Reporter: Helen Wellings
Now there's an easy way of checking your statements.. discovering mistakes BEFORE they mount up. Lyndsey Knight found she was getting short-changed by her bank .... month after month.
"I was getting a feeling that something wasn't quite right and I couldn't put my finger on it." Said Lyndsey Knight
The bank had made a critical error - not linking her mortgage account to her offset savings account, despite Lyndsey requesting it. By linking them, money in her savings account would be offset against, or deducted from, what she owes on her mortgage and interest charged on that LOWER loan principal, saving a motza over the term of the loan.
"If you were to say your mortgage is two hundred thousand but you've got five thousand in the bank, then you only pay your interest on the $195,000." Said Lyndsey Knight
The bank's mistake would have a drastic effect on Lyndsey's pocket. She'd stand to gain $20 to $40 a month from having an offset savings account linked to her mortgage account. That would reduce her loan period by up to 4 years and save her ... at least ... $20,000 over the period of the loan.
IT and Finance specialist, Matthew Haynes, of Home Money Manager has developed mortgage checker software called Home Loan Manager Pro, costing $179.
"If there's an error in your mortgage then our software will find it for you." Said Matthew Haynes
Load in your details and the program checks your bank statements and highlights errors in interest charges, calculates how much you've been overpaying and what the bank should rebate.
"The software works with every type of Australian loan out there so anyone with a loan or debt, the product can help them. The great thing is you can download and try the software for free." Said Matthew Haynes
That's how Lyndsey found her bank's mistake. The program spotted she'd been overcharged $460 over one year ... which left unchecked, would have accrued to $20,000 plus over time. Luckily the bank corrected the mistake and refunded her.
"We found that there was this discrepancy with the interest that had been charged and when we contacted them, that's when they said yeah, they hadn't linked it correctly." Said Lyndsey Knight
Alistair Schirmer of InfoChoice which compares financial products says the earlier you find an error the better, so it doesn't compound.
"Some of the common mistakes are wrong interest rates, fees that have been applied or incorrectly applied, discounts that have been negotiated that haven't been applied other things like dishonour fees that haven't been taken off." Said Alistair Schirmer
You can also use the Home Loan Manager to crush your loan. Set a goal to pay extra - and it will calculate how much sooner you can pay it off.
"They can see exactly how much they're going to save and they can see exactly what they have to do month to month until they're debt free it will take you 5 minutes to keep your loans in control." Said Matthew Haynes
Check your accounts, once a month, once a week. ..If something doesn't feel right then go and investigate, which is what we did." Said Lyndsey Knight
Home Money Manager:
Home Loan Manager Pro (includes a download link):
PRICE of Home Loan Manager Pro:
* Download program for $179.
* Purchase DISC version for $197 posted out to you
InfoChoice | Compare Interest Rates, Home Loans, Mortgages & More www.infochoice.com.au