Your toolkit for comparing financial institutions

We all want to make sure we are trusting the right financial institution with our hard earned money, but the growing number of products and services make it increasingly difficult for consumers to compare apples with apples.

With constantly evolving product packages and changing interest rates, being able to simply compare institutions and their offering is important when seeking the best financial institution for your individual needs and lifestyle.

Here are some handy tips on what to look for in a financial institution:

•    Security – It’s essential that your financial institution is trustworthy and is a safe, reliable and credible organisation. All financial institutions are regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority who ensures financial stability. Make sure you are comfortable with the people you deal with and the organisation’s values – this will give you peace of mind that your money is in good hands.
•    Service – Every financial institution should provide high quality customer service and always tailor its advice, including recommending alternative products to suit your changing circumstances.
•    Convenience – Understand your own banking habits, whether it is going into a branch on a regular basis, having access to Internet and phone banking or just being able to easily find an ATM. Take these preferences into consideration when choosing your financial institution.
•    Features – The products offered need to meet your individual needs, so make sure there is a good selection of packages available that suit your lifestyle.
•    Interest rates and fees – Find an institution that will provide a strong return on your savings, while charging low fees on borrowed funds. Ideally you want to find a balance between your desired product features and the interest and fees associated with it.

How to compare

Use these five considerations to assess the institutions you’ve selected, and make use of the numerous online tools available to help you compare financial products and services. They also provide valuable insights into the performance of various institutions. Useful sites include:

Once you’ve done your own research, make a time to meet with financial institutions to discuss your individual needs and get a real feel for the nature of the organisation and what you can expect.

^ Robert – Chief Executive Officer