Most of us choose a bank early on when we start earning money and stick with it for most of our lives. I opened mine when I was a kid and the account was upgraded to an adult one in due course, and I didn’t change it for about a decade. People often don’t think about the deal they’re getting from their bank and loyalty takes over from common sense. But banks are always changing and you could be getting a way better deal elsewhere. So, how do you know when it’s time to change banks?
The Bank Is Going Through Big Changes
If your bank goes through some big changes, that could have a big impact on your account. It doesn’t always mean you’ll be getting a worse deal but now is the time to check and understand exactly what you’re being offered. Banks go through changes for a lot of different reasons; Zurich Life has rebranded as Zurich.ie in Ireland, for example. Banks often rebrand because they want to change their focus or move into new markets. If your bank is going through a rebrand, speak with them and ask how this might affect your account. The other major thing you need to watch out for is banks being bought out by somebody else, usually another bank. When that happens, they’re more likely to change all of their deals and restructure accounts so you need to check what you’re actually getting.
Monthly fees are something you should try to avoid but in some cases, they are of benefit. Certain accounts with monthly fees will give you a better interest rate or some other rewards. But if you’re still paying loads of high fees and you’re not seeing anything back in return, you need to start looking elsewhere. You might even be able to find a similar account without the excessive fees. One fee to watch out for in particular is a minimum transaction fee where the bank charges you unless you carry out a certain number of transactions each month. Essentially, you’re being penalised for curbing your spending which is never a good thing.
Good communication is vital when you’re choosing a bank. You’re trusting them with all of your money so you need to be able to get in touch with them if there is a problem. If you end up spending hours on hold every time you call up and you can never set up a face to face meeting with anybody at the bank, that’s a definite warning sign. Look at some reviews of other banks and check their customer service record, finding a bank that will work with you is just as important as finding the best interest rates and lowest fees.
There are a lot of great budgeting apps that you can use to help you save money and most of them will connect with your internet banking apps to make things so much easier for you. If your bank doesn’t work alongside these apps, it can make things tricky. A good example of this is Barclays not being compatible with Apple and Android pay, meaning you have to download a separate app and use that. If your bank isn’t willing to adopt new technology to make your life easier, get rid of them.
You need to recognise when it’s time to cut your losses and move banks, you’ll get a better deal for yourself in the end.