Young Investor

Go online to compare financial products

| Updated on: May 14, 2011
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Some Web sites offer you the best deals for financial purchases.

Every year when Ajay makes investments, takes insurance or applies for deposits, he leaves all the decision-making to his ‘family' financial advisor, Madan. But in recent weeks, after reading many financial dailies and talking to his more net-savvy friends, he felthe didn't get cost-efficient options as his advisor may have had eyes only for investments that ensured good commission for him.

Ajay is not alone as most of us tend to rely on informal financial advisors, that friendly person who fills out our insurance forms, mutual funds, deposits and even pension plans and gives his ‘expert opinion' on the what is good for us and at the ‘best price'.

But how do you even get started on this mammoth task? Even if you want to independently check out these products, it would be a tedious task to go through individual companies' websites, compile all the data and come to a conclusion.

To do away with all these difficulties and make informed choices, there are several websites that offer a one-stop solution to decide the right product and more importantly the best deal. Interested? Here's a lowdown of how to make smart financial purchases.

Multi-purpose sites

Some sites that are rich on features are bankbazaar, apnaloan, deal4loans, policybazaar, apnapaisa, ecompare and RupeeTimes. They also allow you to check out features such as balance transfers, bonus points and the like. All the sites mentioned have loans and other debt products on display, while those such as bankbazaar, apna paisa and apnaloan also feature insurance and investment products.

Let us say, you are looking for a credit card that comes with the lowest interest rates or annual charges. When you log on to one of these sites, you will get a list of financial institutions that offer these cards. You can compare and contrast the features and conditions of different credit cards and choose what is good for you. Similarly you can analyse and choose from all kinds of insurance products. For instance, if you are looking at term insurance, you can type in the sum insured that you require, and get quotes from several insurance companies with which the websites have tied up, which allows you to make a cost-effective choice.

Again, if you are looking at a health insurance product, these websites take you through a series of questions such as dependents, sum insured, age factor, etc and give you quotes from several insurance companies.

These websites have tied up with banks and financial institutions such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, HDFC, Axis Bank among others. But the list is largely dominated by private players and not too many public sector banks partner with these websites.

Calculated moves

Some of these websites also offer very detailed financial calculators that are pretty simple to use and understand.

For example there are calculators where you can check if you are eligible for debt products such as a home loan, personal loan, auto loan or even an educational loan.

These calculators check your eligibility and also the amounts that you are likely to be offered as loans by banks and financial institutions. This is important because unlike an insurance or a credit card, the outflow in the case of home loans or educational loans is much higher and forms a substantial part of your salary. It is therefore judicious to extract value for money.

All loan products across banks and credit institutions are on display along with the interest rates – both fixed and variable. So there is much greater clarity to your decision making process and it is smooth and swift too. The EMIs that need to be paid – principal and interest components, for a particular loan are also available.

Once you sign up for these websites and check out the loan products, you are sent quotes from financial institutions to your email ID and even mobile phone, which increases the authenticity.

The best part about all this is that it is free of cost. The websites get their commissions from the institutions which find this a reasonably cost-efficient mode of attracting customers. Imagine being saved from the plight of walking in and out of any number of banks or financial institutions to get an affordable loan!

Once you decide on the best quote from the available options, the concerned bank or financial institution will approach you to take the matter further. You can also check the status of your application online.

For investment products such as pension plans or deposits too, you can explore these websites for checking out those that fit your bill in terms of risk-return profile. More importantly, they also have tools for calculating SIP (systematic investment plan) values, deposit yields, maturity value, and retirement corpus planning and so on. Being mostly institution neutral, these websites generally offer you all options and may not highlight one product in preference to another for a given criteria.

Looking at the larger picture, a young professional like you can plan for a loan, credit card, insurance or investments by making good use of these tools and apportion outflows in accordance with your salary. All this from the cool confines of your home and just a click of the mouse!

Published on May 19, 2011

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