This week in banking - Scams rise amid COVID-19 crisis and 5 other things you don’t want to miss!

Polly Fleeting

Thursday 09 April 2020

  • Aussie consumers falling victim to scams during COVID-19 outbreak: here’s what you need to know 
  • ABS data confirms Australian businesses hit hard by financial impact of Coronavirus 
  • Purchasing a property, is now the right time to do it? 
  • How working from home can add over $500 to your energy bill every 6 months
  • This month’s round up of where personal loan rates sit now 
  • Happy Easter in isolation! Here’s some ways to keep you entertained and financially fit

All in this week’s banking recap.

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Coronavirus scams on the rise: why MyState Bank says you need to remain alert 

While most of the community is banding together during the outbreak of COVID-19, the unfortunate truth is that scammers are using it as a time to prey on the vulnerable. 

At the end of March, the ACCC revealed that its Scamwatch website had received over 90 different reports of Coronavirus-related scams hitting Aussie shores since the beginning of January 2020. 

In response, MyState Bank has urged consumers to be vigilant online, and especially aware of ‘phishing scams’ which involve scammers sending what appears to be “official” information about COVID-19 via email or text message. 

Among these scams is the “super scam” which involves scammers obtaining personal information or receiving payment of fake fees for those applying for early access to their superannuation. So far, the ACCC has received 87 reports since the government announced its early superannuation access measures in March. 

Read full article: MyState Bank: Aussies urged to remain alert as scammers look to exploit COVID-19 outbreak to find out how you can spot phishing scams! 

Businesses feeling the financial blow of Coronavirus, ABS data confirms 

The latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed what we already knew - Aussie businesses are feeling the financial pinch due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Tuesday’s official numbers showed that a whopping 66% of Australian businesses have seen less turnover or cash flow since the start of the Coronavirus crisis. 

In addition, the data also revealed that 47% of businesses have had to adjust their regular working arrangements - which includes switch to a “working from home” structure, cutting staff work hours and placing some employees on leave. 

Read full article: ABS data reveals extent of COVID-19 financial hit to Australian businesses for a full rundown of what financial support is out there for struggling businesses. 

Is now the right time to purchase your first home?

While a pandemic may not seem like the right time to dive into the property market, it actually could be. 

Last month, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut the official cash rate to a record low 0.25%, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

But what does this mean for potential first home buyers? Well, home loan rates have dropped to historic lows - with some fixed rates slipping below 2.00%. 

Mozo’s Home Loan Expert, Steve Jovcevski, says that now could be the time to buy… as long as you tick the right boxes. 

“If you have a stable income and your job is secure, it is absolutely a great time to buy for the first time in years. If prices drop in the future and you come across someone who’s really desperate to sell, you could snag a serious bargain.” he said. 

Read full article: Risky business or perfect timing, is now the right time to purchase a property? to check out what lending criteria banks have put in pay as the Coronavirus crisis continues. 

Mozo research finds working from home can add $527 on your energy every 6 months 

As working and schooling from home becomes the new norm for Aussies across the country, energy bills are starting to skyrocket. 

In fact, recent Mozo data found that Australian households may have to cough up an extra $527 every six months, which comes out to an extra $88 each month and is a massive 50% increase on the average energy bill! 

Plus, as we head towards the cooler months of winter, once you add the cost of heating it may bump up to an astounding $1,582.  

Read full article: Working from home adds an extra $527 to your energy bill every 6 months, says Mozo for a breakdown of the real cost of working from home. 

Where do personal loan rates sit this month: here’s our roundup 

On Wednesday, Australian Military Bank cut one of its personal loan rates to the lowest level in the Mozo database. 

Its Unsecured Green Loan has been chopped down to a low 3.15% (4.10% comparison rate*), but Australian Military Bank isn't alone in slashing rates. 

Last month, Bank First, loans.com.au, Qudos Bank, Goldfields Money and CommBank dropped at least one of their personal loan rate offerings. 

Read full article: Personal loan rate cut roundup: where they sit this month for a full rate-by-rate rundown of what new deals are on offer. 

Happy Good Friday! How to kick off your Easter the financially-savvy way  

Your Easter weekend is likely looking a little more low-key this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to get yourself ahead of the game financially. 

Because you won’t be heading over to grandma’s or ducking down the coast, it’s likely you might save a little coin this long weekend. 

So here are some tips on what to do with extra your bucks, as you stay at home over Easter: 

Read full article: How to put your spare Easter budget to good use while in self-isolation for a deeper look on what you can get up to this year! 

Want to check out some term deposits to stash your Easter nest egg? Take a look at the table below!

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