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Google Scares Aussie Banks

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the move-over-bunyip dept.

Google 150

mask.of.sanity writes "Google could be the biggest threat to Australia's big four banks because of the trust online users place in it and its ability to engage with customers, banking executives say. They told an audience from the finance sector that companies like Google and PayPal are more responsive and trusted than banks, and cited emerging technology with an emphasis on online applications as a means for the smaller credit unions to challenge the position of incumbent banks. It's welcome news for Australia's credit unions: the nation's banks have taken turns in being the first to lift interest rates above the official reserve bank rate, with others collectively following suit, leading some to speculate they are in collusion."

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"Responsive and trusted" (5, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159726)

Perhaps there's some cause and effect going on there. Companies that are more responsive to customer demands and concerns are, in my experience, more trusted by the customers. Perhaps the banks have already figured out how to compete and just don't realize it yet because being competitive cuts into profit margins.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (4, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159752)

Yeah, I'm about ready to jump ship at the moment. I applied for a credit card with ANZ a week and a half ago. They tried to call me the next day and I missed it. Since then I try to call back every day or two, to find out what they wanted, but every time I get put on hold and I'm afraid my patience runs out after 15 minutes of that. I've been to the local branch too, but all they can do is phone the credit card folks and wait on hold with me.

I don't actually need your credit card enough for me to put up with that nonsense, thanks.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (5, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160366)

Come to the USA! It's so easy here it doesn't even have to be you that signs up for it. Half the time it's someone on the other side of the country that you've never met that sends in the application and the CC companies are more than happy to extend them credit in your name.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (5, Insightful)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159936)

Perhaps there's some cause and effect going on there. Companies that are more responsive to customer demands and concerns are, in my experience, more trusted by the customers. Perhaps the banks have already figured out how to compete and just don't realize it yet because being competitive cuts into profit margins.

Being uncompetitive is far more profitable until competition comes and ruins everything.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160230)

That's the exact truth in too many markets. And that's what leads to uncompetitive companies being anticompetitive companies. They'd rather play the scared victim than return the threat by actually following the trends in the market.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34161254)

That's exactly what I thought. Why the hell are the four biggest banks so in bed with each other that they're having meetings to determine which of their other competitors is a threat? What is wrong with the govermnent oversight of the Australian financial industry that those banks have the balls to come right out and state that they're worried Google and Paypal are going to steal the market that they've divided up amongst themselves?

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34160106)

Perhaps there's some cause and effect going on there. Companies that are more responsive to customer demands and concerns are, in my experience, more trusted by the customers. Perhaps the banks have already figured out how to compete and just don't realize it yet because being competitive cuts into profit margins.

You have to wonder just how bad these Australian banks are when PayPal is "more responsive and trusted".

PAYPAL?!?!?! "more responsive and trusted"!!?!?!

Is dealing with these banks like handing your money over to the first meth fiend you can find laying in a ditch?

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160218)

Paypal may be bad but the fact that they're still better than the majority is deeply depressing.

If they were subject to any kind of law other than their ToS and couldn't confiscate your money on a whim paypal would be even further ahead.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34160674)

They're regulated in the UK by the FSA (Financial Services Authority), which sets some minimum standards they have to abide by with their UK customers at least. If Australia has a similar body overseeing them there, it could account for the disconnect.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160684)

I also used to complain a lot about paypal and the ridiculous fees they impose to some transfers and then I compared to what banks offers. It was in 2009. These banks apparently STILL DON'T KNOW THAT INTERNET EXISTS. Paypal may have exaggerated fees, but regular banks have blatant racketing schemes (that you have to sign for 4 years minimum). It is actually that bad and Paypal IS very competitive compared to the usual bank sharks.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160558)

From an Aussie POV the claims sound like absolute bullshit to me. People might use PayPal to transfer a few bucks over the net but they're not going to put their life savings into it. Who the fuck do you call if there's a problem with PayPal, where are their bricks and mortar branches? The big four may be arrogant, slow and greedy but they are big because most Aussie's know they are the safest bet going.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160292)

"Responsive and Trusted" does not mean in any way shape or form that PayPal and similar services are in any way responsive or trustworthy. All this story indicates is that they are _more_ trustworthy then they big four banks.

Some banks have effectively shut down operations outside of normal business hours making it difficult to impossible for some Australians to get to an actual bank, fees are hidden and slanted towards the banks favour to the point of outright fraud in some cases and the only method of appeal is to go via the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), basically a government enquiry (as much good as the ACCC does, it does it very slowly).

It's next to impossible to find a credit (or debit) card that will not charge a minimum of 2% on top for foreign currency transactions. Paypal is not in any way trustworthy, but they are better then Aussie banks.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160438)

It's next to impossible to find a credit (or debit) card that will not charge a minimum of 2% on top for foreign currency transactions.

Just a point that there's nothing unusual at all about Australian banks doing this, and certainly all the banks I've ever used while living abroad did exactly the same thing (though the exact amount obviously varies).

