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AUSTRALIANS are being offered cash incentives to switch banks as competition for deposits continues to heat up.

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Comparison website RateCity spokeswoman Michelle Hutchison says multiple banks are using financial incentives to entice new customers to join up with them.

"This is just the start of incentives out there for transaction accounts - we've seen up to $100 being offered to switch," she says.


"It will be interesting to see what other institutions come up with to lure and attract new customers.


"The beauty of this is it doesn't cost anything for consumers to switch transaction accounts."


On July 1, the Federal Government introduced "tick and flick" legislation to make it easier for Australians to switch their transaction accounts between financial institutions.

Customers are no longer required to seek help from their former bank to move their account elsewhere.


Instead, they simply go into their new bank and authorise them to do the dirty work on their behalf.


A customer's new bank will contact the old bank to receive their direct debits and credits over the past 13 months. These will then be moved across.


"We haven't seen any incentives for transaction accounts for quite some time and believe these latest offers are a result of the new banking reforms which made it easier to switch," Hutchison says.


She says it's more common to see offers for credit cards and home loans.


Australian Bankers' Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg says competition is rife among institutions to secure deposits, and banks are doing whatever they can to encourage customers to switch.


"Due to ongoing concerns to raise money overseas, banks are very keen to maximise the number of deposits they have got in Australia," he says.


"It's also easier to switch transaction accounts. Banks are also wanting to draw attention to themselves and make sure when customers are thinking of switching, they are the ones they switch to."


But Munchenberg says since the "tick and flick" service was introduced, the number of people making the most of the changes and jumping banks is "still reasonably low".


"We think that's partly because it takes a while for people to realise that the service is there," he says.


Last month, ME Bank ditched its $5 account-keeping fee on its everyday transaction account to encourage customers to bank with it.


General manager of state sales Robert King says the "battle" between banks for deposits has intensified.


"We all see transaction accounts as the most important account," he says. "It's regarded as the core banking product, where your bank is where your transaction is.


"There's a battle to attract as many core bank customers as possible because many people have many products with different institutions."


King says ME Bank recorded a 20 per cent increase in customers switching to their financial institution in August.

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  • doyla66
    doyla66 Friday, 21 September 2012

    Nice one Jane, keep them coming. A more trusty option than banks may be some credit unions such as: The Teachers Credit Union, Nurses Credit Union, etc.

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