July’s financial wrap up

A lot happened in the first month of the new financial year. Our coldest month reignited the energy price debate, the property market continued to prove problematic and we welcomed a new era of banking.

Catch up on July’s biggest takeaways below:

If you’re looking to get into the property market…

The knock-on effects of APRA’s tightened regulations continue to be felt with BOQ the latest lender to announce a 0.40% increase in its interest-only rates, effective as of August 8th. The bad news for investors continued when it was reported that these interest-only rate hikes have seen in a decline in investment lending activity.

Meanwhile, Tic Toc home loans launched as Australia’s best time-saving lender. Backed by Bendigo and Adelaide Banks, the new kid on the block boasts a fully automated, online mortgage process providing a speedy 22-minute turnaround on applications.

According to Mozo’s July Banking Roundup, the market leading lending variable rate is on offer in the form of Reduce Home Loans Rate Buster at a 3.44% variable rate.

The great energy debate rages on

Our coldest month of the year revealed that Aussies are pretty fed up with their electricity plans. According to the bi-annual Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey from Energy Consumers Australia, 52% of Aussies rated their electricity plans as either ‘neutral’ or ‘negative’, ranking it in last place among other banking products and utilities.

While Aussies aren’t too pleased with their current energy prices, we’re certainly a loyal bunch. A Mozo survey revealed that when faced with surging energy prices, 42% of people attempt to cut back on their energy use but only 13% of those would consider switching providers - despite the opportunity to save up to $1,086. If you’re keen to save on your energy bill, check out Mozo’s energy comparison tool.

If your term deposit is maturing…

If you’re a savvy saver and your term deposit has just matured it may be a chance to look around for a better deal. While the general trend towards term deposit rate cuts continued, July saw some positive changes for medium to long term deposit rates.

The biggest news in this space came when ANZ bucked the trend, boosting rates on 1, 2 and 3 year term deposits to 2.40%, 2.60% and 2.70% respectively. BOQ, BankVic and Gateway Credit Union also provided some relief adjusting some of their medium term options.

Despite these changes, ANZ have been able to bridge the gap to market leaders in the term deposit world. According to Mozo’s July Banking Roundup, the market leaders for long term deposits are:
  • 1 year: Teachers Mutual Bank / Goldfields Money
  • 2 years: Qudos Bank
  • 3 years: Qudos Bank
  • 4 years: People’s Choice / RaboDirect
  • 5 years: RaboDirect

The future has arrived

July brought with it the future! Well, sort of. For the first time ever card payments overtook cash transactions with contactless methods such as PayWave and PayPass the driving force behind the plastic surge.

The digital revolution has also seen worldwide mobile banking double in the last two years, according to a report from App Annie. The shift to mobile banking and plastic transactions have seen some big banks respond. Westpac have moved to close a number of its traditional branches with ANZ introducing its first ever cashless branch in Brisbane.

If you’re a small business owner…

American Express has looked to extend its reach into small businesses this month after partnering with Commbank and promising to roll out merchant fee reductions. The US giant also rolled out its new Business Explorer card with a relatively low 16.99% interest rate for small business owners.

At the same time, NAB have introduced an unsecured $50,000 overdraft option for small business owners as part of its QuickBiz initiative. The feature aims to provide timely funds for SMEs at a competitive 14.25% variable interest rate. Check out the pros and cons of business overdrafts here.

RBA holds firm and the AUD strengthens

Despite lenders continuing to shift rates, the RBA opted to keep interest rates on hold at 1.5% during August.

The Aussie dollar also recorded two-year highs during July but looks unlikely to jump the US80c hurdle. So if you’re planning to travel, now is a good time to lock in a tidy exchange rate as well as check out Mozo’s travel hub for tips and advice for travelling on a budget.