News Archive for April 2021

April 2021

Why foreign exchange rates could be your greatest business challenge in 2021

Why foreign exchange rates could be your greatest business challenge in 2021

The past year has seen currencies and foreign exchange (FX) rates in a real state of flux as COVID-19 rocked the global economy. The Australian dollar was a perfect example of this, plunging to just 55 US cents back in March 2020 when the pandemic was declared before rebounding to highs of 70 US cents in June. Today the AUD is trading at around 77 US cents - a slight decline from its multi-year peak of 79 US cents two months ago. According to international money transfer (IMT) provider TorFX’s managing director, Nigel Fox, exchange rates will likely remain volatile for the rest of 2021. “While the world looks to be in far better shape now than it was 12 months ago thanks to the rollout of vaccination programs … there can be no doubt that some of last year’s uncertainty has bled through to 2021,” he said. “This is even before we consider the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit in the UK, a new administration in the US, and the risks posed by an increasingly aggressive approach to foreign policy by China.” Fox said that for Australian businesses with international interests, whether it’s staff or suppliers overseas, this volatility could have a real impact on profit margin. “Businesses will need to tread carefully and take steps to ensure they aren’t caught out by sudden shifts in the currency market,” he said.

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New zealand travel bubble what are your credit card options

New Zealand travel bubble: what are your credit card options?

It’s been almost two weeks since the Trans-Tasman travel bubble opened up between Australia and New Zealand. With the option now available for quarantine-free travel for Aussies, many are looking to bungee jump, hit the slopes, or just soak in the scenery our neighbours to the south have to offer. So if you’re one of the ones that has the New Zealand travel itch, you may be asking yourself: what are my travel money options? (Bet you haven’t asked that question in a while!)  So to give you a bit of a refresh, a travel credit card may be a good way to go. Whether it’s a card with no foreign exchange rate or a card that could earn you a tonne of points as you fly and spend, or both, it’s all about making sure you get the most out of your travel money option.

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Rooftop solar customers could be charged to export electricity under new aer suggestion

Rooftop solar customers could be charged to export electricity under new AER suggestion

Back in March, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) suggested that Aussies with rooftop solar who export excess electricity to the grid be charged a cost for doing so. They said this new rule could help the electricity grid cope with large influxes of renewable energy generation brought on by rooftop solar. "The poles and wires businesses were set up to get electricity from a big generator, like a coal plant or a gas plant, down those wires and into your house," said AEMC chief executive, Benn Barr. "That change we've seen over the last 10,15 years is a two-way flow … now power is not just going to your house, but power is coming from your house. The system hasn't been set up to deal with that.Barr argued that the prices would be flexible and be left up to power companies to determine, however, Aussies will still be able to earn cash by exporting electricity when required. "We've modelled different charges from $10 to $100, depending upon the size of your solar system," Barr added. "You get a good return from solar. And it's not going to make it uneconomical for customers to put it on their roof.” However, not everyone is on board with the idea. Professor at Victoria University, Bruce Mountain told ABC’s 7:30 program that this measure would decrease a household’s income received for exporting solar by 80%. This could also see fewer Aussies interested in making the switch to solar power. It’s no secret that Aussies are big fans of solar power, with recent research from the Clean Energy Regulator found that as of 31 December 2020, more than 2.66 million households have had a solar system installed. But could a proposed tax forecast a dive in solar uptake amongst Aussie households? "Essentially, they will get the equivalent of a hamburger a year as their income from rooftop solar sales,” Mountain told 7.30. “I think that's very likely to bring pressure in the rooftop solar market, and customers will be less interested in it.” It’s unclear whether this proposed change will go ahead. But if you’d like to learn more about how solar power can benefit the environment and your wallet, have a read of our solar power guide.

