How to save $400 in under an hour at the bank

Recently I took the time to add up the fees my wife and I were paying to the bank. At $4/mth per account, I was paying just short of $150 per year just to operate the accounts. Not only that I was paying $250 per annum to run my credit card account. All up I was paying around $400 just to do my banking.

If most people were to spend $400 per annum on an item, I bet they would shop around or perhaps do some searching on the net for prices. It just doesn’t seem that way with bank accounts as people tend to stay static as the hassle of moving seems too large. The reality is you don’t always have to move.

After realising the amount I was paying was enough to get my wife and I to Bali or down south for a weekend, I figured I’d call the bank and ask for the removal of the fees. When I called the credit card company I mentioned that I would like my fee waived or I was going to close the account, they put me straight through to the retention team. The upshot of it was the $250 fee was removed. So the 10 minute call was well worth it.

When I went to my other financial institution to ask them to remove the monthly fee, they said they could do it but with certain conditions such as minimum deposit into each account per month. Having done my research I mentioned that another of their competitors doesn’t have the same conditions and I would like this condition waived. They were unable or unwilling to do it, so I moved my accounts.

All in all a 10 minute phone call and 30 minutes in the bank saved me $400 in bank fees for the year, well worth the effort in time.

Here’s the catch – when you negotiate with your bank – you have to be willing to walk or at least show that you are. There can be complications with adjusting direct debits or perhaps you have a package that involves your home loan, however there is no cost to at least ask your bank for a fee reduction.