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How to choose the right financial products

How to choose the right financial products

Category: Money

Updated: 01/06/2016
First Published: 01/06/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Choosing financial products can be a tricky thing, but it's also vital that you make the right decisions. Your finances are on the line, after all, and whether you're looking to build your savings or need a loan for a quick cash injection, you need to make sure you choose wisely. But just how can you do that? We've got a few ideas…

  • Narrow down what you need.

The first thing you need to do is narrow down what it is you're actually looking for. Knowing that you want to open a savings account is all well and good, but do you want an easy access account, a fixed rate bond, or perhaps a regular saver? These kinds of decisions will depend on your circumstances and savings goals – an emergency fund will be better off in an easy access account, for example, but if you've got a lump sum to invest, you may prefer a fixed rate bond – so you'll want to make an informed decision.

Similar rules apply to things like loans, credit cards and mortgages. If you're after a personal loan you'll need to narrow down how much of a cash injection you'll actually need, and if you're in the market for a new mortgage, check how much of a deposit you'll have in relation to the property's value so you know which products to look for. Choosing a credit card will come down to whether you're looking to clear your debt (where you'll want a 0% balance transfer card) or want a card to make purchases with, in which case you'll probably want to look for a 0% purchase card or cashback card depending on your goals.

  • Check your credit report.

If you're after some form of credit, the next thing you'll want to do is check your credit report. This should be done before you even begin to think about applying – if your score isn't up to scratch you may find it more difficult to secure credit, and if you're unsuccessful, you could get a black mark on your report which can be the start of a vicious circle. So, always know where you stand by heading to a credit check provider (such as Experian CreditExpert), and if you think improvements can be made, check out our guide before you do anything else.

  • Use online price comparison tools.

Once you know what you're looking for you can start searching, and one of the best ways to do that is by using price comparison sites (such as ours!). You can perform a whole of market search based on your chosen filters or can check out best buy charts for a specific product, which can be a great way to get an instant idea of the best options available. And, because our charts are completely unbiased, you can be sure that you're getting an honest picture of what truly are the best products out there.

  • Go old school.
Heading online is all well and good, but that doesn't mean you have to discount the tried and tested method of product comparison. Why not check out the weekend papers? Our best buy charts can now be found in publications such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, so if you're looking for a simple overview of the top accounts on the market – including savings accounts, credit cards and mortgages, depending on which publications you choose – this could be the way to go.

What next?

Once you know what's out there, you'll have a better understanding of the financial products that could suit your needs and will be able to make an informed decision. If you need a bit more help then check out our comprehensive selection of guides, and don't be afraid to seek independent financial advice, particularly if you're looking to invest large sums or want to know how to save for retirement.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.