There are some people that prefer banks and some that prefer building societies. If you are trying to pick between them, then you might wonder whether one is better than the other. The problem is that whether one is better for you will depend on what you are looking for. You should have in mind an idea of what you want and then you will be able to look at the different banks and building societies and you will be able to compare them and see which of them comes closest to what you are looking for. You may wonder though, what you should be looking out for in each.
- Products that you Want – it is good to think about what products you are looking for. It might be that you are just looking for one product such as an ISA or that you want a selection – perhaps a current account, instant access savings account and mortgage. Most banks and building societies will offer standard products, but if you want something a bit different then you may have to search harder to find it. If you want products that are general but with a specific feature, then again, you may have to look harder for it. In this case you may find that you will have to reject a lot of different banks and building societies.
- Competitive Prices – for many people knowing that they are either being paid competitive interest on their savings or are not overpaying on their loans is important. It does make sense as well because you want to make sure that you are not paying more than necessary as well or are getting a good savings rate. It is important though, to realise that the rates are not everything as you want to make sure that you are getting good value for money.
- Good Value for Money – some people think that a loan which offers good value for money is just the cheapest loan that you can get. This is not right though and it is important to make sure that you understand this. It is actually referring to the fact that you think what you are getting for your money is fair. It is a bit easier to explain it in terms of food. You might buy an apple for 20p, but if there is a cheaper one for 10p, it will not be good value for money if it is bruised and rotten, the 20p one will be better value because you will be getting a nice apple that you can eat. The same applies when you are applying for services such as banking. It is a good idea to have a think about what you would see as good or bad value in a banking product or even a particular bank or building society. It might be that the product is easy to repay, that it allows flexibility with repayment, that the loans last a long time or that it is repaid quickly etc. There are lots of possibilities. One thing that can be really important as well is the service that the place provides.
- Customer Service – knowing that you will get support when you need it can be really important. It is good to think about the fact that you might want to be in touch with the bank or building society. You may have questions or queries or even problems and need to be able to get hold of them so that you can discuss them with them. Some will be easy to contact, using a method that you like and respond quickly with useful information. Others will be hard to contact and take a long time to respond and then not come up with useful help. It is good to consider this and you will find that you can contact their customer services before you even apply and this will give you an idea of what they will be like.