With the toll that the economy is having on banks and strict financial compliances from apex monetary/financial authority in different countries, banks are looking for ways to make money and stay afloat.
On my end of the spectrum as a customer, here are some bank secrets used to make as much money as possible from customers that you should know.
Bank Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know About
1. Nothing is Free. Ever.
Banks are not a charitable organization and they are set up to make money so when a service is advertised as free, it most likely isn’t regardless of how they polish it. Whether it’s from using your existing balance as a part of their investment to make more money or the N1 charge for every move you make, we all pay for our accounts one way or the other.
2. Convenience is a Trap
No kidding. Mobile money, internet banking, online banking are all successful attempts to make banking easier and these ideas thrive on customers laziness because contrary to popular opinion, laziness can be profitable. Because you can initiate transactions at the click of a button, you do a lot more transactions from your mobile phone and end up being charged more money by the bank. For instance, each transaction to another bank attracts a charge.
I believe one of the biggest culprit is recharging your phone from your bank account. The last time I bought a recharge card was a long time ago but I can’t count the number of times I have recharged my phone from my bank account. Now each time I recharge, I may not see a direct charge from my account but I receive an SMS from my bank to alert me to the transaction. This “SMS alert” is accrued in my SMS charge for the month.
3. They’ll Most Likely Set You Up to Pay Higher Fees
You know those privileged accounts they ask you to open? Most of the time, they are bombarded with so many features, you end up not using any of them, yet they go into the charge of opening that account. My principle? If you don’t need it, ditch it.
Also, when you are opening these accounts, they tend to include all the alerts you don’t need, for example, you get notified via email about every transaction and you won’t have to pay for that alert. However, they also automatically alert you via text. Unless you call to deactivate, you will be charged for that, so ask your account manager for ways to cut down on your cost and exhaust all options.
You can read this Zenith bank review to see some of the rates they charge and how that affects your account or compare with that of your bank
4. The Rates Advertised are Not Always Black and White
Rates on accounts like savings or current account can change at any time and you may not necessarily be informed when the rates change. Also, on specific services like loans, rates are always different depending on your credit history, how much you are borrowing, and who is borrowing. Rates are not always specific.
5. Don’t Take a Salary Advance Loan
While we are on the subject of ‘loans,’ try not to take a salary advance loan. Asides the fact that you may get used to spending all your salary before the month ends and always look forward to getting the next salary before it’s due, salary loans last time I checked with GTB require a whopping 30% interest rate. You may get your salary in advance, but its a pain in the long run.
6. Sometimes, the Policies Appear too Convenient. Not for you Darling…(My opinion as a customer)
Remember the Central Bank of Nigeria policy where you couldn’t spend more than $100 on international transactions? Suddenly, there was a lot of promotions on getting a dollar card which allows for limitless international transactions.
To get a dollar card, you would need a domiciliary account with a $100 minimum opening balance and incur other charges each time you use your dollar card. Later on, they switched it up to spending $1000 minimum on your debit card (the same card you use for local transactions).
From time to time, these policies from the financial authority or banks appear and they sound so convenient. Do you think these things are a coincidence? I really do not think so.
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7. Always Read the Emails. Don’t be Lazy
Yea, banks don’t always send you every update, but the ones they do send, please take the time to read them so you don’t go against their terms and conditions, or incur a charge that you could have avoided.
8. Don’t use your Local Card Abroad
Please, please whatever you do, do not use your local card abroad. The fees they charge you are absurd and you don’t get the worth of your money.
9. Don’t Change Your Money at the Bank
Banks ofttimes offer the worst exchange rate so do not change your currency at the bank. Instead, look for a currency exchange company to do your exchanges.
10. Too Many Accounts Might Hurt You
Banks try to pull you in with interesting offers but try not to fall for them especially if the last thing you need in your life is another account. You will end up spreading your money across too many accounts and not building enough goodwill with a bank.
11. Your Savings Might Be Better Off Somewhere Else Anyways
The monthly interest rate on your savings account is only 4.2% and you forfeit this interest after three (3) withdrawals. This is something many people do not know about but it is for real. That said, your hard-earned money may be better off somewhere else, maybe look into purchasing treasury bills or another form of investment (please do your research, this is not professional investment advice.)
12. ATM Charges Are a Real Money Spinner
I don’t know if this is applicable in all countries but if you withdraw money from an ATM that isn’t run by your bank, you get charged. In Nigeria, if you withdraw three times from an Atm not run by your bank, you get charged N65 for each withdrawal.
13. If Something is Too Good to be True, It Probably Is
If there is an offer from your bank and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you check for any inconsistencies, subtle unwarranted withdrawals from your account. It may be as a result of the new offer or service you just signed.
Take note of these bank secrets so you don’t fall for them. What experience do you have with the bank as related to this post? Please share in the comments.
Thanks for reading!