I was fortunate enough back in the day to get a Wizard Credit Card, however, which has no additional fees or charges - nor exchange rate padding - for foreign transactions. Hands down the best way to get money out of the country. I'm amazed whoever-it-was that bought Wizard hasn't shut it down.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160456)

Just a point that there's nothing unusual at all about Australian banks doing this

Never said there was anything unusual about it, in fact as we both pointed out it's quiet "usual".

As I was trying to point out, this is how Australian banks like to rip people off. Not only do they take 2% of a transaction when it's completed in a foreign currency (we are one of the _few_ nations where this is done, let alone the norm) but you also pay a $4 flat fee for using a visa cash advance and possibly a $2 fee for using a different banks ATM. Most people don't actually know about the % fee for using your debit or credit card for overseas purchases, banks like to bury this little detail deep down in their fee schedule so few people see it.

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (2, Interesting)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160604)

Never said there was anything unusual about it, in fact as we both pointed out it's quiet "usual".

I think you might be reading my comment with the wrong inflection. When I wrote it, I was trying to point out it's not unusual for banks to do this everywhere, not just Australia.

As I was trying to point out, this is how Australian banks like to rip people off. Not only do they take 2% of a transaction when it's completed in a foreign currency (we are one of the _few_ nations where this is done, let alone the norm) [...]

In what countries is this not normal (or any of the other fees you mention, for that matter) ?

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34160690)

It's "normal" (read: pretty much everyone does it) for this to happen here in the UK, but it's certainly not difficult to find cards that don't add on charges - I know because I had to get exactly this type of card three months ago and I had a choice of at least four from, if not major, at least reasonably sized banks/building societies that I'd heard of and had no problem doing business with. Several more cards did add charges but these were still less than the norm (i.e. some only charged if you withdred cash overseas, not for direct card purchases overseas).

Re:"Responsive and trusted" (2, Informative)

Bill Barth (49178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160914)

It's 3% on my Citibank card here in the US. That's the normal rate for US-based banks for foreign transactions, BTW.

Because they don't screw us as bad (2, Funny)

bgibby9 (614547) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159728)

Simple but true (for the moment) ;P

Not supprising (5, Insightful)

XMode (252740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159730)

When you put up fees and interest rates well above the RBAs increase, make up some excuse about not having enough income and then post profits in the billions of dollars, people tend not to trust what you say.

Re:Not supprising (2, Informative)

John Saffran (1763678) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159776)

Agree entirely .. the really stupid thing about it all is that the only reason they do so is to pad the balance sheet and meet the unrealistic expectation that profits must go up each year. Anything less is a failure.

Because the big four banks are already so large, it’s impossible for them collectively to grow at a faster rate than the overall economy. For one bank to enjoy higher growth means that they have to market share off the other three, and the big banks appear deeply reluctant to do this.

It’s clear from recent comments made by the banks that they’re dissatisfied with the rate at which their lending is growing. And this is backed by recent statistics from the Reserve Bank which show that while total bank lending for housing is relatively strong, (rising by 0.6 per cent in August to reach a level that’s 8.1 per cent higher than a year earlier), total business lending actually fell by 0.4 per cent in the month (and was down 4 per cent from a year earlier).

Faced with weak lending growth, the big banks will only be able to continue to report increases in their profits year after year if they are able to maintain – and, preferably build – their interest margins.

But this means that the banks are inevitably on a collision course with the rest of the community.

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/CBAs-bold-move-may-backfire-pd20101103-ATSKH?OpenDocument [businessspectator.com.au]

Re:Not supprising (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34159808)

The fact that Aussie banks are extremely profitable is a good thing. It means the person running it knows something about business. That profit is a handy buffer if/when default rates go up, and it also means that your super is kicking along nicely (because almost certainly you have some in banks, probably 25% or so).

And the financing costs aren't imagined, they are real. The actual increase as been about 1.7 percent or so, and they've reclaimed about 1.4 percent through going above and out of sync with the RBA cycle. They aren't bad companies, they are just rubbish at communicating to anyone but each other.

Re:Not supprising (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34161574)

The fact that Aussie banks are extremely profitable is a good thing. It means the person running it knows something about business

In a competitive market, there's no such thing as "extremely profitable."
Competition is supposed to drive profits down from "extremely" to "normal."

Re:Not supprising (3, Insightful)

MojoMagic (669271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160054)

Not just profits of 'Billions of Dollars', but RECORD profits year after year... During a financial crisis no less.

People aren't upset about the banks making a profit (that's what they're there for). They're upset because the banks continue to make huge profits and then hike fee/rates/etc all the while complaining that "It's getting more expensive to operate in this industry".

Boo hoo!

Re:Not supprising (2, Insightful)

noisyinstrument (1624451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160316)

Retail lending is only a small part of the business. And the cash rate targets set by the RBA don't reflect the capital costs of raising money internationally (where a fairly large amount of Australian debt is financed from).

