Thursday, June 09, 2005

Australian banks

I don't have a picture of a bank - but I do have one of a parakeet

I think I've already mentioned how badly you get treated by Australian banks. Well now I can give you an example. I opened my monthly statement this morning and was mildly surprised to see I'd been charged $78 for 'other transactions'. After further examination I realised I accrued these charges when in New Zealand - at $5 a pop every time I withdrew money from an ATM over there. Apparently the usual $1.50 'other ATM withdrawl fee' is bumped up to $5 when the other ATM is in another country. I had no idea of this of course, so managed to rack up almost $80 in fees in three weeks. That translates to GBP32, but it's more the principle than the actual money that annoys me.

Every bank statement comes with what they call a 'transaction summary', but what I call a 'charge sheet'. Every month I get 5 free ATM withdrawls, 2 free chances to use my debit card, and 2 free direct debits. Anything over that and I get charged 50c, 30c, and 30c respectively. Again, the fees aren't exactly epic in size, but when you consider I that I have a basic minimum of 6 direct debits every month (two rent deductions and four wages additions) essentially I get charged for getting paid. If you go to the counter in a bank for help, that's $2 - if you write someone a cheque, that's another $1. From the 1st of August the direct debit charge is increasing to 50c.

I know I'm ranting a bit here, but coming from the UK banks tend to leave you alone unless you go financially daft. Maybe in the rest of the world this is what banks are like. I've been in my branch enough times to have been ignored and even sneered at once by a Manager. But hey, I've got to keep my money somewhere - and if I store it inside my matress I'd probably lose my flat deposit (and then get charged by the bank)...