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By Kate Browne

Nothing unravels a blossoming relationship quite like a bad credit history. Seriously!

Ok I know what you’re thinking “yeah right sure finance lady, it’s not about how you look or how you come across personality-wise or even if you are a dog or cat person it’s all about your credit report…give me a break.” And well that might be true, bear with me…. If you are going on a date it just might be worth checking your credit report – as well as the mirror – before heading out the door.

Not convinced? Consider this. As a relationship starts getting serious, most of us will begin to share intimate personal details, our respective dating histories, deepest darkest thoughts and maybe even some plans for a future together. Yet despite this, Finder research shows there’s one particular detail that Aussie love birds are reluctant to divulge: their credit score.

You might be wondering “what even IS a credit score?” Let alone wanting to show it off to your lover. So put simply, your credit score is a number that lenders will look at to determine how risky you are as a borrower. It’s calculated based on your credit history and ranges from 0- 1,000 or 0-1,200 depending on the bureau you choose to access it through.

A “good” score ranges from 622 to 725, while an “excellent” one sits between 833 and 1,200. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved for financing.

On the flip side, a “poor” credit score sits below 600. Bad financial behaviour like defaulting on a loan or applying for too much credit will drag your score down. If you decide to apply for a homeloan together, the bank will take both credit scores into account when assessing your application. This means that if you have a good score but your partner has a dud score, your application may get knocked back.

So you can probably see how your credit score, while deeply unsexy, is really important if you and your other half want to start a life together. Yet despite this, just 17% of Aussies have considered the effect of their partner’s credit score on their own borrowing capacity. Whether we like it or not, money is a huge and important part of life, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of your partner’s financial situation early on. Discussing your partner’s credit history may not be the sauciest topic, but it could be one of the most important conversations you’ll have when starting out – especially if you’re planning to go the distance together. 

If you’ve had “the talk” and found that you or your partner’s score leaves a little to be desired, this doesn’t have to spell disaster. A bad credit score can be improved over time with a few simple changes to the way you manage your money. While the score won’t improve overnight the sooner you make some positive changes the sooner you will be on your way to financial improvement in the long term.

So where to start? The first thing to do is to check your credit score online, which you can do for free. You’ll not only find out what your credit score is, you’ll also receive a detailed history of any defaults or debts listed in your credit report. Also make sure all listings attributed to you are correct – you don’t want your score to be brought down by a system error.

Once you’ve checked your report, sit down with your partner and work out how much debt you’re in. If you have debt spread across multiple credit cards or loans, it’s a good idea to consolidate it all into a single loan to minimise fees and interest. This looks much better from a lender’s perspective as well.

Defaulting on payments can also hurt your score. Auto-repayments can prevent you from missing a payment (meaning you’re free to forget all about it). If you and your partner have recently moved in together, make sure all your personal details are up to date – you don’t want important things like bills being sent to the wrong address.

Finally, don’t keep applying for credit until things have improved. Lodging numerous credit applications can be a major red flag that you’re a financial risk. It’s also worth lowering your credit card limits if you can.

If you and your partner think your finances are too messy to manage (or neither of you are numbers people), then why not leave it to the professionals? A financial advisor or a mortgage broker can provide excellent advice on where you stand financially and can help you come up with a solution to improve the situation down the track. 

And most importantly, it’s not all doom and gloom. Just like leaving the toilet seat up or eating all the good leftovers, a bad credit score shouldn’t be a reason to ditch your partner just yet. As with any irritating habit, you can improve a bad credit score over time.

And while I’m definitely sure you  shouldn’t drop the credit score bomb on the first date (you totally need to find out if they are a cat or dog person first!) – or let’s face it, the second, third or fourth – it’s a good plan to bring up the finance “talk” within the first year. And I know, a conversation with your partner about their finances doesn’t exactly scream romance at first, you’ll totally give yourselves the best chance of a successful future together. And what could be sexier than that?

The post Undateable debt: Why it pays to know your partner’s credit score appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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Every day countries publish economic reports, meetings of Central Banks are held, as well as governors give speeches. These events usually occur at a scheduled time. To keep abreast of the upcoming events traders use an economic calendar where the time of their release and the degree of importance are displayed.

An important economic event can significantly change the market price of the asset in a matter of minutes. Traders respond to news reports in different ways. Some traders expect such news and recommend not to miss the opportunity to benefit, while others stop trading before the releases and wait for the market to calm down.

News traders try to predict the movement direction and the possible market response and place orders before publication in the direction the price is supposed to move. This approach brings maximum profit if the price movement matches the forecast. However, such a trading is risky.

How to read economic Forex calendar

The currency pair consists of two currencies. Each pair represents the market sentiment of two countries, the currencies of which are presented in this currency pair. For example, if we trade the EUR/USD currency pair, then we will be interested in economic events taking place in the Eurozone and the US.

