money question

The money questions most people can’t answer

If you can't answer these basic questions, you're not fully in control of your finances.

How many of these do you know the answer to? Read on to learn how well you're doing, and the easy steps you can take to improve your money situation.

savings-1What interest are you earning on your savings account?

Transaction accounts typically pay zero interest, so the amount you earn on your savings account is crucial. Actively contributing to your savings account is only doing half the work; you need to be sure that your account is also working for you. Head to your online account and check your rate, then compare with other savings accounts rates to see how it stacks up.

credit-reportWhat's on your credit file?

Your credit history impacts your ability to get personal loans, credit cards and mortgages. Your credit file will list both positive actions (paying off loans) and negative developments (such as unpaid or late bills). If information on the file is incorrect, you can have it fixed -- but you won't be able to do that if you haven't ordered a copy of your report. You can do this online for free.

bank-feesHow much are you paying in bank fees each month?

Nobody likes bank fees, but not many of us know how much we're actually paying. Common fees to watch out for include overdraft fees, monthly account fees and ATM withdrawal fees.

home-loan-rateWhat is your home loan rate?

Your mortgage will likely be the biggest financial commitment of your life, so make sure you know how much interest you're paying. Is your bank dropping rates when the RBA drops official rates? Have you compared your interest rate recently to see if you could save by refinancing?

credit-card-rateWhat is your credit card interest rate?

There are several rates you should track for your credit card. The first is the purchase rate, which can range anywhere from 8.99% p.a. to 22% p.a. Lower percentage rates tend to be associated with no-frills cards, while higher rate cards sometimes come with rewards points and lucrative perks. The second rate to track is the cash advance rate, which tends to be in excess of 20% p.a. Find out your credit card rates if you don't already know them so you know how much your plastic costs you to use.

comparison-rateWhat is your comparison rate?

Comparison rates for loans include not only the basic interest rate, but also any associated fees and charges. When you're comparing different loans, the comparison rate is a more helpful indicator than the basic interest rate.

Elizabeth Barry

Elizabeth is a senior writer for specialising in personal finance. She enjoys reading PDSs so you don’t have to.

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