Bank account news and advice

All the latest bank account news and top tips to help you manage your bank account.

  • Aussies are happier about their banking options, study shows

    Tuesday 18 September 2012

    Aussies are happier about their banking options study shows mini

    It appears that Australia's four major banks are getting things right, as a new study showed that levels of customer satisfaction are on the rise. New figures compiled by Roy Morgan Research have indicated that 76.7 per cent of survey respondents were content with the services being provided by the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac in August. This represented a 0.6 per cent improvement on the previous month, which banking chiefs will no doubt find very encouraging. NAB was the best performer during the month, as its satisfaction score rose by 1.3 per cent to 79.8 per cent. ANZ benefited from a 0.8 per cent upturn, while an extra 0.9 per cent of people who hold bank accounts with Westpac were said to be happy with their situation. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank recorded a 0.2 per cent rise during the month. Previous studies had suggested that Aussies were becoming increasingly disillusioned with the "big four" banks, so this latest report will come as a surprise to a lot of financial experts. The main reason for the souring relationship between Australia's banks and their customers was inconsistencies over interest rates. Although the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed the national cash rate from 4.75 per cent to 3.5 per cent between November 2011 and June 2012, some lenders decided not to follow suit. Understandably, this did not go down at all well with mortgage holders and personal loan customers. Despite the notable improvement highlighted in the new Roy Morgan report, it seems the banks still have a lot of work to do if they want to boost the relationship with their business customers. "Our survey shows that the banks are generally all rated very poorly by businesses on their ability to maintain regular contact and show a real interest in their industry, this particularly applies to the micro business customers of all the major banks who consider that they focus on larger businesses," commented Roy Morgan's industry communications director Norman Morris. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Competition 'is rife between banks'

    Monday 10 September 2012

    Competition is rife between banks mini

    Steven Munchenberg – chief executive at the Australian Bankers' Association – believes that competition between the nation's banks is becoming increasingly intense. Speaking to National Features, he suggested that lenders are doing their utmost to make themselves stand out from the crowd. The government recently introduced new legislation that made it easier for Aussies to switch their bank accounts and this has forced institutions to offer incentives in order to persuade customers to ditch their current lender. Banks have been particularly keen to promote their term deposits and many have resisted the urge to lower the interest rates attached to their products, even though the national cash rate has fallen to just 3.5 per cent. Mr Munchenberg told the news provider: "Banks are also wanting to draw attention to themselves and make sure when customers are thinking of switching, they are the ones they switch to." However, he also stated that it could still take a while before Aussies realise just how easy it has become to move their cash into a new bank account.

  • Major banks 'are treating struggling Aussies poorly'

    Friday 07 September 2012

    Major banks are treating struggling aussies poorly mini

    It is no secret that many Australians are struggling to make ends meet at the moment, as the weak global economy continues to put individuals under immense pressure. Sadly, a new survey conducted by the Financial and Consumer Rights Council (FCRC) has indicated that people are getting very little help from their banks. The study showed that the nation's major banks are the worst offenders when it comes to treating struggling customers poorly. A lot of people need help to keep their bank accounts in the black, but it seems that financial institutions are doing little to ease their financial problems. The Rank the Bank survey suggested that Victorians who are finding it hard to make repayments are far from impressed with the attitude of their service provider and many feel that levels of communication are unsatisfactory. Peter Gartlan – executive officer at the FCRC – believes banks need to improve their responses to people who are suffering from financial hardship. "The way the banks respond to their customers struggling to make repayments can often make or break a family's path to financial recovery," he remarked, before adding: "The Rank the Bank report clearly identifies areas for improvement for the banks' hardship policies and procedures and we look forward to working with them to achieve better customer outcomes, which we see as a win/win." Members of the FCRC reiterated the fact that anybody can suddenly fall on hard times. Although you may be comfortable at the moment, it only takes a sudden job loss, relationship breakdown or illness to thrust a person into financial turmoil. That said, there are certain demographics that are more likely to struggle than others, as shown by a recent survey undertaken by Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia. It indicated that men aged between 40 and 44 are the most likely to become bankrupt and the most common cause of personal insolvency is "unemployment or loss of income". However, the study also confirmed that 48 per cent of all bankruptcy cases involved people who earn in excess of $30,000 a year, which goes to show just how easy it is for people to slip into a downward spiral of debt. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Extended warranties 'could be a waste of money'