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Debt consolidation the leading reason aussies take out personal loans says plenti

Debt consolidation the leading reason Aussies take out personal loans, says Plenti

Whether it’s spending more time at home or a new perspective on life, many Aussies across the country have been taking great strides in smashing their financial goals by taking out a personal loan. In fact, according to a recent Loan Book Update from peer-to-peer lender, Plenti, debt consolidation (27%) was the leading financial reason for applying for a Plenti personal loan. Other major reasons for taking out a personal loan were for renewable energy spending (25%) and home improvements (13%), suggesting that more Aussies are looking to boost the value of their home. Interestingly, 30% of current personal loan customers were between the ages of 30 and 39, while more than half (52%) earned between $50k and $100k. If you’ve been thinking about taking out a personal loan, finding the right option for your needs and financial goals can be tricky. The good news is if you’ve got a decent credit history, you could have access to some low interest rates, as many providers offer competitive rates to these kinds of borrowers. To help get your search started, we’ve rounded up some hot personal loan deals available in the Mozo database.

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Number of still deferred mortgages approaches zero

Number of still-deferred mortgages approaches zero

The number of Australians on mortgage holidays continues to dwindle, with the latest data from the Australian Banking Association revealing that just 3,170 customers with the big four banks and Suncorp have yet to resume their repayments.The total number of deferred mortgages peaked at 854,606 as households weathered the country’s first recession in 30 years. By the program’s end on 31 March, the percentage of still-deferred mortgages had shrunk to 0.7 per cent.As a percentage of the sample banks’ mortgage portfolio, outstanding loans represent just 0.07 per cent.The picture for Australian businesses is even more encouraging. From a peak of 235,440, the number of deferred business loans fell to 508 by 31 March, meaning 0.2 per cent of all deferred loans remain that way.For Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh, this is a clear sign that borrowers are on stable footing as the country emerges from recession."These figures reflect the impressive recovery Australia's economy is experiencing after facing a one-in-100-year pandemic," she said."The fact that unemployment is lower than expected and the economy has rebounded faster than we anticipated is great news for the vast majority of homeowners and small businesses."RELATED: Banks hike fixed rates as borrowers race to lock inWhile the industry-wide deferral program has formally ended, Bligh reminded Australians still struggling to service their loans that more help is available. Depending on circumstances, this could include further deferral or restructured payments."Banks will continue to support those households and businesses still doing it tough this year, taking a fair and compassionate approach to get people through the pandemic," she said.For more information on lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

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Dmo energy prices to fall for both residential and small business customers

DMO energy prices to fall for both residential and small business customers

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has announced its final decision on the Default Market Offer (DMO) for the 2021/22 financial year - and it’s good news for both households and small businesses. According to the regulator’s recent report, approximately 727,000 residential customers on standing offers will have their electricity prices cut by up to $116 annually, while small businesses will see a drop of $441. As a quick recap, the DMO was introduced in July 2019 as a measure to prevent Aussies on standing offers from being charged exorbitant prices on their energy bills. The DMO acts as a price cap that retailers must abide by and is issued by the AER. AER Chair, Clare Savage says that while the price change is good news for residents and small businesses, customers are still encouraged to shop around to ensure they’re getting the best value for money on their energy plan. “The DMO is not designed to be the most competitive deal but rather it is a safety net for customers who don’t or can’t shop around when it comes to their electricity contract,” she encouraged.“Most retailers have cheaper energy deals on offer, so shopping around remains the best way to get a better price.”

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Guide to lenders participating in the sme loan guarantee scheme

Guide to lenders participating in the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme

At a time when many small businesses are finding it difficult to get approved for finance, the federal government has stepped in with its SME Loan Guarantee Scheme to cut through some of the red tape.This scheme is designed to help eligible small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) get access to cheaper funding, as it involves the government guaranteeing a portion of eligible business loans - 50% in phase two and 80% in its latest version known as the SME Recovery Loan Scheme. But to be covered by the guarantee, your lender must be approved to partake in the scheme. There are 39 lenders participating in phase two right now:

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Auction activity dips

Auction activity dips, though property market conditions remain strong

After a bumper month which saw auction sales climb to record highs, auction activity slowed down last week according to the property research firm CoreLogic.Figures show 2,041 capital city homes went under the hammer, returning a preliminary clearance rate of 78.5 per cent.Volumes and clearance rates were significantly lower compared to the previous week, when 2,467 capital city homes were taken to auction and preliminary figures came in at 80.5 per cent (later revised down to 78.6 per cent).In Sydney, 777 auctions took place, returning a preliminary clearance rate of 82.1 per cent. One week earlier, 919 Sydney homes were taken to auction, returning a preliminary clearance rate of 84.8 per cent, which was revised down to 81.5 per cent by final collection.Melbourne also saw diminished activity, with 925 properties going to auction — down from 1,221 in the previous week. Of the 770 results collected so far, 76.1 per cent have returned a successful result. Meanwhile, Canberra returned the highest preliminary auction clearance rate of all capitals with 97.7 per cent of homes selling across 55 auctions.