Of particular note is that that the record profit made by Westpac of ~AU$6billion was on assets of ~AU$700billion. Which is a fairly terrible margin. Also Westpac has the worst debt to deposit ratio of any of the big 4 (aka it is most at risk). Maybe they'll keep some of that cash on hand to lower the risk or something?

I'm no expert but there is a hell of a lot of completely uninformed nonsense out there in the Australian public's mind.

Re:Not supprising (1)

quenda (644621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34161152)

the record profit made by Westpac of ~AU$6billion was on assets of ~AU$700billion. Which is a fairly terrible margin.

It would be if it was their assets, but that number is depositors assets. Perhaps they fail to distinguish.

Re:Not supprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34160220)

I want to know why the RBA's portion of the rate rise is good, wholesome and pure, but the banks portion of the rise is filthy, greedy capitalism.

If you want to run the country on credit (and there seems to be no intention of doing otherwise) then profitable banks would be considered a good thing, wouldn't they?

Physical access (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159766)

With most Australian banks I can walk into a branch to address issues with my account. There are plenty of examples of people dealing with paypal and google where something goes wrong (say their account is suspended) and there is absolutely nothing they can do to make contact and fix the issue.

I don't think Australian banks should worry until their competition set up "bricks and mortar" premises.

Re:Physical access (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159774)

Walk up into Paypal HQ and be all like "Yo, gimme my account back!"

Re:Physical access (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160228)

Walk up into Paypal HQ and be all like "Yo, gimme my account back!"

If that won't work, try again but bring a shotgun with you.

Re:Physical access (3, Interesting)

John Saffran (1763678) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159806)

There'll always be people who prefer walking into a building to do their banking, but for the rest it's entirely possible to have a non-physical bank.

To take the example of ING, they used to rely purely on online and phone banking (ie. no physical branches period) but have now added the post office network for physical needs and rely on other bank's ATMs for physical money withdrawal. Of course an online bank would need to have excellent reliability on their online systems and excellent customer service on their phone centres, but if you have both then what's the big deal?

Frankly, if a bank is untrustworthy it doesn't matter whether they're physical or purely virtual .. to follow-on from your example, there's nothing to stop a bricks-and-mortar bank from closing your account and giving you the run around, being able to walk into a branch won't change that one iota.

Re:Physical access (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34159870)

Yeah right. Try living in a rural area - Far North Queensland. All the big 4 banks pulled out of town 10-15 years ago and haven't been a physical presence since. Fuck 'em, they only care about the shareholders. The customers are now just consumers.

Re:Physical access (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160078)

I don't know about Aussie banks but in the UK, "walking into a branch" to address issues is about as effective as "walking into a tree". You almost invariably find yourself face-to-face with a mindless drone who can do no more than what computer says.

So if you need help with something and computer says no, so does drone.

The only effective thing I've found is to write a letter. These normally go to the few people left in the bank who can still read and write, and they're generally quite helpful.

Re:Physical access (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160100)

I don't know about Aussie banks but in the UK, "walking into a branch" to address issues is about as effective as "walking into a tree". You almost invariably find yourself face-to-face with a mindless drone who can do no more than what computer says.

Definitely not with the commonwealth bank here in .au. The people who work there know their jobs are hanging by a thread and go out of their way to be helpful. One branch I go to has a triage person near the front door who gets the gist of your requirements then forwards you to second level people. The last person I dealt with finished the exchange by asking me to rate their performance. It looked like a standard part of the process. I have never known a bank employee to be less than completely helpful. They are about 1000 times better than the web site.

Re:Physical access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34160326)

I don't think its just because their jobs are hanging by a thread but I was going to make pretty much the same comment as you about the Commonwealth bank. Its my main bank, I used to be with St George but they screwed me over with a direct debit so I closed that account and never looked back.

But the Commonwealth bank has been nothing but useful with any problems of any sort. I had a credit charge come out months after I accrued it (at a doctor and their cc processing was down so they did it manually), since I wasn't expecting it there wasn't enough to cover it. They charged me a fee for it ($50 or so I think). I went down to the local branch, explained what had happened and the nice lady there fixed it up, refunded the fee and was very polite about it.

If they would stop cranking up the fees and charges then I would be extremely happy with them...

Re:Physical access (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160736)

You don't think that maybe the fees and charges are what helps to pay for the exceptional service? I suspect the reason most people have a miserable experience with banks, or any business for that matter, is because they value cheap over all else, and you pretty much get what you pay for (and let's face it, there's little to distinguish a bank until something goes wrong, so for most people they'll avoid the bank with the higher fees even though they might be glad of the higher level of service one day).

Re:Physical access (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160642)

My exprience with the NAB is similar but some people just like to piss and moan about banks the same way they like to piss and moan about taxes.

Re:Physical access (1)

pelrun (25021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160190)

Careful about tarring both Google and Paypal with the same brush here - Paypal has a long and gruesome history of being extremely quick to freeze accounts and confiscate funds and extremely (or impossibly) slow to release them, though here in Oz it's less prevalent because they're forced to *actually be a bank*. I don't think Google has been nearly as nasty in their similar role.

