Getting your own back
On the banks.

In today’s computerised world everybody needs a bank account and this has given the banks the power to do pretty much as they please.

Gone are the days when most people got paid in cash and now, if you want your wages, you’ve got to have a bank account and the banks are keen to dip into the money flow and help themselves to as much as they can.

Some of the things you can do to get your own back:

1: Stay our of debt. Everybody needs some debt to tide them over lean periods. Back in the days of cash I can well remember borrowing a few pounds from a friend to tide me over till pay day. These days I do run a small overdraft when necessary but I always try to keep my borrowings to an absolute minimum think that to make things difficult for the banks, as many as possible should try to do the same. (Check how much your bank will charge you to borrow a few pounds because RBS, Halifax and others are rapacious in their greed and use this common need for a few extra pounds as a way of lining their pockets.)

2: Do not put your savings in a bank if you can possibly help it. Use government savings schemes as they are much safer. Banks try to increase their profitability by constantly changing the rules on its various accounts. What they expect is that many people will be slow to realise that the good account they once possessed has been superseded with a better account while their account has been downgraded. Until such time as they wake up to the change and get themselves a new, upgraded account, the banks will make extra profit by applying extra charges or paying a very low rate of interest. The advantage of government savings bonds is that whereas banks can legally try to increase their profitability by attempting to disorientate and confuse their customers, the government cannot.

3: A major source of bank profit is the use of debit and credit cards. Every time you use your debit card the bank picks up a fee (about 20p) and each day, millions and millions of these 20p fees build up to a handsome profit. So go to a cash machine, draw cash and then pay with cash. Credit cards are even more profitable for banks as they charge a percentage on every transaction. These may seem to be small and almost insignificant ways of trying to hit back at the banks but it is important to remember that every million mile journey begins with one small step.

4: One of many banks' business strategies is to offer a financial inducement to switch accounts and advantage should always be taken of these offers. No matter, You can always leave the bank as soon as you've got the money, usually £100. Having grown up in the fifties and sixties I can't help but feel that to switch bank accounts when I have no intention of staying is morally wrong, but I've been hardening my heart and doing it anyway. As soon as I get my £100 I close the account and go back to using my regular ones - which are with Nationwide and Metro. I feel bad, but I do it anyway.

---Febraury 6, 2011---

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