Energy poverty, Frollo, mortgage hunting: This week’s best banking news

two seniors worried about paying their energy bill
  • Energy poverty: how Covid-19 has made older Aussie struggle with their energy bills 
  • Frollo gives its app a revamp and integrates open banking features 
  • 5 questions to ask when mortgage hunting 
  • How to get your finances in order as you head back to work

All in this week’s best banking news recap: editor’s pick.  

Older Aussies struggling with energy bills due to Covid-19 pandemic 

New research from The Conversation has revealed that older Australians who rely on the age pension are struggling the most with energy bills. 

The stats showed that this age bracket had been thrown into what they call “energy poverty”, as many face energy bills that are 50% higher now than in 2019. 

As a result, many seniors have cut back on both essential and non-essential purchases. Plus they are also attempting to save energy by reducing how many showers they took or switching off heaters or air conditioners. 

This is not just exclusive to the older bracket of Aussies. In fact, recent numbers from the Australian Energy Regulator showed that long-term electricity debt for residential customers hiked up to $124.5 million from 31 March, 2020 to 2 November, 2020. 

Read full article:
Covid-19 continues to create ‘energy poverty’ for older Australians to find out what rebates and energy bill payment help is available. 

Frollo introduces new app features and open banking integration 

Last week, fintech budgeting app Frollo gave itself a makeover. 

Currently, Frollo allows its 120,000 users to view their bank account, savings account, credit cards, loans, investments and superannuation all in the same app. It’s  a way to provide users with a whole view of where they stand financially. 

The updates made to the platform are as follows: 

  • In-app customisable budgets 
  • Better searching and filtering 
  • Financial goal tracking 

In addition, the fintech continues to integrate Consumer Data Right (CDR), an open banking service that allows consumers to share their financial data more easily, by making it available to Android users. Previously, this feature was only available to those using iOS.  

Read full article:
Frollo app gets a makeover with new features, further open banking integration for more on what’s new with Frollo. 

5 questions to ask as you shop around for a home loan

hand showing 5 things to ask about your home loan

With home loan approvals on the rise and more first home buyers getting a foot in the market, knowing what you want for your mortgage is as crucial as ever. 

So what should you be looking for? Here are 5 critical questions to ask on your search: 

1. Fixed or variable rate?
This will determine what your repayments are and whether they are subject to change as the market moves. The average 2-year fixed rate on the Mozo database currently sits at 2.34%, while the average variable rate is 3.30%. 

2. What about features?
Look for things like offset accounts, extra repayments, redraw facilities, repayment holidays, home loan top-ups etc. Find the features that suit you and the way you want to pay down your debt. 

3. What is a comparison rate?
Be sure to consider the comparison rate when you are weighing up your home loan options. This rate includes the headline rate as well as any extra fees or charges you may face. 

4. Are there any fees?
Check the additional fees you’ll need to pay on top of your regular repayments. While a loan may have a low interest rate when it comes with fees, they may outweigh what you save on the lower rate. So crunch the numbers! 

5. How do I get approved for a home loan?
Along with having all your documents and evidence of income/spending in order, you need to make sure you have a healthy credit score. This is a reflection of any borrowing you have done before and how well you paid off what you owed. The better your score the more likely you are to be approved. 

Read full article:
Shopping for a home loan in 2021: 5 questions to ask to compare home loan options now. 

Back to work blues? Kick things into gear and get financially motivated for the year ahead 

Finally hit you that holiday season is over and it's time to get back to work? You’re not alone. 

But before you let yourself drown in the back to work blues, put your energy into making 2021 a killer year for your finances! Here’s some tips on how to do it: 

  • Start your journey to achieve your financial goals in February: Let yourself off the hook if you took January to enjoy the sunshine and chill - we don’t blame you. But make sure you use the turn of the month to reset yourself and figure out what your financial goals are, and stick to them! 
  • Set yourself up for the road ahead: Financial fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. So take the time to set yourself up by creating a budget, calculate what you can afford, improve your credit score and educate yourself on what financial products might help you. 
  • Switch to the right financial products: Whether it’s a high interest savings account to boost your savings or a debt consolidation loan to help clear your debt, ensure you have the right tools in your financial toolbox. Switching to a more competitive option could keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket rather than in a bank’s. 
  • Review your plan regularly: Setting yourself up for financial success is all about trial and error. If something isn’t working, change it. Make sure you allow yourself to be flexible so you have the best chance of improving your money know-how throughout the year. 

Read full article: Back to work? Get your finances in order for the year ahead for a deep-dive into these handy tips! 

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