Bingle insurance paid back our excess this week after the shunt from behind by Miss SMS. They paid us by cheque. We paid the excess by credit card, why can’t they refund the credit card instead of sending a cheque? No, I don’t know either.
Anyway, I wandered into HSBC to cash the damn thing and while I was in the queue, I picked up this leaflet.
I’ll save you the bother of zooming in and reading it and give you a summary; HSBC paid for a survey of about a thousand Australians where they asked two questions;
- Do you like being paid money?
- Would you prefer to pay a $5 account fee for your bank account or be paid $10 a month?
And the results; most people preferred to be paid money and most people preferred to be paid $10 rather than pay account fees.
Well, the problem is, HSBC have completely misjudged the Australian psyche here. They’ve been way to subtle in their advertising campaign.
What they are saying in a very subtle way is, “if you bank with one of the big four Australian banks, you are paying fees just to keep an account. Why not move to us and, not only NOT pay fees but get some money back too?”.
Except they didn’t say that, they said a whole bunch of subtle stuff about 2% of people being daft enough to not understand the questions being asked of them.
I showed this leaflet to my colleague, an Australian I respect who is generally really commercially savvy and she said, (I quote), “I don’t get what they’re saying here”. I would suggest that she’s in the demographic that HSBC are aiming at and yet the message has completely gone over her head.
Australian banks charge fees to keep your money in your account. Australians think that this is acceptable practice. When I cancelled my account with ANZ Bank, I struggled to get the message across as to why I was leaving:
Me: “well, you charge fees for keeping my money yet you don’t pay interest. That just seems wrong”
ANZ: “we could waive the fees for 3 months”
Me: “but then you’re going to charge me fees from month 4, right?”
Me: “so why don’t I just overpay my ANZ credit card and use that as a free way to pay merchants and withdraw cash, as you don’t charge fees for that if I spend more than $10,000 a year?”
ANZ: “Erm, I suppose you have a point there”
Me: “Indeed. Just cancel the account, thanks.”
To any Australian consumers or Australian retail bank CEOs reading this, here’s a catch up on how banks will work in the late 1990s (i.e. the future):
Customers who keep their accounts in credit get to bank for free because the interest you pay is paltry so it funds the account overheads.
Sometimes I wonder whether Kurt Cobain is still alive and well and about to play the Enmore Theatre…..