Personal finance tips and advice on money and investing to increase your financial intelligence and welfare

Switch and Save

As the economic storm clouds continue to gather over Europe, recent reports suggesting that the UK economy will experience only feeble growth in the years to come, and the continued high price of basic products like fuel and food, 2012 looks set to be a difficult year for many Brits.

Research into saving and spending across the country revealed that 81% of people were hoping to save money on financial products and household bills in the year to come, making the most of intense competition between banks like Santander and more niche providers on everything from Santander home insurance to mortgages.

Unfortunately for some, much of this competition seems to be aimed at attracting new customers. Loyal customers who have stayed with the same organisation for many years rarely see their rates suddenly drop.

In this context then, the fact that 26% of adults in the UK have never changed any of their main financial product providers, and 13.8% have never switched their home insurance suggests that finding savings on financial products could prove to be challenging if people aren’t willing to move provider.

Obviously services like comparison websites and independent watchdogs (which? remains a good not for profit source of advice) provide excellent sources of information for customers looking to switch, the most readily ignored possibility to make savings is by consolidating products. Traditionally, people have products with several different providers, but in the current market conditions, banks are offering exceptionally good rates to existing customers who take out more products. So, if your home insurance, for example, is in a different place to your bank account, simply going in and having a chat with your bank could end up saving you significant amounts of money.

Ultimately, there’s little incentive for banks and other financial institutions to offer deals to existing customers because they know that those customers are unlikely to change to a different provider. So, if you really want to save money, the only thing to do is to do some research and find yourself a new provider – or, at the very least, do some research and then threaten to leave if your existing provider can’t match the better deals that you’ve found.

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