Buy now pay later giant Afterpay and major bank Westpac have announced they'll be joining forces. As part of the Westpac Group’s new digital bank-as-a-service platform, Afterpay will introduce savings accounts and cash flow tools to its customers. Back in November of last year, Westpac said it would invest in the digital banking platform as part of its full year results and this appears to have now come to fruition. Chief executive Peter King said fintech innovation is reshaping the way Aussies bank and how the traditional bank needs to keep up. “Our new digital banking platform is part of our long-term strategy to support this trend and better respond to changing customer needs,” he said. “The platform allows us to combine our banking experience with the innovation of our partners to support new customer experiences. We look forward to working with Afterpay to deliver new products and services.”
We talk a lot about getting a ‘top rate’ or ‘good deal’ here at Mozo. But with uncertainty – financial and otherwise – plaguing most of 2020, the line between ‘good’ and ‘less-than-good’ in personal finance is becoming a little blurry.This is particularly evident in savings account interest rates. At the end of May, we were disheartened to see leading accounts in Mozo’s database dropping ongoing savings rates below 2.00%. At the time, the average ongoing rate sat at 0.74%.Succeeding months had similar results, with the average rate tracked by Mozo slowly zig-zagging downwards.Now, as we sneak across the halfway point of October, it’s clear that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The average ongoing rate in our database is 0.58%, with many of the higher rates sitting closer to the 1.50% mark.So, to help keep everyone’s spirits up and continue striving to find that lauded ‘good deal’, we’ve mapped out the lay of the savings account land.
From smaller crowds to limited hugs, there's no doubt Christmas will look anything but traditional this year. And according to new research from market researcher, IBISWorld, Aussies aren’t looking to spend big either this festive season. IBISWorld found that Christmas retail spending is expected to decline across certain areas, such as electronic goods (-2.7%), pharmaceutical and cosmetic goods (-1.5) and department stores (-1%).“Although many households are likely to receive a cash injection from the recent Federal Budget, there is a high likelihood that these funds will be saved rather than spent, providing little help to the ailing retail sector”, said IBISWorld senior industry analyst, Yin Yeoh.“Consumer electronics retailing is expected to be 2.7% lower this December, relative to last Christmas. Department store turnover is expected to be 1.0% lower, at $2.8 billion.” But while we might not be splurging on flashy gifts for our friends and family, grocery and liquor spending is expected to increase by 2.8% and 3.6%, respectively. “Families are expected to go all-out on their Christmas feasts this year, with many Australians celebrating their ability to reunite with family after states reopen borders and ease social distancing regulations,” said Yeoh.Unsurprisingly, online spending will also grow by 6.4% in the 2020/21 financial year, as more households make the effort to shop around to get a better deal and reap the benefits of home delivery. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) will also be a popular payment method among households, as more Aussies are expected to ditch their plastic to avoid holiday debt. “Mozo research shows that Aussies are taking steps to eradicate their debt during the pandemic, so it’s not surprising to see that Buy Now, Pay Later usage will surge during the holiday season,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont. This research correlates with recent research by BNPL platform, OpenPay, which found that almost a quarter of Aussies in Sydney and Melbourne are using BNPL to manage their spending during the pandemic.
On the 27th of June, my boyfriend got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. And like any young woman who grew up watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’, my mind was already racing with wedding ideas. But in between the overwhelming messages from friends and family was news reports about the COVID-19 pandemic spreading, with cases hitting record numbers. Although I have no plans of getting married this year, I knew I had to move fast to secure a venue, as COVID-19 restrictions were forcing couples to push their weddings until next year. And even though I didn’t like the idea of rushing, I can understand why a couple would choose to delay what’s come to be known as ‘the happiest day of your life’ - coming from a big family myself.According to wedding planning website Easy Weddings, around 60% of couples have already cancelled or postponed their 2020 wedding due to COVID-19.Other couples, however, are choosing to embrace this unusual time and are committed to walking down the aisle. While motivations for doing this can vary between couples, one reason could be the unexpected financial benefit. This report will take a deep dive into what the wedding industry looks like in 2020 and why couples are using COVID-19 as their opportunity to host a refined version of their dream day.