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What you need to know about the new american express cashback credit card

What you need to know about the new American Express Cashback Credit Card

From racking up rewards points to scoring invites to VIP events, every rewards lover has their favourite perk. And if you’re into cashback deals on everyday spending, we’ve got good news for you. American Express has launched a brand new credit card, called the American Express Cashback Credit Card. With the card, customers will earn 1% cashback per $1 spent on eligible purchases, plus an additional 5% cashback per $1 spent for the first months once you’re approved (up to $200 cashback). You could also earn an extra 1.5% cashback for purchases made at participating Shop Small small businesses (offer ends 31/03/22). But that’s not all. Once you own an Amex Cashback Credit Card, you’ll be treated to a free Binge Basic subscription, a 12-month pass to the Centr fitness app, complimentary Smartphone Screen Insurance and access to Amex Entertainment Lounges, Plan It Instalments and other Amex offers. “We’re always looking for ways to ensure our products address the evolving needs of consumers,” said Vice President of Consumer Lending at American Express, Austin Huntsdale. “With Gen Z and Millennials seeking instant gratification through Cashback incentives and new ways to be savvier with their money, there was no better time for us to introduce Australia’s highest uncapped Cashback earning credit card – giving them a financial tool that benefits their lifestyles and spending habits.” Of course, you’ll also have standard rewards credit card features, like up to 55 interest-free days, refund and purchase protection insurance. However, like any rewards credit card, there are a few things to keep in mind. The Amex Cashback Credit Card has a 20.74% purchase rate and a $10 monthly fee, so you’ll want to make sure you’re paying your balance off in full every month. Wanna find out what Mozo thinks about the new American Express Cashback Credit Card? Check out our editorial review! Or if you wanna find out how the new Amex card stacks up to other deals in the market, head on over to our rewards card comparison tool or get started with the offers below.

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Best life insurance

Australia’s best life insurance for April 2024

While it can be unpleasant to think about, planning ahead in case you become ill, unable to work, or pass away unexpectedly is a common way to ensure the financial security of your family and loved ones. Life insurance can help you prepare financially for the unexpected.

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Does it take long to get a home loan in 2021

Does it take long to get a home loan in 2021?

Home loans are approved much faster now in 2021, say the leaders of some of Australia's biggest banks. Music to the ears of many would-be borrowers eager to jump into the busy property market, undoubtedly.Loan approval times were a talking point at the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics this month, where chief executives from big banks NAB, CBA, Westpac and ANZ highlighted both the heat in the current market and expectations of continued price growth this year. This analysis led to the committee's queries over delayed loan approvals, given many prospective buyers have been forced to sit on the sidelines, tied up by lender's red tape processes.In recent years, home loan approvals have lagged due to a cautious approach by lenders toward some applicants, especially in light of findings made by the Hayne Royal Commission. Within this stringent process of the last few years, however, some lenders have delayed the process perhaps more than needed. These delays were raised by the committee amid a currently heated market, where timing can be crucial to making a property purchase.With many people looking to buy right now, lenders now seem acutely aware of helping more buyers get into the action with an approved home loan. For example, ANZ Bank's chief, Shayne Elliot said during the hearings, "Pleasingly, our loans to first home buyers over the last three months are up 75% on last year and, across the industry, those getting into property for the first time are taking out 35% of owner occupier loans."Meanwhile, NAB boss Ross McEwan told the committee that his bank could give a green light to a vanilla home loan in as little as 24 hours. Specifically, he said that 50% of simple loans are approved in less than a day and the other 50% in less than five days, as reported by The Australian Financial Review.

