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How To Get A Better Deal On Bank Fees And Power Charges

Contributor:
Nicola Graham
Nicola Graham

Bills and bank fees are like taxes - we have to pay them whether we want to or not. While we can’t avoid them, we can minimise them and get a better deal. I’ve been looking around to see how I can get the best deal on both my power bill and bank fees.
Piggy Bank

Power

While everyone knows that you can save money by cutting back on power usage, the majority of people don’t know they can check out if they are getting the best deal from their power supplier.

As I wrote last week, our power bill last month was a massive $175. So while trying to save on power usage, I also discovered I can save money by changing power companies.
Check out Powerswitch at consumer.org.nz, have your latest power bill on hand, answer a few questions and you’ll get a list of power companies and the best deal for you.

For my area and usage, switching to Meridian will save me total of $141 per year!
Switching power companies is a fairly simple process and can save you a lot over a year. Take a look here to see what’s involved.

Bank Fees

It seems downright unfair to see your hard earned money sucked away by monthly bank fees. However there is a huge range of fees between the banks and even within banks, so there are plenty of options you can chose to reduce the amount vanishing from your account at the end of each month.

If you are paying per transaction, it is highly likely you can save by choosing a set monthly bank fee for standard transactions. Below are what monthly fees are available:

The National Bank seems to be the most expensive for bank fees compared to similar offers from other banks. Their set monthly fee is $12 which includes manual and automated transactions plus the monthly overdraft maintenance fee.

Westpac’s access account is similar to National’s but slightly cheaper. You can choose a flat monthly fee of $9.95 for all manual and electronic transactions.

ANZ and BNZ offer accounts at $5 per month for unlimited transactions on EFTPOS and personal cheques, as well as phone, internet, branch deposits and withdrawals.

ASB have a good package for those that rarely use a branch for banking. Their streamline account has a $3 monthly account fee, but this can be waived if you select to have your paper bank statements stoped in favour of online statements. The only other fees for this account is a $3 manual transaction fee, but this only applies if you make a manual transaction, such as banking a cheque. Click here to see what ASB account would suit you best.

Kiwibank has a great account called FreeUp which is ideal if you do most of your banking by internet, phone, EFTPOS and through ATM and if you don’t use a cheque book. There are no fees if you use all of the above. Other fees that may apply to the account are listed here .

Because there are so many different bank fees and account types, I haven’t been able to cover everything and you should check out the finer details of the accounts. But as an example if you’re paying $12 a month in fees and change to a no fee account and avoid manual transaction fees, you could save yourself $144 a year. Goes to show how the little things add up.

Shop around, talk to your bank and look for the best deal. You could be surprised at the savings.

How to save money and live more frugally

Credit Card Comparison TablesCompare Credit Cards - Independent interest rate and fees comparisons for New Zealand banks.

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