The economic calendar is available free of charge on analytical resources and websites of forex brokers, including the official JustForex website.

What economic calendar columns mean:

  1. – indicates the date and time of the release.
  2. – displays how much time remains until the beginning.
  3. – contains the name of the upcoming event.
  4. – reflects the degree of importance of the event, measured by low, medium, high.
  5. – displays the previous value.
  6. – contains the forecasted value, what result analysts expect.
  7. – indicates the actual value at the time of their release.

Let’s consider the example of how to read economic calendar using figures of initial jobless claims.

The news will be published at 12:30, it will affect the US dollar and show the number of initial jobless claims. The previous figure was 229K. Analysts forecast that the figure will be 225.0K.

The actual figure has counted to 221K, which is lower than expected. The decrease of initial jobless claims indicates an improvement in the labor market and contributes to the growth of the dollar. The positive news is highlighted in green.

The impact of Forex news

News marked with Medium and High may significantly affect price movement. Such news can cause a sharp rise in price or make it fall. The following news influence the market the most:

  • change in key interest rates;
  • employment and unemployment changes;
  • inflation data;
  • consumer price indices;
  • economic growth of the country.

Regardless of whether the released information is bad or good, it creates additional volatility in the market. Forex market news drives the market. Good news creates an increased demand for an asset. It is believed that most of significant short-term fluctuations in the market occur on the news. At the same time, it helps traders to take decisions for successful trading at their forex broker (for instance, JustForex). The economic calendar contains everything the trader needs for fundamental analysis. It will also be useful for traders who avoid news price fluctuations to determine the time of the greatest volatility.

The post How to Use an Economic Calendar to Trade in Forex Markets? appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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When it comes to aboriginal funerals, it is an event that is highly valued by the Aboriginal people. Often, ceremonies related to funerals can go on for several days and even weeks. In more intense ceremonies, the children might even be absent from school in order to take part in these very valuable communal events. The ceremonies include multiple dances and songs, which have their varied structures and meanings. In order for all these take place, the families will surely incur expenses. This is where the importance of funeral planning comes into the picture.

Make a difference

As humans, we are always busy making one plan or another, especially when it has to do with everyday, weekly, monthly, or annual events that bring us success and happiness. A higher percentage of people never take the time to consider funeral planning, whether for themselves or their loved ones. Although it is not a pleasant topic for thought or discussion, a funeral is a significant part of everyday living and should be given due attention. This is especially true when it comes to the financial aspects of conducting funerals, which might put a whole lot of stress on your loved ones on top of their grief.

The importance of making funeral plans

There are several reasons why you should consider a funeral plan, these include but are not limited to the following;

  • It Reduces Financial Burdens: Especially if you happen to be the breadwinner of your household. Knowing how much you love your family, it would surely break your heart to allow them to be saddled with the financial burden of handling your funeral. On the other hand, buying funeral plans for other members of the family also eliminates the issue of funeral costs, which might just add to the grief the family is dealing with.
  • It Makes Cash Available: Most times, it takes weeks and months of paper work before the dependants of a deceased person can have access to the funds left behind by the deceased. This however, will not be an issue if there is a funeral plan in place. With the beneficiary’s demise, payment is usually made within 48 hours, leaving the family members with adequate cash to start the burial preparations without wasting any time.
  • It Helps Loved Ones Get Closure: In the aboriginal culture, giving a loved one a befitting funeral leaves the loved ones fulfilled. With funerals being a part of the grieving process, a deceased person’s loved ones are able to find closure knowing that their departed family member was given a befitting burial. With a proper funeral plan, a person’s loved ones can bid them a heart-warming goodbye.
  • Other Funeral Expenses Can Be Settled: Depending on the type of plan opted for, the payout might go a lot farther in helping the family cater for other related funeral expenses. Some of these expenses include but are not limited to transportation for guests, the ceremony, the headstone, and other relevant aspects.
  • Additional Support Is Made Available: A good number of companies go the extra mile to offer more than just financial assistance to a grieving family. There are a variety of other kinds of support which includes but are not limited to legal assistance, bereavement counselling and proper organising of the funeral. This way, the family members are able to heal quicker and better from the loss of their loved one.
  • Availability of Future Financial Support: With a good funeral plan, there might be the option for offering the bereaved family a set financial support for several months after the funeral. This option is available to anyone who happens to be the breadwinner of his or her family. With this fund, the family are able to offset bills and certain necessities like food, rent, school fees, etc. Even as they try to find their feet and move forward again as a family.
Conclusion

Understanding that, in most circumstances, people don’t know when they are going to take their last breath, it becomes important that adequate measures are taken to ensure that the people that are left behind are not unnecessarily saddled with financial obligations. Whether it is for you or a loved one, when funeral plans are put in place before hand, it saves your loved ones the stress of trying to figure out what their deceased family member would have wanted in terms of a proper funeral.

