Crazy, confusing, exciting. Say what you will about 2016, but between Brexit and the Rio Olympics, the US election – and the fallout from the result – it’s been anything but boring.
The banking world is no exception – 2016 has also been an eventful year for Aussie finance, with the RBA announcing record breaking low interest rates and the recent banking inquiry shining a spotlight on badly behaved banks. Not to mention the score of brand new products that hit the market in home loans, credit cards, and right through to bank accounts.
But with all the excitement of 2016, some of these new and improved developments in the world of finance might have flown under your radar. So we’ve collected 7 of the banking products launched in 2016 that you might have missed:
1. Rate tracker home loan: Auswide Bank
This year’s banking inquiry brought lenders to task for not passing RBA rate cuts onto customers – the new RBA Rate Tracker Home Loan from Auswide Bank makes that a problem of the past, with an interest rate that follows changes in the official cash rate.
Although this means borrowers will never miss out on an RBA rate cut again, whether or not this mortgage will wind up being the most cost effective option is debatable. Even so, Auswide Bank definitely gets points for taking on the challenge.
RBA Rate Tracker Loan key features:
- 3.99% variable rate (4.01% comparison rate)
- RBA rate cuts passed on in full
- Rate changes effective within 2 business days
- Free extra repayments and redraw facility
2. Frequent flyer home loan: Virgin Money
The Virgin Money Reward Me Fixed Rate Home Loan, gives you the chance to earn a stack of rewards points on your home loan balance. Although it follows in the footsteps of Qudos Bank’s Qantas Points Home Loan or Macquarie’s Flyer home loan range, it’s notable for being the first home loan to allow to earn Velocity points
With the Reward Me home loan, you can earn 1,000 Velocity points for every $10,000 you borrow, plus an extra 1,000 points every month. As if that wasn’t enough, for every 3 years that your loan balance is above $50,000, you’ll earn another 30,000 points on top.
Reward Me Fixed Rate Loan key features:
- 3.79% interest rate (3.92% comparison rate)
- Earn Velocity points while you pay off your loan
- Fixed and variable rate options available
3. Cheapest credit card: Police Credit Union
The Police Credit Union SoLo Credit Card is a hot new product for one simple reason: it comes with the lowest interest rate available on the market at 6.99% – and no annual fee. This makes it a great option for shoppers who carry a balance and are sick of sky high interest charges.
On the other hand, there are no interest free days, so if you pay your balance off in full each month anyway, you might find better savings with other low rate cards.
SoLo Credit Card key features
- 6.99% interest rate
- $0 annual fee
- No interest free days
4. Travel perks credit card: American Express
Entering the market right in time for travel season, the AMEX Explorer Credit Card is perfect holiday kickstarter for Aussies who’ve caught the travel bug. It’s jam-packed full of value, and one of the main bonuses on offer is a $400 annual travel credit, to spend on things like flights, car hire or accommodation. Other perks on offer include 2 free airport lounge passes per year, complimentary travel, car and rental insurance and a hefty bonus points offer.
AMEX Explorer Credit Card key features
- 20.74% interest rate
- $395 annual fee
- 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points (when you spend $1,500 in the first two months.)
- $400 Travel Credit annually
5. Free flight credit card: ANZ
Another awesome option for Aussie travellers – and this time from a big bank! Jetsetting spenders using the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card overseas will pay no international transaction fees at all.
There’s also a bunch of perks up for grabs, including a free domestic return flight and two airport lounge passes each year, free international travel insurance and 2 points for every $1 you spend.
Rewards Travel Adventures key features
- 20.24% interest rate
- $225 annual fee
- Free domestic return flight annually
- Two Virgin Australia lounge passes each year
6. Charitable bank account: Australian Military Bank
If you like your banking with a side of charitable giving, it’s never been easier than with Australian Military Bank’s Military Rewards Account. At the end of the month, the “spare change” in this account (cents up to 0.99c) is matched by Australian Military Bank and then donated to your choice of four charities. Pretty cool, right?
Remember to deposit at least $1,500 each month (for example, your salary) in order to avoid the account fee and snag cashback on payWave purchases.
Australian Military Bank Rewards Account key features
- $4 account fee ($0 when you deposit $1,500 a month)
- Linked debit card
- Access to the Cents gifting program
- 2% cashback on payWave purchases under $100 (when you deposit $1,500 a month)
7. Premium privileges bank account: Macquarie
Want cool premium perks like a 24/7 concierge service, but don’t want to pay fees for the platinum credit card it usually takes to get them? You can get them, with the Macquarie Platinum Transaction Account.
It comes with a tonne of cool features, including access to MasterCard Platinum privileges, like discount tourist experiences through PricelessCities and insurance cover against theft for your purchases and handbag or wallet. All you have to do is deposit at least $4,000 a month.
Technically, this product launched in December 2015, but since it won an Experts Choice New Product Award this year, we figured that was close enough to earn a spot on this list.
Macquarie Platinum Transaction Account key features
- $0 account keeping and international purchase fees
- Free access to any ATM in Australia
- Complimentary features like theft protection and concierge (conditions apply)
- 2016 Experts Choice New Product Award winner
So those are our picks for the year! Let us know which banking product made your year in 2016.