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Share trading in 2021 why we re investing and where

Share Trading in 2021: Why we’re investing and where

The country has endured a financial rollercoaster lately, with massive job losses and the first recession in almost 30 years. But rather than see this as a reason to reign in spending, many Aussies chose to take the opportunity to build their financial future through share trading. One platform that noticed this uptick was social media network TradingView, which reported a 340% year-on-year growth and new users jumping from 30k in 2019 to 101k in 2020. Separate research from Investment Trends also shows that it’s younger Aussies who are shaking up the investment market: of Aussies who placed their first trade in the last 12 months, one in six were under the age of 25. Share trading has traditionally been a grey area for Aussies of all ages, which could be chalked up to a lack of education or little talk about it in the media. But with the rising number of younger Aussies now taking an interest in the investment world, share trading might be about to become the next big thing.

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Do car safety ratings affect insurance

Do car safety ratings affect insurance?

The safety rating of your vehicle will most certainly have some bearing on the insurance premium you pay. Some insurance companies may even refuse to provide cover for cars with a low rating. That said, to truly understand the significance of car safety ratings, we have to first look at what these ratings are and how vehicle safety is tested. Let's get into it.

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Homebuilder extension gives applicants extra 12 months to build

HomeBuilder extension gives applicants extra 12 months to build

The federal government announced an extension to the construction commencement requirement for the HomeBuilder program on Saturday, giving existing applicants a total of 18 months to begin work on their homes.The extension will apply to all applicants who signed contracts during the HomeBuilder eligibility period between 4 June 2020 and 31 March 2021.While the deadline for applications has passed, those who have already lodged an application will now have until 30 April 2023 to submit all the necessary documentation to their State or Territory Revenue Office.Introduced in June 2020 to prevent activity in the residential construction sector from drying up, the HomeBuilder scheme has so far attracted more than 121,000 applicants.“The swift introduction of HomeBuilder gave Australians the confidence to build or rebuild a home during a period of great uncertainty,” said Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing, Michael Sukkar.It’s also been a key ingredient in Australia’s property boom, with a 27 per cent increase in detached dwelling commencements over the December quarter, as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics.The initial program required successful applicants to begin construction within six months of the contract date. The additional 12 months will provide a buffer in the event of delays, such as COVID-19 related supply constraints or disruptions due to natural disaster.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the extension will “ensure that existing applicants facing difficulties in starting construction on their new builds and renovations are not denied a HomeBuilder grant due to circumstances outside their control.”In its current form, the HomeBuilder scheme offers $15,000 grants to eligible Australians when purchasing new builds valued at under $950,000 in New South Wales, $850,000 in Victoria, and $750,000 in all other StatesThe grant is also available to subsidise renovations of between $150,000 and $750,000 on existing homes, so long as the value of the property including land does not exceed $1.5 million.For more information on property and lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

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The solar glitch aussie households need to know about

The solar glitch Aussie households need to know about

Various solar rebates and schemes have helped thousands of Aussie households turn their green energy dreams into reality, and it’s helping boost renewable energy production big time. According to solar energy marketplace bidmysolar, one-fifth of Australia’s clean energy is generated from small-scale solar systems.One scheme that’s increasingly popular amongst Aussie homeowners is the federal government’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. Under this scheme, small-scale technology certificates (STC) are generated for every kilowatt of panels installed. The number of certificates produced per system depends on its geographical location, installation date and the amount of electricity generated, which can mean a rebate worth thousands of dollars. Regardless of the system’s efficiency, the rebate per panel remains the same, prompting Aussies to purchase less reliable and cheaper systems. As a result, electricity generation and consumption are disrupted. “Quality solar will pay for itself within three to four years and last for 15 to 25 years. Comparably, cheap solar often fails within 12 to 36 months and underperforms by as much as 60% annually,” founder of bidmysolar, Bernie Kelly told Mozo. “Cheap solar is undeniably expensive solar, because not only have you invested in a system that fails but you also continue to have sizable power bills and if you decide to reinvest in a new system, the output of those costs too.” Further research from bidmysolar revealed that one in six solar systems across the country developed a major fault or stopped working altogether, with cheaper models often losing more than 20% of their output capacity within just five years. “The government incentive programme for solar has created an environment for unreliable solar operators to thrive. Cheap, underperforming and failing solar has been dumped into the Australian market,” says Kelly. It’s forecasted that more than 400,000 applications for the STC’s by the Clean Energy Regulator will be made this year. To prevent more solar hiccups for the average household, Kelly shared with Mozo his top three tips for finding a top of the line solar system. “The most important issue for consumers is to never rush in, avoid all the sales hype, and know that prices do not swing wildly from day to day or month to month,” he said. “Avoid wherever possible, finance promising interest-free, no money down. Instead, talk to your bank and use their Green Loan initiatives or a fit for purpose solar loan.“Always stick to the facts, if anybody makes a statement regarding quality and performance, have them explain the position with some science attached. Question everything which is stated verbally and have a salesperson commit to writing what they have said.“Find an independent solar advisor who is not conflicted by sales commissions or benefits, like selling your personal details to multiple solar companies.” Despite its popularity, solar power remains a mystery for many Aussies, so if you’d like to learn more about how solar energy works, have a read of our handy guide.

