Author: Kevin Phillips
Let digital banking put you back in control of your account
Pretty much everyone knows how to find a good deal these days, and everywhere we look, retailers, suppliers and financial services headline their latest and greatest deals. We are just a few clicks away from comparison websites that will do the research for us, so it is no wonder that, when it comes to getting a good deal on our money, especially when it comes to savings, we can open an account with great rates and returns. Then, satisfied with the results we often sit back, safe in the knowledge that our money will grow with a market-leading return. Or are we?
The fact is, and it has been going on for decades, headline rate savings accounts are there to draw in the deposits, but like any honey trap, unsuspecting investors can soon be left with a sticky end. Relying on the combination of our natural human inertia and the busy lives we lead, fixed or headline variable rates soon come to an end, and our money is automatically moved or simply stagnated into lower and lower rates, way below inflation. With the high interest gone, the return rots away leaving an almost dead account, closed to new investors, and before we know it our money has found its way into a zombie account.
With this thought in mind I found I had to think it through in more detail. Surely, financial service providers are there to help, and they will just ring me up and offer me the next best deal? It’s my money after all, and they say they are here to help! – It’s an obvious thought, and I bet the majority of us just assume this to be true. Well, if it was, why are there hundreds of millions of pounds in these so-called zombie accounts, and why don’t the banks get it sorted? It is obvious really: Torn between the loyalties of the customer and shareholder, they don’t think that they have to… and it is our money anyway, so we should know how to look after it.
Living in the age of automation, we don’t really have any excuses. Digital banking has never been easier or more sophisticated, and now with banking on our mobile phones we’ve got the foundations for everything we need. The only thing left for me is getting my bank to be proactive. I want my bank to notify me when money has arrived. I want it to tell me when I’m crossing the tiered rate lines, notify me when my headline rate is going to expire, and what my best deal options really are; and I want my mobile app to alert me when these things are taking place.
So, in our busy world we need to avoid becoming just another banking zombie. If we have the technology, and we know what we want it to do, why are we not getting the best service that we think we deserve?