How To ... Choose your bank

2013-08-26 09:26

Some things are unavoidable: taxes, death and – sometimes the most terrifying of all – choosing the right bank for your needs.

The Solidarity Research Institute, a branch of trade union Solidarity, this week released its annual report about bank charges – the fourth of its kind for the organisation.

Paul Joubert, a senior researcher at the institute, says customers should think carefully about what they want from a bank: look at your banking habits, what your financial goals and plans are and what you’d like a bank to offer.

Here are four tips from Joubert when you’re choosing your bank:

1. You don’t necessarily need just one bank for all your services. Consider different banks for different purposes – one for your savings account and another for your car repayments, for instance.

2. Joubert says South Africans tend to suffer in silence – or rather, we complain bitterly about our banks but don’t do anything to change the situation. If you’re not happy, call your bank and tell them. They may offer you a better deal and, if they can’t, you can prepare to move once and for all.

3. Understand your accounts: know what fees you are paying. If you have a cheque account, determine what type of cheque account it is and what it offers. Is it a normal cheque account? Is it a savings cheque account? You must understand precisely where your money is being kept.

4. Look at your old accounts again. You may have been using the same account for years, and it may be costing you a lot of money. Look at new products on the market and see if there’s something that suits you better.

The full report by the institute is available here.

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