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Unemployment decreases as job opportunities surge

Unemployment falls as job opportunities surge

The unemployment rate in Australia has seen another month-on-month decrease, falling 2 basis points to 5.6% in March according to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour force data.

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Square to roll out interest free business loan to australia

Square to roll out interest-free business loan to Australia

US-headquartered lender Square has just announced plans to expand its business loan product to Australia, in an effort to reduce the red tape around accessing additional working capital. Square’s decision to move beyond its domestic market came in light of its own research. Its survey found that more than half of Australian businesses have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and yet only 1 in 4 business owners have accessed formal forms of finance like business loans. Meanwhile, a far larger portion of respondents - two-thirds - have relied on more private sources of funding, such as personal credit cards or borrowing from family and friends.“It’s no secret that small businesses in Australia have historically faced huge hurdles when it comes to accessing formal forms of finance,” said Square Australia’s head of industry and payments, Samina Hussain-Letch.“They’re often forced to pour over piles of paperwork, provide years of financial information, and put up personal guarantees that can be riddled with red tape.” So, what’s the solution to these barriers? That’s where Square Loans comes in.

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Australia’s best insurance of 2020

Australia’s best insurance of 2020

Insurance is a vital product, but despite its importance it is an area Aussies sometimes avoid. Choosing the right insurance can be a complicated process. Then, once you've picked a policy it involves forking out cash just in case you find yourself, your belongings or your loved ones in an emergency situation.

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Suv sales up by over 30 can a personal loan get you into the market

SUV sales up by over 30%: Can a personal loan get you into the market?

Ready for that new car smell? Thousands of Aussies are looking to hit the road and in a fresh set of wheels too! Recent stats from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) revealed that new car sales rose by 22.4% in March 2021 from the same time a year prior.A total of 100,005 brand new cars were sold last month compared to 81,690 vehicles in March 2020 when many Aussie entered lockdown. In particular, SUVs saw the greatest growth in sales of 32%, while light commercial vehicles, including vans and utes, also jumped up by 28%.

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Aussie households could be missing out on 900 million in electricity bill savings

Aussie households could be missing out on $900 million in electricity bill savings

New figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have revealed that electricity prices have fallen by 9% since the middle of last year. As a result, thousands of households across eastern and southern states now have the potential to collectively save $900 million by making the switch to a better offer. According to ACCC Chair, Rod Sims the reason for the decline in prices was due to an increase in power generation, specifically renewable energy generation and falling fuel costs. “There are two ways that households and small businesses can get the hip-pocket benefit of recent reductions in retailers’ costs: by changing to a new, cheaper plan; or, by waiting for their retailer to lower the rates on the plan that they’re already on,” he said. Under a new law that was passed in June 2020, called the Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct (PEMM) law, electricity retailers are now required to make adjustments to their pricing in line with the cost of them to obtain electricity. And if you’ve been keeping up with energy market movements as of late, you’ll know that wholesale electricity prices have been on the decline since mid-2020. “We also expect further significant price reductions from retailers over time, as the reductions in wholesale spot prices flow through to retailers’ contracting positions,” said Sims. Victorians have the biggest potential savings of between $171 and $198 a year, as the state’s flat offer prices have reduced by 11% to 14%. This is followed by South-East Queensland ($126), South Australia ($118), New South Wales ($80 - $88) and the Australian Capital Territory ($46). Although Sims explained the ACCC will be investigating as to whether electricity retailers are following PEMM law, he encouraged Aussies to shop around to secure further savings on their annual bill. So if you think you could be getting a better deal on your electricity bill, why not take our energy comparison tool for a spin? It can help you compare some of the electricity plans available in your area.

