Switching banks is easier than you think
When you have a bad day with your bank, you think of switching, don’t you? But Innovation Agency research shows that only 9% of South Africans have actually switched over the past 12 to 18 months. Are we just loyal? Or do we think that moving to another bank is an expensive, time-consuming headache?
The decision should be based on comparative decision-making, much like buying a TV or car. Visit each bank’s website or pop into a branch to speak to a consultant. You can also call a client care centre. Start by comparing the cost of basic transactions like monthly admin fees, cash withdrawals, stop and debit orders. Be aware that there may be complex product offerings, hidden penalty fees and transaction limitations—ask about these things upfront.
Something simple like geography can also make a difference. People can be swayed by whether or not there’s a branch of their bank close by and how easy or difficult it is to draw money while travelling, for example. What time does your bank open? Can you draw money at a leading retailer? How safe and convenient is your bank, exactly?
To open a new account, you need your ID and proof of residence. The process is straightforward and not time-consuming.
Once you’ve opened an account at a new bank, your current bank will need your authorisation to provide your new bank with details of debit orders and other transfers. Have your contact details and relevant info to hand when you contact a debit order initiator. “Find out if your new bank offers this service and also ensure your old bank is funded to prevent unpaid debit orders if the details are not changed in time,” advises Carl Fischer, executive of marketing and corporate affairs at Capitec.
To avoid penalty fees on returned debit orders, make changes on the first of the month, to be active in the next month. This gives suppliers, banks and your company payroll time to make the changes. Schedule debit and stop orders to only go off about two or three days after pay-day, in case there are payroll glitches.
Finally, make sure your bank is reputable and regulated by the banking ombudsman. Remember, it’s your money—you wouldn’t entrust it to someone unless they had your best interests at heart. Choose your bank with that advice in mind.
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