Re:Physical access (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160318)

With most Australian banks I can walk into a branch to address issues with my account.

Seeing as NAB (National Australia Bank) doesn't have a branch open on a Saturday within cooee of where I live (15 minutes from a CBD) and CBA's (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) list of fees and charges are ridiculous compared to NAB's. It not that easy.

If I do take time from work in order to go to a bank all I'll get is a form to fill out. Tellers are handy for opening accounts, deposits, withdrawals and most other activities that are now online but they cannot make decisions (by bureaucratic design, tellers aren't retarded). After that form is lodged I have to wait up to 28 days to see any action on it.

I dot consider Paypal trustworthy in any way but it seems they are trying to shaft us in fewer ways then the banks are. I do a lot of transactions in foreign currency, there are few forex services in Australia that deal with SE Asian currencies with a low flat fee. I am yet to find a bank that will do ATM or POS transactions for less then a flat $4 fee and 2% of the transaction amount (CBA is 3%). I have a friend who lives in Spain, he finds it easier to use Paypal to move currency into and out of Australia.

It's not all bad, as many other posters have pointed out the online systems are fairly good, reducing the actual need for me to take time off of work to go into branches.

Re:Physical access (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160394)

With most Australian banks I can walk into a branch to address issues with my account.

I don't know if things are substantially better in .au, maybe your institutions are still afraid of you crims, much more scary than failed puritans I think. But seriously, being able to walk into a bank doesn't necessarily help you. When I was being dinged with intentional unfair overdrafts by Wells Fargo, which was playing these games with failing to clear deposits until a check came through on purpose more than ten years ago and never got said boo to about it, I could walk into the bank and complain until I was red in the face and all I would get is a nervous security guard. A nervous armed security guard.

With that said, I wouldn't go to a major bank now period. I left WAMU when they were aggressively, illegally taken over by Chase with the aid of the US Government. (Numerous banks were in worse straits than WAMU but they're the one that "needed" to be managed by another bank? Fuck you.)

I *do* use Paypal on a regular basis. If I didn't get paid in cash so often I would probably use x.com as my bank. I have a local credit union, but I don't really like them; they're completely incompetent when it comes to security (your initial web banking PIN, for example, is the last four digits of your SSN, you know, the ones everyone knows because everyone has been asking you for them for years) and the tellers are too nosy. We're not friends; we could be one day, but not if you pry into my shit at this phase of our relationship.

Banks suck, they have an attitude that it's their money, and I disagree with them over it. Paypal freezes accounts all the time, sure. But frankly, I've never seen it happen without some dickery involved, and every story I've heard about paypal closing someone's account has begun with some shady transaction.

Google Store!! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160448)

You just found it!

Can you imagine going into a mall to a Google Store to fix settings on your gmail, try out Something In Beta(tm), get a 10 second really weird search result printed out for you in some nifty way ...

Australias net banking is actually damn good (4, Interesting)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159790)

Australia's online banking systems are actually really good. Better than anything I've seen in the USA.

Now before any fellow Australians mod me down for saying that let me just say I've spent some time in the US. We really do have it good compared to what I've seen of their systems. In the US if you want to view the full history of your online banking you have to seriously pay a fee. Americans actually think it's normal to not be able to download the past years account transaction history with a few clicks without paying for it. You can't download PDFs or CSVs of an account via the online banking systems i used in the USA. Direct deposit to other accounts isn't nearly as easy as it is here either - I'm sure i'm not the only one who buys goods from Australian websites via Australian Direct Deposit rather than a credit card or paypal service.

Disclaimer: Most of my experience has been with Combank but i know the other Aussie banks are similar - the online banking systems here are pretty damn good. Now if only the home loan rates were a bit more reasonable here in Australia (currently pushing over 7% and rising).

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159860)

American here.

This is not true for all banks. We have hundreds of banks and at least a dozen "large" ones, all with differing policies on things like your transaction history.

Most banks offer at least 3 months - 1 year of your account(s) history through their online database. This is for a free checking account from my experience. Beyond that you can only get the document in paper and you have to pay for it.

Granted, this may seem like they're nickel-and-diming their customers, but banks generally make money from either interest on loans or fees. Hell, American banks used to rake in something close to USD$10bn every year just from overdraft fees; now that a new federal law requires explicit permission for "overdraft protection" to be used (i.e. let a charge go through and stick you with a USD$35+ charge, effectively a microloan with a very high rate), I imagine that this particular area of profit will go down.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159974)

ANZ's electronic statements get stored for 7 years. While its not as good as the direct transaction history (3 month max), thats still pretty good.
Oh and the 3 month max also applies to exporting to a large variety of formats including csv.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (3, Informative)

cyssero (1554429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159976)

American here.

Most banks offer at least 3 months - 1 year of your account(s) history through their online database. This is for a free checking account from my experience. Beyond that you can only get the document in paper and you have to pay for it.