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Domestic holidays boost economy by more than 7 billion

Domestic holidays boost economy by more than $7 billion

A greater number of Australians holidaying at home has kept the economy up and running, with recent data from the Treasury revealing that local spending helped GDP grow by $7.5 billion over the December quarter.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the boost was enough to offset the impact of strict border closures, which have brought international tourism to a halt and deprived the economy of a main source of expenditure.“While there are some sectors in the economy that continue to do it tough, it is important to note that Australians typically spend more overseas than foreign tourists spend in Australia,” he said.According to ABS data, Australian tourists spent $47 billion overseas in 2019, compared to foreign tourists who spent only $23 billion on Australia’s shores.Domestic tourists also tend to spend more time and money in regional areas, while international tourists gravitate mainly towards the nation’s capitals. The uptick in domestic travel has so far been a boon for regional spots, particularly those in east coast states.RELATED: Aussies hit the shops in 2021, says CitiThe Treasurer maintains that the Australian economy is tracking better than expected, despite setbacks such as the country’s troubled vaccine rollout.“While the continued vaccine rollout is an important step in protecting Australians against the threat of the virus, the timing of the rollout is not expected to derail momentum in our economic recovery,” he said.In its latest Financial Stability Review, the Reserve Bank revealed that Australian GDP has almost returned to its pre-pandemic levels, though some parts of the economy continue to be constrained. Wage growth remains stubbornly low, but reduced opportunities for spending over 2020 coupled with the Government’s income support payments saw household disposable income increase by 5 per cent over the year.Citi Australia’s latest credit card index showed consumer spending was up 23 per cent in March. While airline spending is subdued compared with early last year, it rose by 69 per cent over the month.“Spend is now slightly higher year on year compared to 2020. This strong rebound post-COVID is a pleasant surprise that speaks to the return of consumer confidence in the Australian economy,” said Choong Yu Lum, head of credit cards at Citi Australia.

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Does buy now pay later affect your credit score

Does Buy Now Pay Later impact your credit score?

From Afterpay to Zip and every Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) company in between, it seems Aussie shoppers can't get enough of splitting up purchases. In fact, research from RFIGlobal has found that some 40% of Australians are regular BNPL users.

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Do you have a 5 deposit ready this home loan might work for you

Do you have a 5% deposit ready? This home loan might work for you

As property prices continue to surge at record rates, saving for a first home deposit has only gotten harder. New research reveals that Sydneysiders are feeling this financial strain the most, with a $100,000 deposit no longer enough to fetch them a median-priced property. According to online lender homeloans.com.au, home buyers in NSW with a 5% deposit of $100,000 may only be able to fund properties of up to $780,000. This falls a massive $115,933 short of the current median property price for Sydney. Meanwhile Victorian buyers with the same-sized deposits are estimated to be able to afford properties of up to $710,000 - just shy of Melbourne’s median price of $717,767. However, for all other capital cities, home buyers with a 5% deposit of $100,000 could comfortably buy a median-priced property in the area.

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Let s give credit card rates the chop says vic treasurer

Let’s give credit card rates the chop, says VIC Treasurer

Last week Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas threw down the gauntlet to Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg asking for credit card interest rates to be slashed. He argued that although the cost of borrowing money has plummeted over the past few years, credit card interest rates have remained the same. “That is unfair, it is unreasonable, and it’s unconscionable, and it has to stop,” he said.“The Commonwealth needs to step up.”To get credit card interest rates under control, Pallas has also demanded a review into how rates are set and regulated within Australia. It might not be that much of a bold statement either, as credit card rates have barely moved, despite the fact that the official cash rate currently sits at 0.1% Mozo research from November last year revealed that by failing to pass on 4.40% in RBA rate cuts over the past eight years, credit card providers have profited an eye-watering $6.4 billion. According to Pallas, the move to reduce credit card interest rates would help the banks “re-establish their credibility” with customers. While it’s unclear whether this idea will come to fruition, credit card holders can take action now against their card’s interest rate by making the switch to a better deal. According to the Mozo database, the average credit card rate is 16.87%, while the lowest sits at 7.49%, so there are some decent savings to be made by shopping around.

