.D. Power service industry practice leader, Anthony Chiam, said that banks closing branches and driving a digital agenda is not going to address the “pain points” of their customers:

“The bank branch still has an important role to play for the customer, but pain points online and on banking apps also need to be fixed if banks want to move more customers to these channels. Ultimately, if banks do want to transition to digital, they need to make sure their customers are ready to follow.”

The study found that 14% of bank customers indicate having experienced a problem with their bank in the past 12 months:

  • 26% have experienced a problem with the customer service provided at the branch or on the phone.
  • 32% have experienced a problem accessing their online banking account.
  • 34% have experienced an issue with their mobile banking app.
  • 48% were not welcomed at their bank branch.
  • 32% say that their primary bank’s ATM was down or out of service in the past 12 months. Top reasons cited include:
    • It was being serviced by bank staff or security (30%);
    • Required functionality was not working (24%);
    • It was out of cash (20%). 

Switching and saving

As a result of these unsatisfying experiences, many bank customers are starting to switch banks, with 18% of surveyed customers opening a new account with another bank rather than their primary bank over the past 12 months.

According to the study, customers who receive tailored information from their banks are far more satisfied than those who do not (796 vs. 703, respectively, on a 1000-point scale).  

What’s more, these satisfied banks customers were found to be more likely to use additional products from their bank, with 63% saying they “definitely will” use their bank again when they need a bank product, compared with only 33% who do not receive tailored information.

Millennials were found to be the demographic that the banks will need to keep an eye on, with 25% of millennials surveyed found to be considering switching their primary bank, compared with the study average of 16%.

Which banks have the most satisfied customers?

According to the study, Heritage Bank ranked highest in retail banking customer satisfaction among non-major banks, with an overall satisfaction score of 827, achieving the highest score in product offerings, facility, account information, and account activities.

Non-major bank Overall satisfaction index ranking (out of 1000)
Heritage Bank 827
People’s Choice Credit Union 822
CUA 796
Bendigo Bank 790
Bank of Queensland 777
BankSA 771
Suncorp Bank 767
Non-major financial institutions – Average 767
Bank of Melbourne 758
Bankwest 748
St.George Bank 740
HSBC 725
Citibank 709

Source: J.D. Power

Among the major banks, Commonwealth Bank came in first with a score of 747, performing particularly well in the areas of product offerings, facility, account activities, and problem resolution factors.

Major Bank Overall satisfaction index ranking (out of 1000)
Commonwealth Bank 747
NAB 745
Major banks average 741
Westpac 738
ANZ 732

Source: J.D. Power

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Learn more about bank accounts

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

Can I open bank accounts for my children?

A common question for new parents is, ‘Can I open a bank account for my child?’

The short answer is yes – as a parent you can open a bank account for your child.

Once you’ve compared your options and found a bank account that suits your needs, the process is relatively simple.

As the bank account is for your child, you’ll need to provide some documentation such as proof of ID, including your tax file number.

You will also need a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and in some cases you may also need to sign a guarantee of indemnity.

Depending on the bank and whether you’re an existing customer, you may be able to open a bank account for your child online. However, you may still need to go into a branch to prove your identity.

How do I open a new bank account?

There are a number of ways to open a new bank account – online, over the phone or in the branch. The trick is to decide what type of bank account you want beforehand.

It might sound like a simple enough task, but there are literally hundreds of bank accounts to choose from. And each offer their own banking features and benefits.

A comparison site like RateCity can help you work out what bank account product matches your needs.

Once you’ve made up your mind what you want, it’s advisable to have the following information ready for the application process.

  • A couple of forms of identification (such as driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, contact phone number and email (though email is not essential)

How do I close a bank account?

Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.  

Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.   

  • Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
  • Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
  • Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
  • Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
  • Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch

Can you find your bank account number online?

If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.

Keep in mind that each type of account you have with a bank comes with a unique account number. This means if you have a bank account as well as a savings account, for example, your bank account number and your savings account number will be different.

If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.

Alternatively, you can call your bank’s customer service number or visit a branch to retrieve your account number.

Opening a bank account for someone under 18

How can you cash a cheque without a bank account?

You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you visit Bank X, it’s likely that Bank X will let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.

How to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How do you open a bank account in Australia?

Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.

Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.

All banks require you to pass an identity check to open a bank account. Australia uses the 100-point identification system, which means you’ll need to show a number of forms of ID that, together, add up to 100 points.

Common ID types include a driver’s licence, passport, Australian visa in a foreign passport, and Australian Medicare card. You’ll find out what types of ID are accepted when you go through the sign-up process online or at a branch.

Once your account is open, you’ll be given or sent a debit card that you can use to make purchases and withdraw money from your account.

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

How do I open a bank account for a child?

There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.

A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.

If the child is too young to open the account, you can do it for them as their legal parent or guardian. 

To do this, you would need to be over 18, have an Australian residential address and currently reside in Australia (or have proof of residency).

You would also need to provide:

  • Identification for yourself and the child
  • Your tax file number (TFN) or TFN exemption

Depending on the bank account, you might be able to choose what level of access the child has to their bank account (online and via the phone).

Do you need a bank account to sell on eBay?

You don’t need a bank account to sell on eBay. But if you don’t have a bank account, you must provide either a credit card or debit card.