First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, Qantas refund, tax tips: This week’s banking news

  • The second round of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme less than a week away
  • Qantas refund: Savvy ways to spend it 
  • Tax pitfalls to avoid when lodging your return 
  • More rental properties on the market: what it means for property investors
  • Small businesses slash ‘tap and go’ fees 
  • Aussies’ fresh savings habits benefit the environment, says Gateway Bank 

All in this week’s banking recap.

Spots to open for second round of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

On July 1, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme will offer 10,000 more spots to Aussie first home buyers. 

The government scheme allows borrowers to secure a property for a deposit as little as 5% without having to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). LMI is usually required for any deposits lower than 20%. 

The first round of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme launched on January 1 this year. So far, 5,500 first home buyers have used the scheme to buy a home, while the other 4,500 have secured a place on the program but are still looking for a property. 

But those numbers are about to change. Come Wednesday, 10,000 spots will be opened up for more eager Aussies looking to buy their very first home.

Read full article: First Home Loan Deposit Scheme: How to secure your spot for some tips on what you should be doing to put yourself ahead of the game.

Smart ways to spend your Qantas refund 

Last week, Qantas made the decision to refund customers whose flights had been cancelled as a result of travel restrictions. 

This came after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) COVID-19 Taskforce requested that the airline offer the option of full refunds rather than just travel credits. 

So if you have a Qantas refund coming your way, here are some savvy ways to use it: 

  • Travel in your own state 

  • Treat yourself to something little (but don’t blow it all at once) 

  • Make a tax deductible donation 

  • Pay off your bills or existing debts

  • Open a high interest savings account 

  • Pop it in a term deposit 

If you paid for your Qantas flight with points, you are also eligible for a similar refund.  

Read full article: How to spend your Qantas refund wisely for an in-depth look on what to do with your refunded cash. 

Tax pitfalls: what not to do when lodging your return 

Tax time is around the corner and you know what that means! It’s time to get ready to lodge your tax return. 

In the 2017-18 financial year, almost nine million Aussie taxpayers claimed a total of $21.7 billion on work-related expenses. And this year, with the COVID-19 forcing many people to work from home, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) expects this number to grow.

The ATO’s assistant commissioner, Karen Foat says that sometimes Aussies face delays or even extra charges, due to silly mistakes they make on their tax return. 

Here are two major things she says to remember when it comes to lodging a tax claim: 

1. Link the ATO to your MyGov (sooner rather than later)

2. Don’t lodge your return before you have ALL your income information (you may need to wait till the end of July) 

Read full article: Tax tips: Avoid these pitfalls when lodging your return to find out what happens if you make a mistake on your tax return. 

Advertised rentals rise: what’s next for property investors? 

New data shows that the number of advertised rental properties in both Sydney and Melbourne has jumped up again. 

Corelogic’s latest numbers revealed that the total portion of rental stock advertised in Sydney over the month of May was 4.5%, up by 0.2% from April. 

And Melbourne showed an even bigger increase, with a jump from 3.2% to 3.6% over the same timeframe.

So what does it mean for Aussies looking to purchase an investment property? Mozo property expert Steve Jovcevski says that investors should be prepared to see less return on rental properties. 

“While international travel restrictions won’t be in place for ever, investors should factor in the potential for reduced rental returns and even the possibility of the property remaining vacant for as long as 4-6 weeks - at least in the short-term,” he said.  

Read full article: Property investment: More rentals in Sydney and Melbourne, what next for investors? for more on the latest rental market stats. 

Eftpos says small businesses can stop forking out so much on ‘tap and go’ fees

Digital payment giant Eftpos says that small businesses could save up to 40% on contactless payments by routing transactions through Eftpos system rather than Visa or Mastercard. 

It’s a method called least-cost routing (LCR). LCR applies to Australia’s debit cards that feature the ‘eftpos’ logo as well as Visa paWave and MasterCard PayPass cards.  

The method stops card providers from processing contactless payments through Visa or Mastercard (which often charge up to four times higher than standard Eftpos). 

Read full article: How small businesses can slash their 'tap and go' fees and see what Eftpos chief executive, Stephen Benton has to say. 

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Australia’s new savings habits are helping the environment

With social distancing restrictions forcing many Aussies to stay at home over the last few months, many have adopted environmentally friendly habits. Whether by accident or not. 

A new report from Gateway Bank revealed that two-thirds of Aussies who adopted eco-conscious habits during “iso” first did so to save cash. 

Whether it’s growing a veggie patch, wasting less food, DIY home repairs or more conscious energy use, Australian families across the country not only are lightening their wallets but also doing their part to help the planet as well. 

“Australians are inherently resourceful and are using their time during lockdown to acquire new skills that can help them save money for the future,” Gateway’s chief executive, Lexi Airey said.

Read full article: Gateway Bank: Aussies' new savings habits are benefiting the environment for a dive into what you can do to save green! 

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