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Vacancy rates down but sydney and melbourne markets struggle

Vacancy rates down but Sydney and Melbourne markets continue to struggle

Property vacancy rates continue to fall in the majority of Australian capital cities, causing rents to edge upwards as tenants compete for a limited supply of housing.The latest figures from Archistar reveal that house vacancy rates are lowest in Canberra at 0.4%, followed by Adelaide (0.6%), Darwin (0.8%), Perth (0.9%) and Hobart (0.9%). Brisbane also posted low numbers at just above the 1% mark.The number of unoccupied units has also been steadily dropping, putting further upward pressure on rents. However, things have been tracking in the opposite direction in Melbourne and Sydney, where inner-city apartment vacancies have reached record highs.Archistar chief economist Andrew Wilson said landlords face an uphill battle in Melbourne, where “interstate migration shifts and a CBD apartment glut are providing relief for local tenants.”"Similarly, Sydney’s inner city apartment market also reflecting the impacts of border restrictions is providing more choices and lower rents for tenants - with no relief for landlords in sight."Capital city vacancy rates

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Home loan check in are fixed rates on their way back up

Home loan check-in: Are fixed rates on their way back up?

Ultra-cheap fixed rates have fuelled a rush to the property market and sent home values soaring, but a number of banks have begun increasing long-term fixed offerings, suggesting a market slowdown might be just around the corner. With the RBA’s term funding facility due to end in the second half of the year, longer term fixed rates will likely drift upwards, meaning the current interest rate environment might look a lot different in just a few months’ time.So far, the Commonwealth Bank has been the only major bank to reverse course. It lifted 4-year rates for its Fixed Rate Wealth Package by 20 basis points to 2.19% p.a. (3.73% p.a. comparison rate*), citing increased funding costs.Bank of Queensland also raised 4- and 5-year rates by 20 basis points at the same time it cut its 2-year offering. 4-year rates now sit at 2.29% p.a. (3.00% p.a. comparison rate*).Meanwhile, Teachers Mutual Bank increased 4-year rates by 19 basis points and 5-year rates by 34 basis points across its associated brands. More banks and lenders are expected to follow.Typically, only around 15% of mortgages are fixed, but the combination of rock-bottom rates and predictable payments have attracted plenty of borrowers in the past year, Right now, fixed rates account for more than one-third of new mortgages.At the time of writing, the lowest fixed rate offers among lenders we track are:

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Where to find a top credit card bonus points offer

Where to find a top credit card bonus points offer

Love rewards points? If you’re on the market for a new rewards credit card, a bonus points offer might be exactly what you need to scratch your points-loving itch. So which credit cards come with bonus points?  Well, last month six credit card launched fresh bonus points offers to new card members.

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Top business banking deals to boost your business growth

Top business banking deals to boost your business growth

After a tough year, many small businesses are looking to transition out of survival mode and begin growing their operations again. In times of economic uncertainty, managing the ups and downs of your business’ cashflow can be made easier with the right banking products under your belt.Whether it’s a business loan to help fund ‘big ticket’ purchases such as stock or new equipment, a credit card to cover smaller cashflow shortages, or a bank account to keep track of all your business transactions, you’ll have plenty of attractive offers to sift through.So to help you shop around, here are our editorial picks for top business loans, bank accounts and credit cards available to Australian businesses right now. Read on for a snapshot of their key features.

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Commbank westpac anz nab release low rate business loans under sme recovery scheme are you eligible

CommBank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB release low rate business loans under SME Recovery Scheme: are you eligible?

