I’m not sure what the big 4 banks are doing, or any of the 2nd tier banks besides the Bank of Queensland whom I hold a Reverse Charges student account with, but I do know, that this financial year, I have paid more fees on this student account than I have on my business account and personal account with the Greater Building Society in 3 years, and my personal account with them isn’t even a student account!
I started out with the Bank of Queensland after moving to Brisbane because the closest Greater branch is in Helensvale, it meant that having an account with a bank that has branches and ATM’s in Brisbane would be useful. Since BOQ were my employers bank at the time, it meant my pay went in the day they paid me (Friday) if I was with the BOQ, instead of having a 1 or 2 business day wait (Monday or Tuesday) if they paid to my Greater Building Society account. I dunno about you, but being paid before the weekend is a bit more useful to me than getting paid after.
Anyway, when I first opened the account with the Bank of Queensland 3 years ago, they took a photocopy of my student ID and put the expiry date into their computers. I was told then that I would be on a student account until the expiry on my card, and that if I am a student for longer, I would need to bring in an updated student ID.
This is all well and good.
There have been a couple of times over the first two years where the Bank of Queensland account went into overdraft, but was quickly fixed up. The first was when an EFTPOS transaction at a Shell servo didn’t actually get taken out of my account until 3 months later, and the money wasn’t there for it. This put the account into an overdraft of about $20. From memory I was paid the next day though and the account came out of overdraft with no fees.
The other time was when my insurance payments were changed and the date it came out of my account was also changed. I hadn’t anticipated the payment and it put the account a few dollars into overdraft. I quickly moved some money over from one of my Greater Building Society accounts and was never charged any fees though it took two business days for the money to show up in the BOQ account.
Since the start of 2010 though, the Bank of Queensland have just been getting more and more expensive and difficult.
I received a letter at the start of the year informing me that if I wished to keep my student account I had to prove I was a student and would have to do so by March every year or I would be charged the regular fees.
They have my student ID on file already and I don’t have time to make a trip to their branches in business hours just so they can take a photocopy of something they already have a photocopy of. Keep in mind, they only need this so that I don’t pay the regular fees on my account. The funny thing is, I have a business account with the Greater Building Society, and you know what? I don’t pay any fees on it and I don’t have to go out of my way to show them a student ID to get that either.
A few times I have used the Bank of Queensland ATM at the Kelvin Grove branch to get money out. I was charged fees for using a non-BOQ ATM. At the time, that was a $2 fee per transaction. Now according to their fee guidelines, this should be free anyway, but regardless of that, as a BOQ Reverse Charges account holder, I am entitled to unlimited free EFTPOS withdrawals from BOQ ATM’s. When I saw this on my online statement, I went to the branch and asked about it, they claimed it was impossible, so I told them to look at my account, so they said that they had no idea why the charges were there and removed them. These did not show up on my printed statement and disappeared from my online statement as well. I had to stand around in an empty bank (there were no other customers) for about 30 minutes to get this sorted out. Ridiculous.
Now, the thing that really annoys me is this. I pay my Skype account automatically via PayPal. It withdrew money from the BOQ account and put it into overdraft, admittedly a bit higher than it is normally, -$49.63. This was on a Thursday. On Friday the PayPal transaction was reversed automatically instead of being put through anyway like BOQ have done previously. The BOQ then charged me a $40 overdraft fee and immediately charged me interest at what appears to be roughly 15%. I realised first thing on the Monday morning and transferred more than enough money to cover it.
The fact I have to pay a fee for overdrawing is fine, I understand that, but $40 is a bit rich, and then interest on top of that? I’ve paid them more in one days worth of interest than they have paid me in interest in 3 years, and that account usually has plenty of money in it, it’s only occasionally when I am away and not really keeping on top of it that the automatic transactions bring it down a lot. The most annoying thing about it is that they have never charged this fee before, and I was immediately charged interest. Seriously, wouldn’t it be polite or respectful to charge the fee, notify you, and then charge you interest at the end of the month if the account was overdrawn for more than say 2 weeks?
Here are some more comparisons for the hell of it:
- The BOQ charge $1 a month to have a Visa debit card whether you are a student or not. It is free with the Greater on both business and personal accounts.
- The BOQ fee to send payments to other banks used to be $2 (their current fee schedule indicates it is now free but I’m not going to try). The Greater has always been free on both business and personal accounts.
- BOQ Account Maintenance Fee – $4 per month if the balance is under $2000, free if over or if a student/pensioner. The Greater – Free unless you use more than your included free transactions (I never do).
I tell you what, the moment I’m no longer a student I’ll be leaving the Bank of Queensland, their fees are just too high and they charge for anything and everything. Their new advertising campaign uses the slogan “Your own personal bank”, but I tell ya what, it’s anything but! If it wasn’t for the fact that the Greater don’t have any ATM’s up here, I wouldn’t bother with the BOQ at all anymore.
The result, I will not be leaving any more money in the BOQ account than absolutely necessary and money will only be transferred to it for the purpose of withdrawing it as soon as possible. I’d personally prefer to leave my money with a bank that actually treats me with respect. That’s why the Greater hold 2 of my personal accounts and 1 business account, and I will soon be opening another business account with them, even though it’s a 45 minute drive to the closest branch, or a 2 hour drive to the branch that actually holds my accounts. It’s cheaper to drive the 45 minutes there and back the times I occasionally need to deposit a cheque or do something that requires the branch than to hold an account with the Bank of Queensland, and considering the price of fuel at the moment, that’s saying something!!
Ok, I’m done ranting. I could change my BOQ to another bank that’s up here I suppose, but I mean, I’m only a student for a bit longer, I’ll just pull my money out of their accounts except what I need to withdraw, if I can’t trust them, which I can’t, then I’ll keep as little money with them as possible and have a look at other banks so that by the time I’m no longer a student I’ve figured out another bank that’s in Brisbane that is better, and not Westpac.