With all the negative news stories, huge bonuses and the billions of pounds we’ve spent bailing out the banks you may have run out of patience. Here’s how to get your own back on the banks and exercise a little consumer revenge!
Whether it’s the Libor scandal , the HSBC drug dealing story, the RBS/NatWest computer glitch , the miss-selling of PPI or simply the wider economic crisis as a whole, it’s unlikely that you have much love for the banking sector at the moment.
You’re not alone if you feel frustrated and angry about the actions of the UK’s big banks, but while the problems do seem all-encompassing, you don’t need to suffer in silence. You can get your own back and make them pull their proverbial socks up!
Here’s how you can get revenge on the banks and make them work for every penny of their sizeable bonuses!
It’s fair to say that banks rely on their customers’ loyalty and laziness to make a pretty profit.
Existing customers rarely benefit from the best offers and banks are more than happy for you to get stuck with sub-standard accounts.
Becoming a banking mercenary is a great way to get revenge your bank – all you need to do is tout your custom to the highest bidder.
Although they don’t openly admit it, banks are well aware that they can use customers’ current accounts as a platform to cross-sell their other, more profitable products, like credit cards, loans and mortgages.
This means that they will often fall over themselves to get you to open a new current account, often going as far as offering hundreds of pounds to get you to switch.
All the big banks now offer a ‘switching service’ so you can work their desperation for your current account custom to your advantage for relatively little effort.
Find an account that makes moving your banking worthwhile, check that it won’t cost you any more in interest or charges and apply.
If you give them you’re existing bank details they’ll do all the leg work for you – you just need to keep an eye on your accounts and reap the rewards!
For help on moving your current account and how to get the best deal, read our guide: How to Switch Your Current Account Without Any Hassle.
Banks love it when their customers give them an excuse to levy fees and charges – after all, it’s an easy way for them to make money.
Whether it’s dipping into your overdraft, borrowing on a credit card or asking for a copy of a statement, if you’re asking the bank for something it’s likely to cost you.
While your current account may technically be ‘free’ you’re likely to end up paying for it indirectly if you’re not on the ball.
Don’t give the banks the satisfaction of making money from you by doing everything you can to avoid paying them a penny in interest and charges.
This includes sticking within your (preferably free) overdraft limit, making your credit card spending interest free and keeping a close eye on your accounts so you know exactly what’s going on.
Setting a budget is a great way to keep track of your banking so you avoid the charges that the banks use to line their pockets!
Try following our Action Plan: How to stick to a budget for a step by step plan on managing your money and become an expert in dodging bank charges.
If you’ve been mistreated by your bank you shouldn’t think twice about taking action.
Complaining and getting recompense when they’ve done something wrong is well within your rights as a customer and you may be surprised just how easy it is.
If you’ve been treated unfairly the first step is to make a formal complaint to your bank.
If they don’t do enough to make things right then you can then refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsmen service, they’ll act as an independent arbitrator and if your bank is found wanting can force them to compensate you where appropriate.
For a step by step help making a complaint, read our guide: How to Complain About Financial Services, you can also print off this template letter and use it to complain if you’ve received poor service.
Whether you’re a saver, a borrower or just want a home for your day to day banking you need to make sure you’re not giving your bank an easy ride.
This means never being satisfied with what you’ve got, keeping a constant eye out for something better and moving whenever your banks’ rival gives you a better deal. It’s not difficult or time consuming and it’s well worth it for both your finances and peace of mind!
Stick to these simple rules to keep your finances in check and to make sure you’re not missing out.
Banks will only ever put up prices to make an easy profit from people that renew without checking, so shop around for the best deal and don’t give them the satisfaction!
It’s likely the interest you’ll earn on savings is dwarfed by the amount you’ll pay on your borrowing so consider using your spare cash to clear some of your debts so you’re not paying out more than you need to.
There’s a lot to be said for rate chasing, it’ll not only help you earn a little extra on your nest egg but also mean you’re not lending to the banks in return for pittance. All it takes is keeping an eye on the best buy savings rates and moving your money whenever you can get a better deal elsewhere. Even if you only check once every 6 months it’s still worth doing to safeguard your money.
...or at least make sure you’re paying them as little as possible for the money you borrow. Whether it’s your credit card, mortgage or a loan you need to keep an eye on what you’re paying to borrow and be ready to move elsewhere if your borrowing costs go up.
Banks aim to transfer as many of their customers as possible to pay-monthly accounts that offer a number of inclusive services for a set monthly fee.
This is because package accounts are big earners, with some customers paying up to £25 a month (that’s £300 a year!) for the privilege.
While these accounts do come with perks, you need to carefully weigh up whether they are really worth the cost.
It’s fair to say that in most cases the benefits on offer can be purchased for much less than what you pay for the account. So you need to make sure you’re not paying out more than you need to for services you wouldn’t bother with otherwise
Before you consign your packaged account to the scrapheap it is worth double checking if it is actually worth keeping.
Some banks offer discounted loan or mortgage rates for their “premium account” customers, so in some instances a saving of 1% on your loan or even 0.1% on your mortgage could outweigh the monthly subscription charged on the packaged account.
Weigh up exactly what you’re getting from your packaged account, including any discounts you’re getting on other financial products and only keep it if it’s financially worthwhile.
Read our guide: How to Save Money with a Packaged Current Account for more information to help you make your decision.