Switching banks is easier than ever

Switching banks is easier than ever and at last there are good reasons for making the trouble worthwhile. Good low-fee bank accounts and discount-rate mortgages are appearing as government reforms begin to improve competition in banking.

Recent falls in official interest rates have spread out the market in loans and mortgages. Savers prepared to shop around can still lock in rates of more than 5 per cent with a range of term deposits and high-interest savings accounts. Many lenders are cutting variable mortgage rates to pick up disaffected big-bank borrowers.

“More than half of the people (52 per cent) surveyed who undertook switching banks this year said the experience was easy,” said Christopher Zinn, spokesman for the consumer association Choice, about its 2011 Bank Satisfaction Survey. “Tick-and-flick reforms to make switching banks very straightforward are coming in about six months but even now people are reporting that they are surprised by how easy it is. That's good because many people think it is not worth the hassle … because they think all banks are basically the same.”

Along with rules that force banks to help customers switch accounts, such as providing a list of all direct debits for the past 13 months, better loan products are also providing an incentive for customers to shop around.

Source: Courier Mail