Len­ders’ fes­tive bash for savers

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

BANKS have hit cash savers in a Grinch move to cut in­ter­est rates just weeks from Christ­mas.

The rate cuts are tipped to cost savers mil­lions of dol­lars a year and come at a time when many house­holds are bur­dened with soar­ing ex­penses dur­ing the Christ­mas and New Year pe­riod.

Anal­y­sis by fi­nan­cial com­par­i­son web­site Mozo re­vealed that since the start of Novem­ber sev­eral of the big banks — in­clud­ing Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank and ANZ — are among those to have dropped some sav­ings ac­count in­ter­est rates.

NAB dropped their Re­ward Saver’s con­di­tional bonus rate by 0.05 per cent to 2.5 per cent, while ANZ re­duced their On­line Saver’s base rate by 0.2 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

A base rate is the amount of in­ter­est a cus­tomer earns each month when they don’t meet the con­di­tions for a bonus rate.

A bonus rate ap­plies when the cus­tomer sticks to the with­drawal and de­posit con­di­tions spec­i­fied for the ac­count.

And just this week West­pac-owned lender RAMS dropped their saver ac­count’s con­di­tional base rate by 0.2 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

On­line bank ING’s Sav­ings Ac­cel­er­a­tor base rate has fallen by 0.15 per cent to 1.35 per cent.

Mozo spokes­woman Kirsty La­mont (pic­tured) said the cuts will hit older Aus­tralians the hard­est be­cause so many of them rely on in­ter­est returns.

“It’s a very un­wel­come Christ­mas present for the na­tion’s savers,” Ms La­mont said. “This is a sneaky time of the year to cut rates be­cause most Aus­tralians are pre­oc­cu­pied with Christ­mas shop­ping.

“We’ve seen the rates slashed on some of the na­tion’s most pop­u­lar sav­ings ac­counts and that’s go­ing to cost savers mil­lions of dol­lars in lost in­ter­est.”

Ms La­mont urged savers to hunt for more com­pet­i­tive in­ter­est rates and “move money to an ac­count that is pay­ing a de­cent rate”.

The Re­serve Bank of Aus­tralia board kept the cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent this year and sav­ings in­ter­est rates have re­mained at low lev­els — about 2 or 3 per cent for sev­eral years now.

Tribeca Fi­nan­cial chief ex­ec­u­tive Ryan Wat­son urged cus­tomers to ac­tively seek bet­ter sav­ings in­ter­est rate deals.

“Banks as a rule take their ex­ist­ing clients for granted; when cash in­ter­est rates drop, it is time for con­sumers to start shop­ping around,’’ he said. “Chal­leng­ing your ex­ist­ing bank with com­par­a­tive cash rates you have sourced from al­ter­nate providers will force your bank to pro­vide you with a bet­ter deal.”

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