Monday, 2 May 2011

Banking Made Simple

With so many banks and the wide range of products and services they offer its no wonder it can be difficult to find the best deals. Here we set out some top tips to help make banking simple for everyone.

Given that the deals on offer change frequently the aim of this information is not to suggest a specific bank or product but to provide some guidance to allow you to find the best products and services which really meet your personal needs

So here are 5 things to consider when making a choice for your main bank account

- Fees and charges

Remember two things -

(1) There is no such thing as free banking so in some way you will always pay even this is a small amount to most individuals when a bank has millions of account they can make big profits from this small amount, such as paying zero or very low rates of interest on credit balances

(2) Watch out for the charges you may incur, you may only ever make a small number of transactions which attract these charges but they can soon add up (but don't forget you can always open up another account which could avoid the charged you don't want)

"You can open a second account which has lower charges for foreign transactions and only use this for your holiday spending abroad"

- Access

Most people still want to use a bank branch although there are now many more choices when a customer want to access their bank - think about the quality of the service you want when managing your account via Phone, Internet and Mobile services.

You may also want to consider the type of payment card you want from your bank, ,Visa and Mastercard are widley accepted, American Express (AMEX) is accepted in many places.

It is also worth considering if you want your bank to provide more than one service; think about your personal needs such as credit cards, loans and insurance.

"if your going to mainly access your bank online checkout their online banking demo"

- Who is your bank

Now most people used to pay little attention to who their bank was and most importantly how reliable the banks funding and protection was but over the last few years there have been a number of high profile banks which has suffered and left some customers wondering just how safe their money is.

- Getting something extra

One of the big differences between banks is some of the extra services they offer. These are often bank account which have a monthly fee but offer a number of additional benefits which can include some of the following

  • Lower Cost Overdrafts
  • Home Emergency Cover
  • Worldwide Travel Insurance
  • Car Breakdown Cover
  • Mobile Phone Insurance
  • Loyalty Points (such as AirMiles etc.)
  • Extended Warranty
  • Airport Executive Lounges Access
  • Commission-free Travel Currency
  • Card Protection
  • Identify Protection
  • Life Cover
  • Annual online credit report
  • Access to a Relationship Manager

- Get Some Opinions

Clearly you need to take a balanced view when seeking the opinions of others but when it comes to personal service the best way to gauge the performance of a bank is to see what others think. You can ask around or check one of the online services which provide bank reviews.

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