Saturday, December 4

Knowing financial products and services in the market

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Before getting yourselves into the throng of financial confusion, it is important to know what financial products and services are out there in the market.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has produced a series of informative pamphlets on banking products and services. These pamphlets are available in any bank branches around the country. If you cannot get them at a bank branch near you, log on to www.bankinginfo.com.my.

All banks offer basic savings accounts (BSA) and basic current accounts (BCA) to Malaysians and permanent residents.

BSA and BCA can be operated under individual or joint names. They operate in the same way as ordinary savings or current accounts do, the difference is you can only perform basic transactions with these accounts at minimal cost or for free. You are only allowed to open one BSA and one BCA per bank.

The banking services available to you with a BSA or BCA are:

Over-the-counter: Account enquiries, deposits and withdrawals, fund transfers within the same bank and bill payments

ATM: Balance enquiries, withdrawals and fund transfers within the same bank

Deposit machines: Cheque and cash deposits

Interbank GIRO: Interbank fund transfers

Internet banking: Account enquires, bill payments and fund transfers.

Savings account

A savings account (SA) allows you to deposit your money into an account and receive certain interest with no stated maturity. It is available at all banks in Malaysia. The minimum deposit to open an SA differs from bank to bank.

You can make deposits into or withdrawals from your SA whenever you need to. You can apply for an ATM card, which allows you to withdraw money from the bank’s ATMs and perform other transactions.

Some of the common transactions you can perform are:

1. Cash and cheque deposits Account enquiries Withdrawals

2. Fund transfers within the same bank

3. Bill payments

4. Interbank transfers (GIRO) Online banking.

Current account

A current account (CA) is a deposit account that can be used for either personal or business purposes. A CA allows you to use cheques to make payments. It is available at all banks in Malaysia. Some of these institutions offer interest-bearing CAs while some do not. Account statements will be delivered to you free-of-charge every month to help you keep track of your transactions.

You will be able to do the following as a CA holder:

1.Cheque payments

2. Cash and cheque deposits Account enquiries Withdrawals

3. Fund transfers within the same bank Bill payments

4. Interbank transfers (GIRO) Online banking.

Things to remember with both your savings account and current account is to always keep your account numbers and PINs confidential. Also, it is important to keep your account statements, passbook and ATM card in a safe and secure place.

Another good practice is to destroy or shred cancelled cheques. Immediately inform your bank if you have changed your address or telephone number, lost your ATM card, passbook, cheque or chequebook, or noticed any discrepancy in your bank statement.

The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) is an agency under Bank Negara Malaysia tasked to help individuals take control of their financial situation. For assistance, please contact AKPK’s Power Infoline at 03-26167766 or visit www.akpk.org.my.