Loyal customers: campaigns to attract salary payments
Banks, like any other business, want customers and, if possible, loyal customers who will stay with them for many years. With so many banks and deals on the market, acquiring these customers is not easy. That is why banks devote significant efforts to attracting them. A way to do this, which you have probably heard about, are campaigns to attract salary payments.
What do these campaigns involve?
These campaigns try to get new customers to open an account and to order their salary to be paid directly into it. By getting you to directly credit your salary, the bank is trying to establish a lasting relationship with you. Linking your salary to your bank account provides stability, as you will likely also set up direct debits and take out other products, such as a card for your purchases. The account thus becomes a key tool for the day-to-day management of your money. Your salary payments are the gateway, allowing your bank to offer you other products and keep an eye out for anything else you may need, be it a personal loan, a credit card, a deposit or a mortgage, with the aim of cementing your relationship with it.
Since customer loyalty is an asset, banks will go the extra mile and are sometimes willing to pay for it. Thus, banks’ campaigns to attract salary payments offer money or gifts in exchange for having your salary paid directly into your account. These campaigns may be targeted at specific groups (for example, people in a certain age bracket) and often set minimum amounts, i.e. they usually require the monthly salary payment to be above a certain amount.
If you receive such an offer, you should thoroughly check all the terms and conditions. Bear in mind that the bank is offering you a reward in exchange for your loyalty, but, at the same time, it will try to make sure it gets it. It will likely require a minimum tie-in period, i.e. a minimum time during which you cannot switch your salary payments to another bank, unless you pay a penalty. For example, if your salary is required to be credited directly to the account for 12 months and you switch to another bank before that time, you will probably be asked to pay back part of the initial reward. The penalty normally depends on how long you have had your salary paid directly into the account. This post on the gifts (money or products) banks offer you when you open a bank account provides some tips that are also applicable to these campaigns.
Your decision to switch bank accounts should not be based only on the “gift” banks offer you for directly crediting your salary. Bear in mind that this “gift” is only part of the deal offered by the bank. You should consider the deal as a whole and check all the other terms and conditions, such as possible account fees, fees for related services (transfers), card fees, etc. The fact that a bank offers you more than the rest for directly crediting your salary does not mean that its offer is the best overall. Whether the cheapest or not, it might not be the one that best suits your needs.
So, before you decide to accept an offer, ask the bank these questions and make sure you get clear answers:
- What are the eligibility requirements? (for example: age, minimum salary amount...)
- How long does the direct crediting of my salary need to be maintained?
- What penalty will I be charged if I discontinue the direct crediting of my salary before then?
- What if I become unemployed before the end of this period and I no longer have a salary? Will I be charged the penalty too?
- Does this account provide the services I need? What other terms and conditions apply to this account (fees, related services)?
- Do I have to take out any other product, such as a card? If so, what is the cost of this product?