This is a guest post by Kerry Lotzof, money expert from financial comparison website Mozo.com.au.
The world of banking is changing, rapidly.
Online research and easy comparisons that help consumers quickly find the best deals are turning the dynamic of cap-in-hand banking on its head and making financial providers work to earn and keep customer loyalty.
A growing number of Australians are taking control back, getting informed and switching banks.
1. Take back control
Many Australians are showing their banks a loyalty they don't really deserve. Credit card debts are outlasting marriages while banking customers are locking themselves into bad deals simply because they may not realise that they have other options.
Getting on top of your finances and knowing that you're getting value for money can lead to peace of mind and even a great sense of freedom.
Based on the feedback gathered from 28,000 Australians who participated in the 2013 Mozo People's Choice Awards more and more of us are choosing to do our banking away from the big four banks because the service and savings available with challenger banks and mutuals are so much better.
In the awards, Queenslanders Credit Union earned an overall satisfaction score of 8.85 out of 10 and took first place for Credit Unions while not one big four bank managed to make the list of Australia's top 10 rated banking providers.
2. Save yourself thousands of dollars a year
There are significant savings to be made by becoming a regular switcher.
It's estimated that switching to a Queenslanders home loan would save a typical big four home loan customer up to $40,000 on the life of their home loan.
An extra $40,000 that could go a long way to helping you own your home faster instead of paying for some bank shareholder's swimming pool! If it's been more than a couple of years since you put your mortgage under the microscope, it's definitely time to go shopping for a sweeter deal.
It's not only loans either, approximately 300,000 Australians are saving thousands of dollars a year by comparing their providers and switching to better financial products every single month.
3. Have a say on your bank - speak with your feet
There's no clearer message you can give your bank than speaking with your feet. If you aren't getting competitive service, your fees are too high or your savings are listing sideways with disappointing interest rate growth - the solution is to take your business where the grass is greener.
Sometimes even doing your research and threatening to switch will be enough to have your financial provider smarten up their act.
If you're ready to take control of your money and join the growing ranks of Australians demanding a better deal from their financial providers, jump on Mozo and see how your bank stacks up against Queenslanders Credit Union and the rest of the market - for big savings and a sense of empowerment, there's no time like the present.
Find out how you can start saving $40,000 (or more) on your mortgage.