This week in banking - AUD bounces back and 5 other things you don’t want to miss!

Polly Fleeting

Friday 01 May 2020

  • Aussie dollar bounces back amid COVID-19 restrictions ease 
  • 3 things we learn from the ACCC interim report 
  • AAMI offers free roadside assistance to coronavirus frontline workers for the rest of 2020
  • First Home Loan Deposit Scheme: 1,000 CommBank customers already bought a property 
  • Here’s where to find free financial counselling services around Australia 
  • Westpac introduces Apple Pay to customers 

All in this week’s banking recap. 

Man doing a backflip - Aussie dollar bounces back 

As coronavirus restrictions ease, the Aussie dollar makes a comeback

Like many Aussies, our currency has gone through some trying times. But now it’s making its comeback. 

On Wednesday at 10.30am, AUD was trading just above 0.65 US cents, compared to March where it fell below the 0.60 mark. 

The dollar originally took a nosedive after investor panic around coronavirus caused a rush towards safe currencies, such as USD. 

However, mid-week, the Aussie dollar outperformed other currencies such as the Euro (EUR), the British Pound (GBP) and the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). 

Read full article: Aussie dollar rebounds as coronavirus restrictions ease to find out what this could mean for your future international money transfers. 

ACCC interim report: here’s what we learnt 

On Monday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released the Home Loan Price Inquiry, which looked into home loan pricing offered by the big four banks. 

Currently, Australia’s big four account for around 80% of the home loan market share. Here’s what we found out from the ACCC’s report: 

Banks place high priority on profitability (which is no surprise really).

There’s a big difference between headline and discounted rates - if you’re not getting a discounted rate you’re missing out. 

Staying loyal to the big four doesn’t pay - new customers had a mortgage rate 26 basis points lower on average than existing customers. 

Read full article: 3 quick takeaways from the ACCC interim report on home loan pricing and check out what ACCC Chair Rod Sims said about the findings. 

Coronavirus frontline workers rewarded, as AAMI offers them free roadside assistance for 2020 

Popular car insurer AAMI has introduced a relief package specifically for the COVID-19 healthcare and frontline workers. 

As part of its parent company, Suncorp Group’s ‘Peace of Mind” package, AAMI has announced that it will offer free roadside assistance for the rest of 2020 to nurses, doctors, paramedics, firefighters and police officers. 

The offer is available across the country up until December 31, 2020, plus it is available to both AAMI and non-AAMI customers. 

Read full article: AAMI offers free roadside help to frontline workers for rest of 2020 and see what road side assistance covers. 

1,000 CommBank customers have snapped up properties under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme 

One of the big four hit a big milestone this week, with 1,000 of its customers securing a home through the inaugural First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.  

The scheme launched at the beginning of this year and is set to help 10,000 Aussie first home buyers get into the property market sooner. 

This week, CommBank proved that the scheme was working, as not only did they help an additional 2,400 customers secure a place on the new program, 1,000 customers have already bought a property. 

And for those yet to find a home, extensions will be granted with the deadline to enter a contract of sale pushed back by 90 days. 

Read full article: 1,000 CommBank customers have already bought property using First Home Loan Deposit Scheme to find out what CBA group executive retail banking services Angus Sullivan said about the stats. 

Hit financial trouble and need to have a chat about it? Here’s where to find free counselling services to help you 

COVID-19 has hit Aussies’ finances in a number of different ways. But if you are feeling low or stressed about your current situation, there’s always someone there to lend an ear if you need it. 

According to survey data conducted by the ABC, more than one million Australians are out of work due to the pandemic, so the access to free financial counselling could be more crucial than ever. 

Where can you find such services? Here’s a roundup:

  • The National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 077.
  • The Rural Financial Counselling Service 1300 771 741. 
  • Small Business Bushfire Financial Counselling Support Line: 1800 413 828. 
  • Find a Financial Counsellor map: online website. 

Read full article: Where to find free financial counselling services in Australia for an in-depth look at what each service has to offer. 

Westpac jumps on board and says ‘hey’ to Apple Pay 

This week, the last of the big four banks, Westpac, has announced it will offer its customers Apple Pay. 

Previously, the bank only offered other digital wallet options. And since ANZ introduced Apple Pay in 2017, Westpac held off, until now. 

Westpac chief executive of the consumer division David Lindberg said the introduction came about due to the shift in spending behaviour as a result of COVID-19 social restrictions.  

“We have seen a significant increase in customers using digital banking in recent weeks as more Australians stay at home. With the introductions of Apple Pay, it will now be even easier for customers to pay for goods and services in stores, via apps or online without the need for a card or wallet,” Lindberg said. 

Read full article: Westpac becomes the final big bank to offer Apple Pay for more information on what is forecasted for the future of digital payments. 

Want to see what other debit cards offer digital wallet options? Check out the table below!

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