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Is it time to switch banks?

Is it time to switch banks?

If you’ve ever received poor service, or tried to compare term deposits offered by different institutions, you’ve probably wondered why you don’t simply switch over to another bank. You wouldn’t be the first. 

Roy Morgan Research recently found that bank satisfaction levels were lagging among higher income and business customers. This was unfortunate, said Norman Morris, Roy Morgan industry communications director, because these were the customers who had “the greatest potential”. 

“The challenge for the banks is to create a clear satisfaction and advocacy leadership positioning among the higher value customers,” he elaborated. 

You don’t necessarily have to be awash in cash to consider switching banks, however. With the large number of financial institutions out there clamouring for your hard-earned dollars, there’s plenty of options for those dissatisfied with their current bank. The following are some of the signs you might be ready to give them a look-over. 

The home loans are greener on the other side

There are many mortgage products offered by different lenders, all of which have various rates and features, some of which are more advantageous than others. Even if your mortgage was originally very favourable, you could well find that, over time, other products have arrived on the market that blow yours out of the water. A home loan comparison can help you identify these. 

Any lender worth her or his salt will refinance your loan and let you switch over to their product, once you’ve decided on a better option. 

You’re envious of other credit card offers

The array of credit cards out there is quite possibly as extensive as the different types of home loan products. All of them will have different interest rates and terms attached that could put your current credit card to shame. This is no mere cosmetic change – if you’re struggling with debt, yet nonetheless require the convenience of a credit card, you want a product that will help keep you in the red as much as possible. 

Credit card options range from low-interest rate products, to those which don’t impose annual fees or even give you rewards points. Again, carrying out a credit card comparison is key. 

You want to save on your savings

The point of a savings account is to build up funds over time, gradually putting you in a more advantageous financial position. Unfortunately, a variety of factors can inhibit your progress in this regard. 

The interest on your savings has arguably the greatest impact on the state of your savings, along with how regularly you receive it. On top of this, however, there are also fees, whether or not you receive any rewards for depositing money regularly and the flexibility you have with withdrawing funds. Some even have limits on your maximum possible balance.

Service without a smile

Apart from these more conventional financial considerations, the quality of service is also a big deal. Is your bank hard to get a hold of? Are they unreliable in terms of offering you useful and informative advice? Have you had a bad experience with them in the past?

Unfortunately, there’s no number crunching here that can tell you which banks are better and which are worse with customer service. It’s one of those times you may have to listen to your gut. 

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Learn more about credit cards

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.