To put it into perspective - the Commonwealth Bank of Australia offer 7 years of statements online for free - even on fee-free accounts. They also allow you to search for previous transactions freely. They probably charge to print out a copy and send it to you, but with online statements going back that far and the ability to export to PDF and CSV - most people easily avoid the fee.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160004)

Yeah that's still not exactly great by Australian banking standards. I just checked and went back 7 years on my statement history without any hassle on my net banking. I'd be pissed if there was a 1 year or 3 month limit.

Overdraft fees used to be an issue here but many Australian banks scrapped them after one did it and the rest followed.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/29/2639350.htm [abc.net.au]

So we have it pretty good here in some ways. The home loan rates being through the roof is the main issue though.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

Arcorn (1209534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160436)

I'm from Australia, using the same Internet banking service as SpazModeus which is the Commonwealth Bank's netbank. I can get, I think, 7 years of statements for free. They come as PDFs so I can print them up if I want a paper trail.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (3, Interesting)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160056)

Nah. I'm Australian and have a current account with ANZ and CUA, and used to have an account with Suncorp. In the US I have been with BoA and Chase. I can have transaction history for any period I choose, for free, and if I go into a branch the fee might be $2 or so, same as in Aus.

The main area the US is behind almost every other country in is direct deposit. I can't easily send money to someone elses account. Most countries have some equivilant of our BSB/account number setup, but not the US. Hell, they still have to use checks for most stuff.

The other interesting thing is that when paying with a visa/mc debit or credit card....no one checks for id, I don't need to put in a pin nor sign anything. If you steal someones card then its free reign till its called in and cancelled. I find that interesting.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160094)

Ahh but you can't download a years history.

Since going debt free and actually earning interest rather than paying it (as well as share market), I have made a big mistake. I forgot (got sloppy) and stopped recording every bank transaction, credit card transaction and high interest savings account transaction I ever make. I have an issue with an energy company that I corrected in January but because another action has happened, the computer systems didn't register the original error. Now I have to prove it all again but this time, I have lost the transaction history. I'm missing the crucial 2 months. It will end up being a $161 error. The maximum I can get is 90 days.

I'm screwed. I realise that IT systems are 'challenging' but tracking a million transactions per customer can't cost more than the $5 per month I currently get charged (officially although I don't pay given I demanded they earn enough out of me anyhows).

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34160110)

It's the opposite for me. I grew up in America and now have been in Aus for 2 years. And in my experience, American banking was superior (but not by much).
 
Australian Central Credit Union charged pretty high fees for just a basic checking account with a "savings" card. A few dollars per month for the thing, and you were allowed free transactions when using it on ACCU ATMs; using it at a store as an EFTPOS transaction cost $0.50 per transaction. We got a Visa debit card and used it as a credit card to avoid the per-transaction fee (were allowed to use it twice per month as EFTPOS at EFTPOS stations for free, after that it was $0.50 again). But we still paid a monthly fee for the card. I looked into some more of their different types of accounts but none of them were very good compared to ANZ, and that's who I'm with now.
 
In America I swore by credit unions: by default they were set up with customers in mind. I was with San Diego County Credit Union and paid I believe it was $10/year for a checking and savings account. A Visa check card attached to it was free. I could transfer money in between my accounts online, and could print out/save all my history in .xls or CSV. I could even see what transactions hadn't yet completely processed.
 
  Back to ANZ, I still can't right now see what transactions are being processed on my Visa debit card. I can see there's a difference between my "availible" and "current" balance, so I know things are processing, but I have to wait a few days before seeing what it was in my online statement. I can export my history just like most places. ANZ is charing me $2/month for my accounts (1 "EFTPOS enabled" savings, 1 5% interest savings, and 1 for the Visa), and I then I paid about $20 tax on the interest I earned last year. (I earned about $250 in interest last year). And that's all I'm paying in fees. I think ANZ is trying to add the ability to see what is being processed, but maybe it isn't working right just yet.
But I was doing all this stuff in America over 10 years ago. And in my situation, the big bank ANZ is offering much more for much less than a credit union. A sad state of affairs.
 
  I keep joking that ACCU should ditch their yearly christmas parade and instead offer lower fees to their customers. Oh well.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160406)

Americans actually think it's normal to not be able to download the past years account transaction history with a few clicks without paying for it.

It's worse than that, less than a month ago I suggested that we should pass a law stating that the banks would have to permit this — I made the point that it's your data, after all. I got down-modded and called a commie. People seemed to think that it would be somehow arduous to store a few kB per customer on something web-facing. These are the fuckers who are stealing our money and taking it out of the country as fast as they can. And then there's the bailouts... No sympathy for the bankers.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160650)

Australia's online banking systems are actually really good. Better than anything I've seen in the USA.

Australia's banking systems are so far ahead of America's it's not even funny - and that's before even getting into the absolutely bonkers US credit system.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160758)

Aussie here, totally agree the online banking is pretty good but historically speaking, (last 30yrs), a 7% home loan is relatively cheap. If there is one thing I would change it would be to ban all fees, let them compete on interest rates alone, it would make it easy for the consumer to compare and would eliminate the main source of disputes and complaints.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160812)

The big name brand banks know they can get away with just about anything, and they usually try. I switched to a credit union about a decade ago and have been quite happy with them. I haven't seen any of the shenanigans that the big banks are known for, and they have branches all around the area with quick and easy customer support.

