I love thee ANZ, and yet I am closing thy accounts

realpigpiggybankI found Charles Wright’s blog piece about bank fees interesting today. Even though I have (supposedly) completely fee free banking with ANZ thanks to a special deal they have for ACP employees, I was still finding myself paying about $10 a month in those pesky unavoidable “other bank ATM withdrawal” fees… at $1.50 a pop.

I’ve just moved all my banking to Suncorp, because their “Everyday Options” account, which costs a flat $5 a month, gives you unlimited withdrawals at any bank ATM at no cost.

Ironically, even though I really like ANZ’s internet banking and its customer service (better than National and Commonwealth who I have also banked with in the past), I found it pretty easy to make the decision to move to Suncorp for a number of reasons:

1. Banks have been training us for years to do things electronically and not go into the branch. Consider me well trained. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that Suncorp only has one branch in Sydney – at the bottom of Pitt Street near Circular Quay. If I ever need to go there, it’s just a nice 20 minute walk from work.

2. I hate paying that “other bank ATM withdrawal fee”. I realise why the banking industry did it — because it provides a business model that gives banks and non-bank ATM providers an incentive to put machines out there prolifically — but it still pisses me off anyway. $1.50 is too much for an automated service that gets used hundreds of times a day and surely costs nowhere near that much per day to run.

3. Suncorp offers a Visa Debit card that withdraws money from my bank account as soon as I make a purchase by Visa, with no annual fee. Very few banks offer debit cards any more, instead heavily promoting credit cards that they know customers will use as rotating credit lines (repay and spend again) and clock up $50 – $80 interest each month. I’m pleased to be able to get off that treadmill thanks to the availability of the debit card. (And, at the end of the day, most people could do without the credit available to them with the credit card, but can’t do without the online and phone purchasing.)

4. Suncorp has solved the final problem that still forces people into branches: cheque deposits by mail!! Hot damn, all of a sudden, every red Australia Post Box has become my personal branch. Hey, there’s a Suncorp Metway branch right outside work now.

The only downside I’ve found with Suncorp so far is that their internet banking does not allow automatic regular BPAY transactions. That’s quite annoying as I use BPAY to pay my rent, and ANZ’s automatic regular BPAY function handled that with aplomb. I rang Suncorp and politely gave them what for (don’t worry I couched it in terms like “register my feedback”) so hopefully they will fix that at some point in the near future. Otherwise Eric the Enforcer will be paying a visit to the online banking product manager to have a little chat. 😉

NB. The pig at the top of the story is a piggy bank cast from the carcass of a real pig… click the pig for more info. Via Boing Boing

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11 thoughts on “I love thee ANZ, and yet I am closing thy accounts

  1. Jason

    Hi Dan Warne,

    Suncorp charges a hefty $1.50 to use non Suncorp ANZ bank for all QLD residents. Fee free withdrwals from other banks ATM’s are not fee free for QLD resisdents. And they charge a $5 monthly account keeping fee. So if you live in QLD its not a great deal at all.

    And as for Suncorp’s Visa Debit a $5 fee aplied for every $1000 withdrawn or part thereof via an over the counter transaction or through an overseas or other bank ATM.

    ANZ also offer Visa Debit. There isnt a penalty for withdrawing your own funds. And so long as you are using an ANZ ATM (I dont seem to find a shortage of them) then you are not slugged with a transaction fee either.

  2. John Pink

    I understand that the bank (any bank) can only charge what the transaction actually costs them when you use another bank’s ATM.

  3. Calista O'Neil

    I hate the ANZ bank! It doesnt matter how you look at it they are thieves. They steal money from account ‘legitimately’ through unecessary rate rises/fees, and illegitimately though double charging fees then refusing to give the money back. Obviously, as internationally they are majorly stuffed, they are trying to make money by screwing the little people over. I was given the wrong loan 2 times and when the sale was about to fall through, the ANZ insisted I sign the wrong loan forms with a dont worry we’ll take care of it attitude. I was to do this or I wouldnt get the loan. They seemed honest at the time, if I could only take that action back. I was then charged for ‘extra loans’, although I was told I wouldnt be affected by their screw up. I have now been trying to get the money back for over 3 months. The people at the branch told me it was my fault and shouldnt have used their mobile lender. The ANZ mobile lender has said it is not her fault, its mine. No one answers my calls, no one answers my emails. The complaints department doesnt even return calls. Despite being instructed by the banking ombudsman to return my money they havent! I wish I had never heard of the ANZ bank. I hope they do go into liquidation!!! Then someone, anyone would be better than them to take over my loan!

  4. Jon

    Well i wish i could say something nice about suncorp but i can’t, they are, by far, the worst financial institution i have ever had the misfortune to deal with!

    we have a business account there since 2004. Our Suncorp banking manager has NEVER been available.. we emailed her once about a query, 4 months later we received the reply… and it was an arrogant one at that… never again. We had a merchant facility with suncorp, because we have a home office, suncorp charged us an extra $10 per month for the machine rental than a retail shop, gave us a very very very old machine cos “it wasn’t necessary for us to have a up-to-date model” and after 4 years of our loyality, they just slapped us with $165 to hand the machine back to them! and now they have refused twice to let us close our own account because they say the machine needs 30 days to close… despite the fact we no longer have it, have the facility to process CC’s and they have taken the “penalty” from our account! and today it came to a head when they took fees from our account that they shouldnt have and put us in the red… and subequently they whacked us with $30 “honor” fee and are refusing point blank to reverse the whole thing even though it is their own mistake….

    more recently, I had $50,000 transferred into my account, suncorp told me they would take 9 business days to clear the funds, despite it being sent from ANZ – Suncorp via a cleared funds transfer… after threatening suncorp with A current affair, banking ombudsman etc, they relented and cleared the funds after 5 business days, but they sent me a rude letter and contacted the initiator of the funds transfer who doesnt even bank with Suncorp, so they breached privacy laws there. When contacting suncorp about why they decided no 9 business days to clear the funds we were given 6 different excuses by six different people, ranging from “its our policy” to “anything over 2k is subject to an extra 6 business days clearance” to “Anz tranferred it the wrong way”… nonsense.

    when in-branch recently and speaking with a business banking agent at the business banking counter, we enquired about why suncorp take 30 days to close our eftpos facility when they have the machine back and taken the fees and there are no transactions outstanding… the reply we got was “i have no idea, i don’t know about business banking” coming from a customer representative serving at the business banking counter!

