I have more bank accounts than is usual. But, most are suit a practical purpose. For those that are in semi retirement, I wonder whether I should declutter them, though they are costing me nothing and causing me no grief.
My main financial institution in the ANZ bank. It’s one of the ‘big 4’ in Australia. It’s also my father’s former employer – which is how I came to have my very first account with them (that I still have to this day).
I also have my mortgage with ANZ. I flirted with all banks when I started looking about two years ago. I dated Heritage Building Society pretty seriously when I put in an offer for another loft apartment. Sadly, HBS were scared of the long term commitment. Despite pre approval, their valuation of the property (which also includes a risk analysis of a number of factors), came back lower than what I’d offered. The timing of my offer was around the same time I was heading to Israel and the US for a few weeks, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to move to another lender, and recommence the loan process. It was a shame that HBS didn’t come through, as I liked the idea of supporting a building society.
By the time I got serious again about buying, rates had changed, and a Big 4 came out looking VERY competitive. I knew I wanted a fixed 2 year term, so it was simple to compare. There are SO many choices in a mortgage, I intentionally narrowed the field early. I’m well aware there are pros and cons of every loan type, and this suited me best then (and now).
I also have an E*Trade account which is ANZ’s trading account. This was something I got into in 2009, and haven’t really actively pursued since. I basically have an itty bitty portfolio – money I don’t miss, but know is silently sitting there, perhaps growing a little as I reinvest my dividends.
This is probably my preferred bank. They make me happy! They have great online tools, their call centre is in Australia, you don’t need to spend time or energy setting up your first account with them – they use all sorts of modern identity checking methods, without making me get things signed by a justice of the peace. They also offer tricky checks to move your money – which trip up others when their overseas, but I’m never without my Australian mobile phone, so I’ve not had a problem to date.
I have several savings account
s with them. I have my ‘cushion’ account – a nice way of saying it’s an emergency fund, as it will also hopefully grow to be my mortgage refinancing account at the end of this year. I also dip into it for expenses I can’t cover with week to week pay, but aren’t regular, planned expenses.
I also have my ‘bills’ savings in another Ubank account. There’s no cost to any of these accounts and I feel more comfortable with this ‘seperate’ from the slowly increasing ‘Cushion’ above.
Finally, I have a third Ubank account that’s currently in the black at the tune of $4.68! It’s my former ‘holiday’ fund. I don’t have a clear holiday plan in my head (a date or a location), so I’m not actively contributing to the account.
More savings accounts! Before Ubank, ING Direct was the leader in the field. At last check, they did also have better interest rates on their high interest savings accounts, but only for new customers (which I am not). Sometimes, ‘new money’ qualifies, but not this time. I don’t mind ING, but it’s all about interest in these accounts. And I don’t think I’ve EVER had to call them, so that is a bonus in my book.
I have two accounts with them. The first is for ‘Health Insurance’. I think I thought I should utilise this bank, seeing I had active accounts. Hardly logically, but still. I put away money every week for my annual health insurance premium. I prefer to pay annually than await the direct withdrawal weekly or monthly from the health fund. At least this way, I’m in control!
The second account has 50c. I could close this account.
Perhaps I will. I have now
When I grew up (hahaha) and was moving to France for a year in 2006, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a credit card for emergencies. I found the cheapest card (ie no annual fees) that offered a competitive interest rate (at least when I was applying). I applied, with bated breath, as I was a student with a variable, casual job – so my ‘salary’ wasn’t easy to ascertain. Interestingly, the bank did NOT reject me (as ANZ would have, based on their policies). I’ve not had any emergencies, but do use the card to tide me between pays, or buy a great deal on an airfare. I don’t think I’ve ever paid interest!
I also have
two one savings accounts with Bankwest – one with 46c and 51c each. A legacy from times where i would use ING and Bankwest to leverage their ‘introductory’ offers to ‘new deposits’. Seems like I could declutter these two as well.
I love that when I rang, there was no ‘press this number for this’ and I got right onto a real person.
28degrees (GE Capital)
My newest ‘bank’ was for a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees. I used this as my sole ‘money’ whilst in Dubai/Morocco/France last year. I was happy with being able to withdraw as a cash advance at no cost with the positively loaded card. My only disappointment was the delay on showing transactions on it’s website. Given this lack of functionality, I won’t give up my other credit card, and this card will be left solely for travel (or, if the other card gets stolen with the cash card).
I still maintain an everyday transaction account with this French bank, from when I lived there in 2006. The charge an annual fee – my only account to do this. And I’m willing to pay it, knowing HOW hard it was to GET the account (France is chicken and egg with accommodation and bank accounts – you need one for the other). I plan to move back to France one day, so this account lingers. I love that it accesses real money but it’s also a ‘credit’ card at least for booking stuff online. So modern – this sort of functionality didn’t happen in Australia in 2006!
In summary I have
– 1 mortgage
– 2 credit cards
– 2 ‘everyday’ banking accounts (with cards and direct access to money)
– 1 trading account
7 5 savings accounts 13 11 ACCOUNTS across 6 banks! No wonder I sometimes confuse my passwords. I think this list has made me realise I can cull at least two savings accounts (one each at Bankwest and ING), if not more!
And that’s just what I did – no sense talking about it. I just did it. It was so simple as well – just rang both banks. I think it took more time to ID me than to close the accounts!