In a bid to support small business recovery after JobKeeper, all of Australia’s big four banks have started offering low rate business loans of up to $5 million since April 1.These loans are available through the government’s new SME loan guarantee scheme, which has been expanded and extended for the second time since its introduction back in March last year. Now in its third phase, the scheme is open to the following businesses:

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Reserve bank interest rates

RBA leaves cash rate unchanged in April as economy continues to claw back

The Reserve Bank of Australia kept official interest rates at 0.1% in its April meeting this afternoon, as Australia’s economic recovery proceeds with only the occasional minor drawback.In his post-meeting statement, RBA governor Philip Lowe said current policy settings have helped prop up employment and aggregate demand, but there are still uncertainties regarding the outlook.“GDP increased by a strong 3.1% in the December quarter, boosted by a further lift in household consumption as the health situation improved. The recovery is expected to continue, with above-trend growth this year and next,” he said.“Nevertheless, wage and price pressures are subdued and are expected to remain so for some years. The economy is operating with considerable spare capacity and unemployment is still too high.”The yield on the 3-year Australian Government bonds also remained unchanged, along with the parameters of the Board’s QE program and term funding facility.“The initial $100 billion government bond purchase program is almost complete and the second $100 billion program will commence next week,” Lowe said.“Beyond this, the Bank is prepared to undertake further bond purchases if doing so would assist with progress towards the goals of full employment and inflation.”RELATED: Autumn property, how to stay ahead as the auction market heats upUltra-low interest rates have lit a fire under the residential property market, with CoreLogic’s home value index climbing 2.8% in March — the fastest rate of growth recorded in 32 years. While the RBA and regulatory bodies are alert to runaway prices, they haven’t shown much interest in stemming the tide. At a recent economic forum, APRA chair Wayne Byres said the regulator has no mandate to target housing affordability.Instead, it will be keeping a close eye on lending standards, particularly the share of high LVR and high debt-to-income loans. So far, it maintains that the rate of risky lending has not strayed from historical averages.The drop in the number of mortgage deferrals is also promising. The latest figures from APRA show that as of 28 February, only 0.5% of all loans - or $14 billion worth - was still deferred.For the RBA, a booming property market isn’t so much a problem to be contained but a necessary ingredient to fast track economic growth and deliver inflation within the 2 to 3% target range. Lowe once again ruled out an increase to the cash rate until that target has been reached, saying the labour market must first improve enough to start generating wage increases. That means variable rates will remain low for some time yet, but a different picture is emerging on the fixed rate front. Last month, a number of banks quietly increased 4- and 5-year fixed rates in response to rising funding costs.That included the Commonwealth Bank, which lifted 4-year rates on its Fixed Rate Wealth Package by 20 basis points. It now comes with 2.19% p.a. fixed rate (3.73% p.a. comparison rate*).More increases to long-term fixed rates are expected in the coming months as banks prepare for the end of the RBA’s term funding facility later this year.For more information about mortgage and lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And to see where interest rates currently sit, visit our home loan comparison page.

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Banks cut fixed rates to record breaking lows

Banks cut fixed rates to record breaking lows

There’s great news for Australian borrowers and refinancers this month with a continuing downward trend in home loan interest rates driven by lenders cutting fixed home loans to all new record-breaking lows.

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April 2021 financial checklist

April 2021 Financial Checklist

It’s officially April folks! Which means we’re in for an extra busy month. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a checklist of all the things you’ll need to get through April Fool’s Day, Easter, the school holidays and all the other shenanigans that April will bring.

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Amex shop small campaign is back in 2021 with a twist

Amex Shop Small campaign is back in 2021 - with a twist

If you’re an American Express customer and a big fan of the Shop Small campaign, we’ve got good news for you. Today the credit card giant has announced that not only is the Shop Small campaign back in business, it will now be a year-long movement. Just in case you weren’t aware, Amex’s Shop Small campaign is all about encouraging Aussies to do their bit and shop from small businesses. And given the year the country has just had, many small businesses are gearing up for a prosperous 2021. “The resilience that Australian small business operators have shown throughout the Covid crisis has been extraordinary,” said vice president of small and medium enterprises for American Express Australia, Lisa Belcher. “And it’s encouraging to see consumers, big business and government rallying to back the sector, but now is not the time for complacency,” said vice president of small and medium enterprises for American Express Australia, Lisa Belcher. “That’s why Shop Small is returning all-year-round, to remind shoppers that if they want to see these businesses survive they have to take action and spend with them regularly.” To take part in the Shop Small initiative, Amex customers will need to save the Shop Small offer to their eligible card and shop at participating online and in-store small businesses where they will earn an extra three points per dollar spent until 31 March 2022 (up to 40,000 extra points).

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