Given that PayPal isn't regulated, I'd be inclined to trust even a national name-brand bank over them. I trust local credit unions a lot more than that, though.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160864)

What American bank were you using and in what year? All the ones I've used have offered all the online services (other than free transactions between banks) including viewing old account transactions and statements in PDF format and viewing scanned copies of checks that you have written and have been cashed against your account. They also mostly all offer online bill pay so you don't have to mail the checks yourself, even to just a friends address if you owe them some money for a bachelor party or something.

The rarity of free online transfers between banks is somewhat annoying, but I think it's starting to catch on so hopefully it will become more common. But if you use ING you can use them as a go-between but it just takes longer so you have to plan things ahead of time.

Re:Australias net banking is actually damn good (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34161216)

Aussie in the US here,
There's an amazing amount of culture shock with things that you wouldn't even think would be done differently.

The reason why Direct Deposit is virtually unheard of in the US is because their banks are really lacking in account security.
So much so that all you need is the account number, because the banks assume that only the account holder knows the account number.
As such, no one gives out their account number, so direct deposit isn't plausible, and they look at you like you're insane if you suggest it.

Additionally, it's virtually impossible to stop banks in the US from giving out account information to family members.
Hell, you don't even need to be a family member. "Hi, I'm Joe's roommate and I just wanted to check his balance before I cash the rent cheque he gave me" works fine.

What? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159810)

This article doesn't even make sense.

If Google got up and said we are going to offer a savings account, for me, that would be very difficult and confronting

Yeah, well, if Google said they were going to offer a used car service, that'd probably be difficult and confronting for a whole bunch of used car salesmen. There appear to be no plans in that direction, and it's an industry that makes absolutely no sense for Google to get into.

Moreover, comparing banks to PayPal is disingenuous. They don't do nearly the same things. PayPal is a transaction broker. They compete with VISA and MasterCard, if anyone. They don't offer investment accounts or mortgages - and those are the functions that people most seem to care about. Transaction accounts? Barely a blip on most people's radar, I think.

Re:What? (3, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159818)

"PayPal is a transaction broker. "

Paypal is a bank.

"As of July 2007, across Europe, PayPal also operates as a Luxembourg-based bank."
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Paypal [wikimedia.org]

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34159872)

Yes, and there are many reasons it is in Luxembourg and not other EU countries.
Sorry, I prefer a bank which at least has a subsidiary based in my own country and has to comply to local banking regulations.

Re:What? (4, Informative)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159878)

"PayPal is a transaction broker. "

Paypal is a bank.

"As of July 2007, across Europe, PayPal also operates as a Luxembourg-based bank."
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Paypal [wikimedia.org] [wikimedia.org]

"In the United States, PayPal is licensed as a money transmitter on a state-by-state basis. PayPal is not classified as a bank in the United States, though the company is subject to some of the rules and regulations governing the financial industry including Regulation E consumer protections and the USA PATRIOT Act."

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Paypal [wikimedia.org]

Re:What? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160944)

Who cares what Europe and the US think! This article is about Australian banks. How does the Australian government classify Paypal?

i.e. you're both right, Paypal is a transaction broker in one place, a bank in another place, but neither of those places is the subject of the current article. ;^)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34161280)

But what about on Mars?

Re:What? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159912)

I'm pretty sure they are an electronic money issuer rather than a bank, which means you get less protection, and also means they aren't allowed to take so many risks with your money.

Re:What? (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159890)

There appear to be no plans in that direction, and it's an industry that makes absolutely no sense for Google to get into.

No, I can't see any reason why a company would like to be able to see all the transcations that a person makes, online or offline. Nope, no reason for google to get into that market at all.

Re:What? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159980)

Yeah, well, if Google said they were going to offer a used car service, that'd probably be difficult and confronting for a whole bunch of used car salesmen. There appear to be no plans in that direction, and it's an industry that makes absolutely no sense for Google to get into.

Google checkout seems to put them in the same market as paypal.

Re:What? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160358)

As PayPal, yeah. But PayPal isn't in the same market as banking. People's transaction accounts are a minuscule part of a bank's operations. There core business is more money management - loans, mortgages, investments, speculation - that's where the money is. And that's nowhere near Google's core competencies.

Google is no threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34159828)

If Google's non existent support of the Nexus One is anything to go by, the Big4 have nothing to fear from Google.

All I can say is... (5, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159842)

Australia's banks must be pretty bad if people trust PayPal more.

Re:All I can say is... (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159864)

Paypal: we keep your money so safe, sometimes we don't even let you touch it!

