A guide to using financial comparison websites

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Since time is money, it pays to take an in-depth look at financial comparison websites to see which best fits your needs (photo credit: freegreatpicture.com)Since time is money, it pays to take an in-depth look at financial comparison websites to see which best fits your needs (photo credit: freegreatpicture.com)

By Sharmila Ganapathy

As life becomes increasingly hectic and leaving more shoppers strapped for time, many choose to turn to financial comparison websites to shop for financial products and services. There are currently three such websites in Malaysia, namely CompareHero.my, iMoney.my and Loanstreet. All three websites also offer similar products, which can be confusing for shoppers. Hence, we decided to review these websites according to three main criteria to help shoppers decide which website(s) to use:

Look and Feel

CompareHero:  At first glance, the CompareHero website seems to have the most attractive look and feel of the three. After all, the site is in green, black, blue and white and even has its own mascot (top right of the landing page). This website certainly has personality, and appears aimed at the young, professional crowd or the young-at-heart with money to burn.

iMoney: After CompareHero’s colourful website, the iMoney one may seem a tad drab at first. However, its blue and white colour scheme does grow on you and also appears better structured than the CompareHero site. This is a site that means business and hence has a soothing, yet polished look that shoppers from all walks of life can relate to.

Loanstreet: Like iMoney, Loanstreet’s website has a professional look and feel, with a pop of colour thrown in on the home page to differentiate itself from its competitor. The site is pleasant-looking and well-organised, making it a breeze to surf.

Best Look and Feel: CompareHero.my

Navigation and User Friendliness

CompareHero: The merits of CompareHero’s design are that it is easy to navigate and that pages load quickly. Having said this, it can also be a pain to navigate as three tabs, namely Deposit, Mobile and Insurance lead you to “Coming Soon” pages, which is mildly annoying when you’re trying to search for products. Clicking on other links such as “Islamic Banking” and “Medical Insurance” also lead you to the same such pages, which won’t go down well with users.

iMoney: Although the home page may initially look intimidating with the “Compare Products” tab which links to all the different products this site features, navigating within the sub-menu is easy and painless. All the links lead to their respective products and work just fine, leaving you with a satisfying experience on the site.

Loanstreet: This website only has three product types of product offerings to compare, which makes navigation a breeze. You can use the graphic in the middle of the home page to navigate to the type of loan you are interested in, or use the drop-down menu for the same, making this site just as, if not more, user friendly than iMoney.

Best in terms of Navigation and User Friendliness: iMoney.my

Content

CompareHero:  As far as content goes, CompareHero can do better. We already mentioned that there is “absent” content, which can put off time-strapped users looking for information on products they want. The site is also in dire need of more articles on personal finance, which iMoney and Loanstreet have in abundance.

iMoney: If “content is king”, then iMoney has certainly done well by showcasing a variety of products for users to compare, as well as a learning centre with several personal finance articles site users can benefit from. The articles are well-written and comprehensive, which increases user confidence in the credibility of this website.

Loanstreet: Although it only offers comparisons of home, property and refinancing loans, Loanstreet boasts a learning centre with useful articles for site users. Quality not quantity, seems to be the order of the day and this appears to work for Loanstreet.

Best in terms of Content: iMoney.my

Overall winner: iMoney.my

After some hours of deliberation, we decided to pick iMoney.my as the best financial comparison website based on the quality of its design, user friendliness and content. It was a tough decision, as CompareHero and Loanstreet also have their merits and attraction factors.

We’d like to remind readers that this review in no way indicates that a single website is the way to go when shopping for financial products, far from it. In fact, shoppers should browse the different websites in detail and select which website best suits their needs. For example, if you want to compare broadband plans, CompareHero may be more suited to your taste than iMoney or Loanstreet, simply because the other two don’t currently offer this feature. When using any financial comparison website, do remember that quality is just as important as cost.

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