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September 13, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Don’t Bank On It

For those of us lucky enough to have any money, banks are an essential part of life. However, problems have arisen between banks and students regarding the transition between student and graduate account packages.

Every year, many New Zealand banks change students automatically onto a graduate account, regardless of whether they have received information from the student.

BNZ Customer Solutions Advisor Robert Judd says that this is merely procedure.

“The way it is works is on an annual basis,” says Judd.

“Until we are notified that you are still studying it will be transferred to a graduate account.

“This is basically because the majority of students study for three years, during which many often have a break and go into the workforce and we just need to be informed.”

The automatic transfer to a graduate account was an inconvenience for a BNZ student customer.

“It’s really annoying because I had no notification, so I only found out when I needed to go the bank itself and they brought it up.

“Now I have to go in at the start of every year to check.”

A former student spoken to by Salient had the opposite problem with Westpac, being unable to change over to a graduate account, despite having finished at Victoria.

The former student said difficulties arose in the transition period between the end of the university year and graduation in May.

“Because I was at the end of a tertiary account, and had not yet acquired a grad account, I had been hoping to get an overdraft but they said this was unable to be done under the tertiary account because it was so close to expiring. I was in bank account limbo.”

A National Bank student customer says that while he was not automatically transferred, certain aspects of the student account package were revoked after the first year.

“I found out to my own expense that they remove my $2000 overdraft limit after a year, which was lame.”

Student accounts are beneficial for students on the whole. Most New Zealand banks, including Westpac, ASB, ANZ, BNZ and National Bank, have similar student account deals. These include no monthly base or transaction fees, an interest-free overdraft and a free to low-fee credit, Visa or debit plus card.

“It is true that although there are hassles,” one student concludes, “we are much better off having student packs than none at all.”

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