    Tuesday 14 August 2012

    Extended warranties could be a waste of money mini

    At a time when many Aussies' bank accounts are looking far from healthy, the last thing we need is to be wasting money on unnecessary things. According to fair trading minister Anthony Roberts, Aussies who buy extended warranties on new products and services could be throwing their cash away. He told ABC Sydney that some retailers put shoppers under pressure to purchase the extra cover, even though there are already laws in place that protect buyers. For example, somebody who buys a brand new, rather expensive flat screen TV would quite rightly expect it to work perfectly for more than two years – therefore, an additional two-year warranty really should not be needed. "What we're seeing now with retailers is that with their margins decreasing, they're falling back on selling people extended warranties that quite frankly people don't need," Mr Roberts was quoted as saying. A recent study undertaken by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission showed that Aussies have a habit of wasting money and only 54 per cent of the population can account for every single cent they spend. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Many Aussies 'don't know where they are spending their money'

    Monday 13 August 2012

    Many aussies don t know where they are spending their money mini

    Plenty of Aussies are guilty of going through life not knowing exactly where they are spending their money. Most people will have had a shock when they checked the balance of their bank accounts in the past and it is easy to lose track of where your cash is going. According to a new study conducted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the average Australian will shell out $69,166 on general living costs in 2012. However, only 54 per cent say they know what they are spending their money on. ASIC senior executive leader of financial literacy Robert Drake said people have fallen into the habit of "living to pay". "We suspect many households end up misdirecting thousands of dollars each year because they are not keeping track of where their money goes," he remarked. With the cost of living rising all the time, it makes sense for people to keep a tighter grip on their finances. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Aussies are spending billions in an attempt to lose weight

    Thursday 02 August 2012

    Aussies are spending billions in an attempt to lose weight mini

    Aussies are spending billions of dollars on weight-loss supplements and gym memberships in order to beat the winter bulge. With spring just around the corner, a lot of people are looking to shed some of the excess fat around their waistline – and this comes at a cost. A new study conducted by IBISWorld has found that the average Aussie will fork out $114 in 2012-13 in an attempt to lose a few pounds and the total spend over this period will amount to a staggering $2.5 billion. It seems that people are more concerned about their appearance than the amount of money in their bank accounts and leaders at the organisation believe this is a sign of things to come. Researchers have predicted that up to $3 billion will be spent on weight loss measures in 2017-18. According to IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie, this is not a bad thing, as obesity is becoming a growing problem down under. Recent figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that 60 per cent of the country is either overweight or obese and this is rising. "More Aussies are thus seeking the assistance of professionals and products – forking out big dollars to get their health and weight under control," Ms Dobie remarked. Unsurprisingly, fitness centre memberships account for a huge portion of Aussies' costs and around $1.7 billion will be spent at gyms up and down the country in the coming year. Ms Dobie also revealed that people aged between 25 and 44 make up 60 per cent of the fitness industry's market. She added that younger people perhaps have more spare money to spend on a weight loss regime. "The transition into the mid-20s tends to see disposable income increase, creating greater scope for spending on fitness compared with those in their early 20s and younger," she commented, before adding that a drop-off in participation sport uptake among people in their mid-20s means they are more likely to visit gyms and use personal trainers. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Inflation rises at slowest pace in 13 years

    Wednesday 25 July 2012

    Inflation rises at slowest pace in a decade mini

    Rates of inflation have risen at their slowest pace in more than a decade, new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have confirmed. The consumer price index only increased by 1.2 per cent in the year leading up to June 2012, which was the lowest recorded hike since 1999. This will come as good news to struggling Aussie households, as many people have been forced to cut their spending in order to keep their bank accounts in the black. Prices grew in the second quarter of 2012, but only by 0.5 per cent, which was broadly in line with what many economists had been predicting. Although the revelation gives the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) more room to slash interest rates, experts have warned that this is unlikely to happen. The RBA revealed in its last board meeting that it will now take a back seat after lowering the national cash rate by 75 points in May and June. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Aussies are shunning expensive health food