If the last month of savings interest rate cuts has proved anything, it’s that even rate-leaders aren’t immune to severe reductions. As of today, the Up Saver Account has one of the three top maximum savings rates in Mozo’s database at 1.60%. From 1 November, it’ll drop 50 basis points (bp) to a less-than-inspiring 1.10%.However, it’s still sitting ahead of the average ongoing savings rate, which has plummeted to 0.59%.* While it is the largest reduction we’ve recorded in recent months, it isn’t a total outlier. In September Mozo’s data team saw other considerable cuts like Bank of Sydney slashing 45bp from its BOS Saver base rate and Beyond Bank's 35bp cut to its Purple Bonus Saver.Up customers will still need to make five successful card purchases each month through the linked Everyday Account to access the new rate, but they won’t receive the former 0.10% base rate if they fail to do so.One number which has increased is the account limit for earning interest. From November, it’ll jump from $50,000 to a tidy $1 million. RELATED: RBA keeps interest rates at 0.25% in October.
Young Australians are turning to their families to help weather the COVID-19 recession, with Mozo research finding that 30% of Australian parents have provided financial assistance to their adult children since the crisis began.“COVID-19 has been a financially devastating time for many Australians, with younger generations particularly hard hit as they’re more likely to be in customer-facing or service related jobs, or just starting out in their career,” said Kirsty Lamont, Mozo Director.“It’s only natural that parents want to step in to help struggling adult children, and to date, parents have contributed a whopping $26.8 million to their offspring since the virus hit Australian shores.”While cooking meals and buying groceries have been the most popular ways for parents to lend a hand, one in ten parents admitted to paying their children’s bills, with the average weekly spend coming in at $130.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on your savings account interest rate over the last six months, it’ll come as no surprise that rate cuts continued in September.Mozo’s data team saw 65 interest rate reductions last month, which brought the average ongoing rate down 3 basis points (bp) from last month to 0.61%.*
In July, Mozo conducted research into how the spending habits of Aussies had changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that 25% of Aussies have undergone a financial ‘wake up call’ and are now taking steps to abolish debt, while 39% said they would be spending less money on non-essential things, like eating out. And according to new research from Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) platform Openpay it looks like that money savvy mindset has set in.Openpay found that 70% of Aussies are spending more consciously than they were before COVID-19. More than half (60%) of Sydneysiders and Melbournians have even limited themselves to ‘essential spending’ only. Some of the purchases Aussies are choosing to delay include, upgrading or replacing furniture and home renovations and improvements.
Ethical and sustainable investments are the way of the future, according to the Responsible Investment Association of Australia (RIAA).The group has released new research showing responsible investment funds outperform their mainstream competitors across 1, 3, 5 and 10-year timeframes. This includes analysis of fund stability during the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.“The pandemic has resulted in significant economic turmoil, severely impacting many people’s livelihoods and financial markets globally. However it’s become clear that responsible investors are ahead of the game,” RIAA chief executive, Simon O’Connor said.“They are identifying the key themes influencing markets and returns, which helps them to better navigate turbulent times, avoid the biggest risks and capture more opportunities” The RIAA report assessed Australia’s responsible investment market in 2019. It found over $1 billion in assets under ethical management, which was a rise of 17% from 2018. This kind of investment now represents 37% of more than $3 trillion in Australia’s professionally managed assets.O’Connor said companies and investments simply won’t thrive in the future if issues like climate change, health, working rights, diversity and corruption aren’t taken into account. “Investors are fast realising that consideration of these issues provides more informed investment decisions, such as valuation and asset allocation," he said.RELATED: Accessed your super early? Here’s how to rebuild your nest egg.