    Very very badly managed business, don’t expect any real help, if you have money in your account, watch it dwindle away with suncorp and their made up fees… avoid like the plague if you are serious about your banking!

    once suncorp allow us to close our account (third attempt) we will wash our hands in the nearest puddle to rinse off any residue from these modern day pirates!

  5. jeni

    I see that although this was written a while ago, there have been some recent posts.

    I have had some dealings with both the banks mentioned here, and am not happy with either.

    I changed to suncorp because I was searching for something local in QLD, something that was a bit more friendly.

    In the end their internet banking was ridiculous, transferring out of the bank is a hassle, as are B-payments, no automated service!

    And they are now pushing you to purchase a security token to generate a security code to make things even safer (than already secure banking?!) and this would be inconvenient and could easily lose and probably need to pay a lot in recovery fees for.

    I have been trying to close this bank for almost one year now. First I was talked into staying with them through an offer of a Visa Debit card – my reason for leaving (silly for giving one) was that I had problems when I tried to use the debit card overseas as it was not on an international network (it was only a back up as I had another account with my primary bank, and I had just had this card stolen with my wallet).

    I was satisfied for a while, but then the non-suncorp ATM fees were biting me too.

    Finally I tried to close it again, and was told that I had some “dormant accounts” that I first had to re-activate. The only way to do this was to use a service that I had never used with Suncorp (and frankly haven’t used with any bank or service provider since 2002) and use phone banking.

    I protested that surely there must be some other way to close the account, speak to a supervisor, manager, write a letter to the head of banking? No, only phone banking.
    As this was not something that I wanted to do I put it off and tried a few more times to close it at the branch, through the website service centre and over the phone again – you know, talking to a “real person”.

    Then I forgot about it and had a strange visa direct debit request go through. And the charge for not enough funds directly after.
    I thought this was a one-off thing and was following my own avenues to try to reverse this when it happened again.

    My account is now $80 in debt from these fees plus some!

    I have finally put my fears of a service I have no need for aside, and called today to transfer funds. I know why I haven’t used phone banking for the longest time – it is such a waste of my time I cannot believe it. I am overseas by the way, and a call back to Australia for 45 minutes is not cheap…

    Eventually I was informed that the call centre is 24 hours and can help me close it after I have transferred the funds. I called and was told that it was “10pm in Australia and you need to go into a branch, I think, to do that”.

    Well I might just be writing to the CEO to close this bloody account!!

  6. dani

    I just had my ANZ savings account frozen – after ANZ helped themself to what was in it.
    Imagine 7pm, a Friday night, kids in the car begging for maccas as the cupboards were/still are bare. I closed a credit card months ago, ANZ stopped sending me statements – so I basically forgot about it. (my fault) they send a letter so I call them and bpay $400 (out of the 2000) to them in june 2008. I ask for a statement to be sent out with the bpay details & for my own records so I KNOW the 400 has gone onto the card….

  7. dani sanders

    No statements, phone calls… no contact – only an acct balance of 0.00 last night (30.1.09) & the call centre closed for that department. Called them today, am told they can access my savings whenever they want to pay the credit card debt… they unfreeze the account but i try explaining 100 dollars will not support my family till next payday (not to mention buy a weekly rail ticket to sydney and try and get all the back to school stuff sorted… and am told "I don't care about your circumstances".
    Please be warned if you have an overdue credit card with ANZ…. DON"T LEAVE ANY CASH IN YOUR ACCOUNT!THEY CAN TAKE YOUR SAVINGS WHENEVER THEY WANT WITHOUT ANY PRIOR NOTICE!Don't be stung at 7pm on a Friday night.

  8. jeni

    Geez – reading Dani's comments makes me think I should be really careful with the accounts I keep. Yes, having separate credit card accounts to bank accounts make sense when something like this could happen.
    And the sympathy shown by the bank as well – you'd think none of the call center staff have families, or problems paying their rent! Get creative – there is always someone else you can talk to, supervisers ect, though it will take time.

    As for my above suncorp account. I eventually closed it – and I think the costs had risen to about $160 in the end. There was no letter I could write, but I did find someone at the call center that walked me through it over the phone. Still took about 20 minutes, and there was another "hidden" un-active account that I and they didn't know about at first.

    Still annoyed at the expense, but very glad it is finally gone.

    Sticking with credit unions only from this day forth. Recommend it to anyone also looking for a better deal.

  9. David Golightly

    I think credit unions are the way to go. I’ve used mecu for years and they are very friendly and accessible. When I sold my property and banked the money with them they sent me a lovely bottle of wine! Currently trying to close an ANZ credit card acct with little success…

  10. Bob

    I agree completely with David about Credit Unions. I’m new to them, having always used ‘Big Banks’, but the growing dissatisfaction caused me to have a look around. It’s amazing; I don’t even know what I had ‘against’ credit unions in the past, but there was just something that caused me to never consider them. Now, after 4 months with one, I can’t believe it took me this long to ‘discover’ them. I didn’t get a bottle of wine like David, but… the overall service compared to the old ‘Big Bank’ is a world apart.

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