    Wednesday 18 July 2012

    Aussies are shunning expensive health food mini

    A large number of Australians are putting their bodies at risk because they are shunning healthy foods. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), too many people are failing to eat a balanced diet and are consuming far too much fatty produce. One of the main reasons for this, the organisation stated, is the price of healthy groceries. "The cost of healthy food is increasing at a faster rate than the cost of less healthy food, particularly in remote areas," commented spokesperson for the organisation Lisa McGlynn. A recent study by Nielsen showed that many people are struggling to cope with their debt levels and a lot of Aussies have been forced to reassess their spending habits. It appears that many are more concerned about keeping their bank accounts healthy rather than themselves. The AIHW discovered that 90 per cent of Aussies over the age of 16 do not eat the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Aussies to benefit from 'Facebook banking'

    Friday 13 July 2012

    Aussies to benefit from facebook banking mini

    Aussies could be managing their bank accounts over Facebook in the near future after one of the country's banks revealed its intention to let customers access their finances using the social network. Commonwealth Bank is developing a Facebook app that will enable people to check their balance when they have finished reading status updates from their friends, Computerworld reports. Executive general manager of card payments and retail strategy at the firm David Lindberg acknowledged that the service will not appeal to all. "We know that there is a segment of customers who are very comfortable with using Facebook for a number of private things," he remarked, adding that there are some "who just do not want their financial information sitting on Facebook". Mr Lindberg said the app – which is currently being beta tested ahead of being rolled out before the year is over – will make use of the bank's NetCode SMS two-factor authentication system for security. He has moved to reassure those who may be worried about the security of sending and receiving cash on a website traditionally used for nothing more than exchanging messages or sharing holiday snaps. The application will not be rolled out "until we have a 100 per cent Facebook security guarantee which is as ironclad as what we have today", he remarked. More and more customers are moving away from traditional banking methods and embracing new technology to send money and pay bills over the web and on their mobile phone. Data from IMS Research suggests a cashless society could be with us in the near future, as 3.5 billion smart payments and cards are forecast to be in use globally by 2017. Chief marketing officer at Commonwealth Bank Andy Lark said the firm is dedicated to "building products which are more relevant to different sectors of the market". Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.

  • Aussies are the world's top earners

    Wednesday 11 July 2012

    Aussies are the world s top earners mini

    Australians are set for another pay rise this year and this will ensure they are the highest earning people on the planet. According to a new report published by global management consulting firm Hay Group, Aussies' wages will go up by four per cent over the next financial year. This is higher than the three per cent hikes expected in the UK, New Zealand and US. People employed in the mining sector can expect an even bigger boost to their earnings over the next 12 months, the Australian Salary Movement Index found. However, report author Steven Paola said that although Aussies are earning ten per cent more than their US counterparts and a staggering 40 per cent more than UK workers, it is not all good news. For starters, the cost of living in Australia is far higher than in most other parts of the world. A recent study by Mercer showed that state capitals such as Sydney and Melbourne are among the least affordable cities in the world, with residents having to pay more for accommodation and everyday purchases such as food. The Aussie dollar is also very strong at the moment, which has had an effect on people's wages down under. Mr Paola commented: "The pay gap between the resources sector and the rest of the market has widened dramatically, mirroring the trends in the patchwork economy, which is currently seeing some sectors struggling while others enjoy boom times." Many people with relatively low-paid jobs are finding it hard to keep their bank accounts in the black. Regions that have been at the centre of the mining boom are particularly interesting. The huge demand for housing in these areas has pushed prices sky-high and residents who live here but do not hold high-paid jobs in the resources industry are really struggling to cope. Therefore, a lot of Aussies may have little choice but to leave their hometown and move to a cheaper part of the country in order to lower their overall living costs. Have a question about bank accounts? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.