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SMBs treated as second-class customers by local banks

In comparison to personal customers, small businesses are being treated as second-class customers by Australian banking providers, leading Mozo.com.au to launch a comprehensive business banking comparison service to help small business owners compare their options.

The free service compares loans, savings accounts, term deposits, credit cards and transaction accounts from 29 business banking providers.

Mozo’s research shows an average 0.56 percent difference between the best interest rates available to personal savings customers compared to business savings customers. All of the Big Four Banks impose tiered rates on business savers where balances under a certain level earn no interest at all. Nearly half of the banks surveyed offer bonus interest rates to personal customers but not to business customers. Standard rates are also often lower for business customers.

“We were shocked when we discovered just how badly small business customers are being treated,” Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont said, adding that the banking industry’s treatment of small businesses as “punitive and senseless”.

However, not all banks undervalue small businesses.

“By bringing some much needed transparency to the business banking market, we hope we can help small business owners find banking providers who will reward, rather than penalise, them for their business.”

For example, savings account market-leader ING Direct offers the same competitive rates to both its business and personal customers. ME Bank offers a condition-free, ongoing rate of 5.60 percent to both business and personal savers.

Lamont said businesses can have a loan with one bank, and a credit card and savings account with other providers. But, “ultimately, it’s up to small businesses to put an end to bank discrimination.

“If your bank insists on treating you like a second-class customer, go out and get better rates by cherry-picking the best products on offer elsewhere.”

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Liz Trethowan

Liz Trethowan

Elizabeth Trethowan is an intern writer at Dynamic Business. Currently doing her masters in media and communications, she absolutely loves to write. Still enjoying the student lifestyle, she can often be found trying out new recipes in the kitchen or curling up for a good movie with friends.

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