Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Ombudsman: It's a learning curve

Deborah Battell. Photo / Supplied
Deborah Battell. Photo / Supplied

Banking Ombudsman Deborah Battell says historically people have found it very hard to talk about money - but we all need to know more about it.

Battell's team deals with hundreds of queries about the banking sector every year and has put together a short quiz based on some of the most common complaints it receives.

"Based on our experience there are an awful lot of us that don't know as much as we need to to manage money effectively or manage our relationships with financial service providers," she said. "We do get caught out."

When Battell was appointed to the role three years ago she was surprised at the number of small things she didn't know herself about the sector and wondered if others were in the same boat.

Now every time the scheme deals with an individual case she tries to learn as much as possible to stop similar disputes arising.

Battell said money was not the be all and end all but when things went wrong they could go very wrong.

"There is as an embarrassment factor for people when something has gone wrong. It's good for people to realise they are not alone."

Top Tips

* Monitor your accounts frequently: read your statements.
* Contact your banking service provider if you notice anything wrong.
* Make sure your banking service provider has your current contact details.
* Protect your cards and PINs.
* Keep repayment promises.
* Read everything carefully before you sign.
* Make sure you fully understand what you're signing up for: ask questions, seek independent advice if necessary.
* Keep written records of important discussions and instructions.
* Contact your banking service provider first if you have a problem but if you can't resolve it satisfactorily or you want an independent opinion, contact the Banking Ombudsman on 0800 805 950 or at Bankomb.org.nz

What's your banking IQ?

TRUE OR FALSE?

1. You can't lose money if you invest in a managed fund through a bank.
2. Banks will always notice when you have been scammed.
3. Banks never reimburse you if your credit card is stolen.
4. If a fixed term loan is broken for any reason you may have to pay an early repayment cost.
5. Banks do not have to take you as a customer.
6. Banks will move your money between accounts to make sure you never go into overdraft.
7. If you ask your bank to send A$100 to your Australian bank account, your Australian bank statement will show that it has received the full $100.
8. You can negotiate interest rates or break costs with your bank.
9. Banks have to tell you if they can offer you a better product, for example, one with lower fees or higher interest.
10. Banks may freeze joint accounts if they are notified of a dispute between the parties, for example, if married couples separate.

* Answers: 1: False 2: False 3: False 4:True 5: True 6: False 7: False 8: True 9: False 10: True.

- NZ Herald

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