When you have a funeral plan in place, either for you or a loved one, you have invariably cushioned the family for that tough time of grieving. Although having such a plan might not reduce the pains of losing a loved one, it would surely make life easier for everybody involved. Making plans for your funeral is not just for the benefit of your loved ones, it is for your own peace of mind.

The post The Importance of Funeral Planning appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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Whether you are getting set to buy your first home or you are preparing to re-mortgage your home, it is important that you do so with the best deal available. You don’t need to be an expert in using a mortgage repayment calculator before you can find a great deal out there. Instead, you need to understand some of the steps that would help you towards having your home mortgaged at the best rates.

In order to avoid being ripped off, you need to take your time and compare mortgages from a few vendors. This needs to be done correctly, if you desire a good result. You should also understand that the type of mortgage you choose will go a long way to determine the rate you pay. Other factors that might impact on rates include your deposit, credit rating, and others. Listed below are some of the steps that would help you engage in successful and great comparison shopping. They are as follows:

  • Understand what you want; Before you take the first step of comparing prices, you should first determine what you actually want. Are you settling for a fixed rate mortgage or do you intend on going for a tracker mortgage? You should understand that since a fixed rate offers more security, the price tends to be higher than a tracker mortgage. It is your decision to make but guidance is available.
  • Compare related offers: In order to ensure that you get the best rates, whether you are proficient in using a mortgage payoff calculator or not, you should only compare related offers. Don’t compare the price of tracker mortgage from one vendor and go for fixed rate with another vendor. In doing this, you will only end up more confused and struggle to make an informed decision. Instead, make related comparisons. You should also know that even though your qualifications are not altered, different vendors will offer you different prices and terms. This is especially because they use varying business policies and models.
  • Opt for a Mortgage Broker: Most times, we just have to leave certain things for the professionals, including comparing quotes for a mortgage. With a broker, who is certainly more versatile with utilizing a bank mortgage calculator, you might just be able to land a great deal with a reputable lender. This broker acts like a middleman between you and the lender and depending on what you want, you can be matched with a lender that has loan products that expressly fit your home mortgage needs.
  • Go for Relevant Rates: One of the deciding factors when you are out there shopping for a residential mortgage is the amount you are able to deposit. This means that the rates you are offered when you are making a 30% deposit will definitely be better than the rates you will be offered when you are making a 10% or lesser deposit. When you understand this, you will surely not waste your time comparing quotes you will definitely not qualify for.
  • Work out your expenses: When you are comparing quotes for a mortgage, don’t just think about the mortgage deposit. There are other expenses you should be paying attention to as you get ready to use that simple mortgage calculator. Some of these expenses include but are not limited to solicitor’s fees, moving costs, property survey fees, etc. With this, you should be able to work out the level of deposit you can afford to put down.
  • Work out all costs related to the loan: In order to avoid any last minute surprises, you should take your time to work out every cost related to the mortgage loan. You want to know what you are getting into and as such, you should have a good knowledge of the monthly repayment amount, the interest rate, lender fees, and others.
  • Wrap it up: After you have made your comparisons, it is time to lock up your rates and get things wrapped up for good. Having made your calculations with the mortgage calculator, the next step is requesting a written “rate lock” from the potential lender. This is a form of written agreement that stipulates the interest rate, the interest price, and period of time it covers. With this lock-in, you are fully protected from any form of rate increase while your application is being processed. While some lenders go ahead and charge fees for the lock-in, others do it without any additional costs. It varies from one lender to the other.

If you have been holding back from applying for a home mortgage as a result of not understanding how to go about a mortgage comparison, you must have learnt a few things that might just help you land a great mortgage deal. There is no need to rush, take your time to gather as much information as possible, especially on full cost, rates, and duration. Still not sure you can do this on your own? Let a reputable broker help you out.

The post How to Compare Mortgages appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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That new car smell, the smooth ride, the envious look on your neighbour’s face, the empty savings account … hang on, that’s not right. There are certain things that make buying a new car worth it, and an empty bank account certainly isn’t one of them. But you know what? You really don’t need to spend as much as everyone else does for a brand new car and here’s how you go about it.

Time it right

The time of the year can be a massive factor in how much (or how little) you pay for your car. Choose to buy your car towards the end of the financial year, and you could secure yourself a very nice deal. You see, at this time of the year, dealers are eager to hit their sales targets for the year or to beat last year’s record. Whatever their motivation, there’s no doubt that they are much quicker to offer cut-price deals or throw in free extras at this time of year.

You can also get good deals in December as manufacturers push dealers to sell that year’s model before the calendar year ends. So think December and June for maximum savings.