Re:All I can say is... (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159902)

Paypal: we just keep your money.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

ushere (1015833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160194)

obviously you don't live in australia ;-(

Re:All I can say is... (1)

garry_g (106621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160232)

My thought exactly ... I still don't see how PayPal got their status of being a Bank in the EU (Luxembourg to be exact). The way recipients of money are treated sucks big time ... (as someone who to date has only sent money through them, I do not have any complaints yet, luckily ...)

Re:All I can say is... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160280)

They didn't have a lot of choice.

Though I would point out that a big problem (in the UK at least) is that while banks are regulated in theory, it would appear that they can be as damn useless as they like and as long as there are processes in place to deal with it, it doesn't matter.

Even if the processes themselves are damn useless, it still doesn't matter.

Even if the processes are still damn useless after several years have gone by with ample opportunity to fix them, guess what? Doesn't matter.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160472)

Australia's banks must be pretty bad if people trust PayPal more.

Based on my experiences in Australia, the UK, Switzerland and the USA, Australian banks are _excellent_, relatively speaking.

This is just another aspect of a recent media beat-up of the banks in Australia, spurred on by sob stories about people irresponsibly over-extended in their mortgages. Most people have no concept of how lucky they are in Australia, from a banking perspective.

Of course they are in collusion. (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159852)

They are BANKERS.

Why it isn't a given that Bankers will break the law to make money? It is universally true by observation, even if we can't figure out how to prove it empirically.

Re:Of course they are in collusion. (1)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159866)

[quote] It is universally true by observation, even if we can't figure out how to prove it empirically[/quote]

I don't know if you are serious or joking, but it's funny in any case:

<citation = "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirically">The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation, experience, or experiment.</citation>

Re:Of course they are in collusion. (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159922)

As much as I might hate bankers, yeah, it was supposed to be a joke. Sorry, it's early, and I haven't had coffee yet.

Re:Of course they are in collusion. (2, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160300)

Only a joke in the sense of being TRUE , but still funny.

While they might not have colluded in the legal sense, they have colluded in the practical sense.

Why the law defined it as "all of their CEOs had to get into one physical room at the same actual time and at least verbally and preferably written down on some kind of physical medium, they agreed to follow a common set of practices in order to screw the market over".

The end result is the same, The Banks have NO REAL COMPETITION and NO LEGAL ENFORCEMENT preventing them from SCREWING THEIR CUSTOMERS *to an unreasonable extent*.

Seriously folks, I'm all for "they're a business, they need to make a profit" but continuing to make *record profits* during the GFC AND still continuing to whine about HOW HARD IT IS BEING A BANK is just a tad unbelievable.

Collective noun problem (1)

kipling (24579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160652)

The scenario

... all of their CEOs had to get into one physical room at the same actual time ....

will never happen. Bankers are cautious of the collective noun "Wunch" becoming common. So they avoid any situation where it may be appropriate.

Australian Banks Are Terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34159950)

I lived in Australia for a couple of years in the late 90's, and of the few things (the only thing?) that I would say was worse in Oz than in the States were the banks. I can't say how things are now, but at that time the banks actually assessed a fee to make a deposit! And that was pretty representative of how they operated. I hated our bank, but others were just as bad.

Re:Australian Banks Are Terrible (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159964)

How much is the US Bank bailout costing you, personally?

Re:Australian Banks Are Terrible (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160156)

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100930-716142.html [wsj.com]

Looks like only 50 billion.

It also looks like we might actually make money from tarp

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/business/01tarp.html?_r=1 [nytimes.com]

the $700 billion lifeline to banks, insurance and auto companies — will expire after Sunday at a fraction of that cost, and could conceivably earn taxpayers a profit.

Re:Australian Banks Are Terrible (1)

MojoMagic (669271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160070)

Hmmm... Yeah. That used to be true.
It's a lot better now, though.

My current bank (well, credit union. But they are aesthetically the same to me.) doesn't charge me any* fees on my normal accounts and offers ~5% interest on my online-only savings account**.

Though, I keep my savings and credit accounts with separate institutions because I'm paranoid...

--
*At my usage levels, which are pretty normal-use.
**Transferring between both accounts is free.

Re:Australian Banks Are Terrible (1)

pelrun (25021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160206)

Yup, aussie banks treat us customers like walking cash machines. Deposit? Fee! Interest? Fee! Showing up at a branch? Fee! Record profit for nth year running, literally a not-insignificant fraction of our total GDP? Fee increases across the board!

Re:Australian Banks Are Terrible (1)

Arcorn (1209534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160552)

Wow, you sound like you are with a crap bank. I have a general savings account at the Commonwealth, the only fees I get against my account is when I don't use a Commonwealth ATM(Inconvenient, like really.) and on some direct debit transactions. I don't have any account keeping fees and I have the option to have a 6% interest savings account on the same account.(Which I am going to make use of once I get my cheque for unused insurance)

Raise Rates? (2, Interesting)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159958)

Is high interest bad? Doesn't that mean that they give higher returns on deposited money or is this just the interest on loans?

