Nav­i­gat­ing through fi­nan­cial prod­uct of­fer­ings

Gulf News - - Your Money -

Most fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions seem to be­gin with one ques­tion: Where to start? Whether you’re look­ing for a loan, an in­sur­ance pol­icy or a credit card, you may feel over­whelmed with op­tions. In many cases, you may just grab any of­fer, turn to the in­ter­net for ad­vice or just get what your bank of­fers. But is that route the best for you?

For many peo­ple who are in the mar­ket for fi­nan­cial prod­ucts, the of­fer­ings are of­ten more than they can com­pare. Think­ing of get­ting a credit card? Each bank of­fers a va­ri­ety of cards, and each comes with a va­ri­ety of perks and ben­e­fits.

The end re­sult of most peo­ple is of­ten to grab what comes their way — like through a proac­tive sales per­son — or on­line. After all, all prod­ucts may seem pretty close in their fea­tures and of­fer­ings, and the sav­ings don’t seem to mat­ter.

But when you take such an at­ti­tude in pur­chas­ing fi­nan­cial prod­ucts, you of­ten end up pay­ing more than you need to, or miss­ing out on more con­ve­nient or bet­ter ser­vices. How can you nav­i­gate your way through the abun­dance of of­fer­ings? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Com­pare ap­ples to ap­ples Know what you need

While you can al­ways check for all the fea­tures that a fi­nan­cial prod­uct of­fers, stay laser-fo­cused on your needs. For ex­am­ple, if you’re price-sen­si­tive, elim­i­nate im­me­di­ately all the prod­ucts that fall be­yond your bud­get or in­clude on­go­ing costs. Get a free-for-life credit card, for ex­am­ple, with the low­est APR and fees you could get. If you don’t care about perks like restau­rant discounts or travel spe­cials, just ig­nore them.

Your fo­cus on what you want to ac­com­plish and get with your prod­uct is the best way to pro­ceed. Don’t be dis­tracted by all the of­fers and perks that may never be used. In­stead, ask for your list of pri­or­i­ties, and you prob­a­bly will find a prod­uct that meets as many as pos­si­ble.

As­sess ag­gres­sive sales pitches

Once you’re in the mar­ket for any fi­nan­cial prod­uct or ser­vice, you are likely to be­come a tar­get to on­line ads, di­rect mail, and even phone calls. When some­one reaches out to you, it only means this per­son has re­ceived your in­for­ma­tion.

If you have time to lis­ten to their of­fer­ing with­out be­ing pres­sured into buy­ing any­thing, do it. Make sure that you com­pare of­fers closely and don’t rush into com­mit­ting too soon to any par­tic­u­lar of­fer.

Ag­gres­sive sales peo­ple also will try to col­lect as much in­for­ma­tion about your sit­u­a­tion as pos­si­ble. So be­fore you di­vulge any ad­di­tional per­sonal or fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion, think of what this will be used for — prob­a­bly fu­ture sales.

Bank and in­sur­ance of­fers typ­i­cally high­light their own ben­e­fits. For ex­am­ple, a life in­sur­ance pol­icy provider may pro­mote the ease and con­ve­nience of get­ting the pol­icy with a med­i­cal check-up, but when you look at the pric­ing, it might be higher than the price for a pol­icy that re­quires an ex­ten­sive check-up. If price trumps con­ve­nience in your view, then you may go with what fits your bud­get or gives you a bet­ter bang for your buck.

In par­tic­u­lar, look for run­ning costs. For ex­am­ple, a credit card that comes with a much higher APR could mean thou­sands of dirhams if you do carry a bal­ance from month to month. Hav­ing some cool perks bun­dled with this card doesn’t make it bet­ter than a card that of­fers a lower APR.

Once you get started and col­lect var­i­ous of­fers from var­i­ous providers, stop and com­pare what you have. You will be able to see through the pat­terns clearly. Once you find what type of prod­uct you are look­ing for, make a short­list of providers, then select the one you’d like to work with based on se­condary fac­tors.

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