New and improved banking products that made their mark in 2015

New and improved banking products that made their mark in 2015

2015 saw many new and wondrous things come to life. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson hit the airwaves and was played endlessly, Bindi Irwin took out the top spot in the US series of Dancing With The Stars, and of course there was the release of the final installment of the Hunger Games (finally!).

But more importantly, over the year there was also a cluster of brand new and improved banking products launched. We know, we are excited too!

Let’s take a look at the new products and incentives that wowed over 2015, across credit cards, home loans, personal loans and bank accounts:

American Express Essential Credit Card

Why it wowed us… It’s the first ever low rate AMEX rewards credit card!

Top features snapshot:

  • $0 annual fee
  • 14.99% purchase rate
  • 1 point per dollar on AMEX (uncapped and never expires)
  • $50 cash back when you spend $500 in the first 2 months

An AMEX rewards card that not only allows you to rack up juicy rewards points but comes free of the bite of a high interest rate and an annual fee, may have seemed like a reward lover’s fantasy. But that was before AMEX decided to break the mould by launching its $0 annual fee Essential Credit Card with a low purchase rate of just 14.99%.

On top of its no annual fee offering, the Essential Credit Card comes with plenty of other great features like a 0% balance transfer offer for the first 12 months, the ability to earn 1 point per dollar spent on AMEX and a $50 cash back offer when you sign up and spend $500 on your card in the first two months. Did we mention it also comes with complimentary features like extended warranty, purchase protection and smartphone screen insurance? Yep, there’s a lot to love about this rewards card specimen.

ME frank Credit Card

Why it wowed us… Low rates and $0 fees – What you see is what you get!

Top features snapshot:

  • $0 annual fee
  • 9.99% purchase and cash advance rate
  • 55 interest free days

Of course, rewards credit cards aren’t for everyone, so if you’re more of a no frills type of borrower the ME frank Credit Card could be just up your alley. As the name suggests, ME designed this new credit card to be a frank spending solution with no hidden catches in the form of pesky fees.

Plus, if you’re the type of borrower who gets a little behind on your credit card repayments every now and again, you’ll be happy to hear the frank Credit Card comes with a low 9.99% purchase rate. This low rate has also been extended to the card’s cash advance rate, which is great value when you consider the average cash advance rate in our database is a whopping 19.60%.

ING DIRECT Orange Advantage

Why it wowed us… A home loan that pays you up to $360 annually!

Top features snapshot:

  • 1% cash back offer of up to $30 per month (conditions apply)
  • Variable rates starting from 3.99%
  • Flexible features like a 100% offset account, fee free extra repayments and redraw facility

Repaying your home loan over a 25 to 30 year period can get a little dull, especially if the mortgage you’re signed up with has a high interest rate attached. But when a low rate and a cash back offer are thrown into the mix, things start to get interesting. That’s exactly what ING DIRECT did with its Orange Advantage home loan earlier this year, introducing a 1% cash back offer of up to $30 each month if you use its Orange Everyday as your offset account and deposit at least $1,000 each month.

The home loan itself has a lot to offer too, with low variable rates starting from 3.99%, a $0 application fee, no annual fee in the first year ($199 every year after) and flexible features including an extra repayments facility and 100% offset account.

act. Secured Personal Loan

Why it wowed us… It let’s you support social projects as you pay off your loan!

Top features snapshot:

  • Interest rates starting from 7.79%
  • Loan terms between 1 and 7 years
  • Earn Impact Dollars to put towards social projects
  • Flexible features like an extra repayments and redraw facility

Want a personal loan with a low rate and low fees? What if you could get all that and also give back as you pay off your loan?  

The act. Secured Personal Loan comes with an enticingly low 7.79% interest rate and a fairly low $150 application fee and $5 service fee. The best part is each month while you pay off your loan you’ll earn Impact Dollars, which you can then put towards funding social projects like providing backpack beds to the homeless and supporting those with breast cancer.

If you don’t have an asset to put up as security for the loan, act. also offers an Unsecured Personal Loan that allows you to give back but the interest rate then jumps up to 12.79%.

ME Everyday Transaction Account

Why it wowed us… It bucks the trend and doesn’t charge you ATM fees anywhere in Australia!

Top features snapshot:

  • $0 account keeping fees
  • $0 ATM withdrawal fees anywhere in Australia
  • Choose between four colours with the Buck Debit MasterCard

Another worthy contender on our roundup of new and improved products over 2015, is the ME Everyday Transaction Account that comes with the newly launched Buck Debit MasterCard. Never again will you have to scour through your wallet in search of your plastic, as Buck comes with your choice of four colours that are sure to pop in your pocket including Pineapple Yellow, Lobster Red, Avocado Green and Blue Shark.

Of course, the ME Everyday Transaction Account has more than just a bright debit card to lure your interest, as it also comes with no account keeping fees whatsoever and fee free ATM withdrawals anywhere in Australia.

TransferWise Money Exchange

Why it wowed us… It brings the peer to peer economy to international money transfers

Top features snapshot:

  • 50 money transfer routes
  • Money transfers at one-tenth the cost of bank transfer fees
  • Taking part in the peer to peer economy

It’s common knowledge that transferring money overseas can be pricey but thankfully there are a handful of challenger brands undercutting the big banks by offering low fees on overseas transfers. One of these providers is London based money transfer company TransferWise, which only recently launched in Australia.

According to industry researcher TNS, TransferWise is able to offer fees that are one-tenth the cost of bank transfer fees because of the innovative concept of the peer to peer economy. How it works is the money you’re transferring never leaves the country of origin. Instead TransferWise matches the transfer with a person from that country. So say you are wanting to transfer money to Auntie Sue in Florida, TransferWise will then find the money from a client in the US to process the money transfer. If there isn’t a person in the currency you’re looking to transfer the money to, TransferWise uses Macquarie Bank.

Looking to transfer money overseas? Compare rates in Mozo’s comparison hub here.

Which new banking product do you think entered the market with the biggest bang over 2015?

New and improved banking products that made their mark in 2015 was last modified: December 8, 2015 by Rebeccah Elley

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