I can see that if the banks can raise the interest they charge on the money they loaned out alone that collusion would be a problem since otherwise the customers would just refinance with another bank with lower rates. If they all work together the customers don't have anywhere else to go, but I would think that if they all raised rates then unless there was some legislative block on credit union type places popping up to attract customers away that they would be limited by the chance of bank runs.

Re:Raise Rates? (4, Insightful)

kramulous (977841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160126)

I'm currently earning a 6.51% on the cash that is not invested (probably will raise another 0.25% at least in the next few weeks). So, you are right. I am earning a nice, guaranteed rate on idle cash deposits. Not as good as shares, after the biggest drop in 80 years, but a bankable rate.

It's a predictable two edged sword ... those that are debt addicted suffer, those that are not are happy.

Re:Raise Rates? (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#34161754)

those that are debt addicted suffer, those that are not are happy.

Everybody is 'debt addicted'. Even you, though it sounds like your vision might be too narrow to recognize it.

Money creates debt through its very existence. It's impossible for crippling systematic debt not to accrue. That's just how it is. It sounds like you've managed to be among the small percentage able to dance a little faster than everybody else on the shrinking number of ice cubes, but as the whole thing slides under it will have been wise to make sure you weren't too smug or Darwinian in your thinking to have created bonds of trust and support among the members of your community.

-FL

Errrrm... (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159960)

Aren't the banks kind of daft on this one? Trust has always been the main issue with banks since the first bank was ever set up and asked to look after your valuables/money.

Different expectations (2, Interesting)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34159996)

People trust Google more (if indeed they do) because they expect less from them. Google's free services promise nothing (in a legal sense) but usually deliver an acceptable service; banks have definite legal obligations which they often fail to meet. If you have to deal with Google in an IRL sense (trying to get them to fulfil their data protection obligations, for example) you'll form a different impression - you might well prefer to be on the phone to a bank's Indian call centre, staffed by people who can't understand you and couldn't help you if they could.

Paypal ?! (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160124)

You know something is wrong when Paypal is more responsive and trusted than your own bank...

I trust Google... (2, Informative)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160214)

more than banks hands down. My family are invested in a regional bank and I just got an e-mail stating that they are ending my free checking and that if I don't deposit more money they will charge me $5 a month.

Google may not be perfect and they screw up sometimes but they are the kind of screw ups you glance at shame on you and move on. I mean sure they were taking public wifi data but cmon' it was public data and it was just random packets so that they do location services. Heck, I have an incredibly hard time finding unsecured networks as almost all routers nudge users to security a lot more then they used to. My friend's aptartment has no internet and there are 15 wifi networks and all of them are secure.

Anyways, how can credit unions be shamed for "collusion", they aren't even a for-profit company. Credit unions are the closest thing the banking sector has to a charity so saying they are colluding is like saying the United Way, Red Cross, and Goodwill are colluding for holding joint event.

Google already work like a bank (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160298)

They are agressively investing in smaller firms that have the potential to make a profit.

They just need to open that strategy to smaller ideas and the banks are in trouble.

Paypal "responsive and trusted"? (2, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160486)

Those aren't words one would usually hear associated with Paypal. Their customer service is rather poor in my experience so I shiver to think what bank customer service must be like in Australia.

Re:Paypal "responsive and trusted"? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34161218)

Hmmm. I had some friends comes from Aus to Canada and they commented on how good the customer-service was here. Since the last couple times I went to the US customer service was fairly similar to here (possibly better in US restaurants, they depend a lot more on tips), I'd guess that Australia tends to run into sucky service in a lot of places.

I've been to Aus once and it didn't seem that bad, though a bit hurried and less polite, but as with anywhere I'd imagine that YYMW depending on where in the country you are.

Banks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34160506)

More "...responsive and trusted than banks..." really? hands up if you trust a bank

PayPal? Trusted? Huh? (2, Insightful)

creed_nmd (1085055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160550)

If PayPal are more trusted than the banks that makes it very clear just how bad the banks are. I wouldn't trust PayPal with toy money my nephew left down the back of the sofa.

Wait a sec... (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160612)

People think that banks are in collusion? But... that's unpossible!

Pfft, next they'll tell us that big oil is doing price fixing at the pumps...

More responsive than Google? than PAYPAL? (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34160926)

...if so, then banks have a very, very big problem.

I feel bad for Australians. (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34161000)

I gotta say, if Australian banks are LESS responsive than PayPal...holy crap. I'd rather keep my money stashed up a crocodile's butt than give it to PayPal. It'd certainly be easier to get at.

Threatened by their own Bastardy, primarily. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34162196)

"Lack of responsiveness" is a bloody euphemism. Australian Banks are threatened by their own bastardry,
particularly to their least powerful customers.

They charge the worst fees to the people least able to afford it, people who must use them to receive wages or welfare.

One bank even tried to rig a satisfaction survey by getting their own employees to vote positively for it!

A Taiwanese friend remarked that if Taiwanese banks behaved the same way to *their* customers, it would not be tolerated.

They deserve the contempt they get. Thankfully there are now class actions happening.

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