I 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