Get a finance broker

You may have this idea that finance is not the best way to save money but the truth is that very few of us have enough money in our accounts to buy a car outright. And even if we did, taking that much out of your savings is a rather depressing thought.

No, your best option is to finance that new car and keep your nest egg intact. And saving money on your loan is a definite possibility if you use a broker like Stratton Car Finance. By using a broker, you could be cutting down costs right off the bat by avoiding dealer finance which is often overpriced and has unfavourable terms.

However, when you use a broker, they will find you a variety of competitive rates currently on the market giving you the option to pick and choose the product that suits you best. And once you have the finance arranged, you can head to the dealer safe in the knowledge that you have the financial side of the deal sorted. This puts you in position of power with regards to buying, and if you play your cards right, you may be able to squeeze a few add-ons as a deal sweetener. Something that a dealer might not do if they were doing you the ‘favour’ of arranging your finance.

Ask about demo models

Demo models are those cars that you take for a test drive, and that usually spend most of their time in the showroom. They are always tricked out with all the very best features, but at some point, the dealer will need to get rid of their demo model and bring in a new one. And that’s where you come in.

Ask the dealer if they have any demo models for sale. These cars offer incredible savings and often have very low kms on the clock. And while a decent demo model may not be as cheap as a base model, it will have all of those additional features so you’ll get way more bang for your buck.

Just be careful to check all handles, buttons, and levers as these will have quite a bit of wear and tear considering how many test drivers played around with them in the showroom.

So remember the next time you’re in the market for a new car – time it right, use a finance broker, and ask about the demo models. Use any one of these tips, and you should save a little money. Use all three, however, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can shave off the price of a new car. Maybe that leather interior you like so much is possible after all.

The post 3 money-saving tips for buying a new car appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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Last month I published an article about contactless payments and it seems like it’s a hot topics nowadays because Westpac released its Visa contactless payments statistics for 2017.

They claim that Visa payWave contactless payments increased to 325 million in 2017, which is a 25% uplift compared to 2016. There were 67 million more payments in 2017 than the year before.

In the first month of 2017, Visa reported more than 24 million contactless payments, which by the end of the year increased to over 33 million.

According to Westpac, contactless is the preferred payment method in over 90% of purchases and contactless generated more than 68% of the Westpac Visa cardholders’ total spend.

It’s also interesting to see that St.George Bank (which is owned by Westpac) has higher contactless usage rate than Westpac. The ratio of contactless payments was 95% for St.George Bank customers, while 81% for Westpac customers, which clearly shows the demographic differences between the two banks’ customers. Also, Westpac customers spend 40% more on contactless credit card payments than debit card payments, which shows that customers are comfortable to use contactless payment for more expensive purchases.

It seems like that the fast food industry is the leader in contactless payments (98%), followed by other kind of restaurants (96%), grocery shopping and discount stores (both 93%). Healthcare related payments had the lowest contactless ratio in 2017, only 59%.

There are quite a few brand and technology names in the contactless payments system but the two most widely used technologies in Australia are Visa payWave and Mastercard PayPass (a.k.a. Tap & Go).

I look forward seeing the 2018 report next year but there’s most likely an upper limit for contactless payments and they will never reach 100%.

Here’s a link to the Westpac contactless payments article.

The post Contactless payments statistics in Australia appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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Are you someone who absolutely hates how long it takes to make a transaction using a credit or debit card? Do you worry about card fraud a lot? If so, you will love contactless payment systems, which involve the use of contactless cards, stickers, key fobs, mobile devices, and wearable gadgets.

In a nutshell:

  • It is secure. You don’t need to hand over your card to the cashier. For the entire transaction, the card never leaves your hand.
  • It is fast. You don’t need to enter a PIN or leave a signature for purchases under $100.
  • It is easy. You just need to hold the card close to the terminal.

Contactless payments make life a tad easier for the average consumer. 

History

Contactless cards have been available in Australia since 2006 but it only started to gain traction in the last few years. From the 7.6 million cards issued in 2010, the number grew to 18 million in 2014. With more and more retailers accepting contactless payments, the total number of contactless cards in Australia should reach 33.9 million in 2019, Timetric predicts.

Contactless technology has existed for a while. In fact, it was first introduced in the’90s. ExxonMobil’s Speedpass was the first ever contactless payment system, and it launched in 1997. As you can expect, this technology was pretty revolutionary at that time. Motorists simply had to wave their Speedpass whenever they had to pay for their gas at participating Mobil stations.

Not long after Mobil introduced the tech, BPAY came up with a payment system that allowed users to transact through a financial institution’s telephone or online banking facility. This was launched the same year Speedpass was introduced.

By 2004, tech companies Sony and Philips introduced new technologies to the payment method. Along with the Near Field Communication Forum, they designed a system that brought more security to near-field payments. This paved the way for a variety of wireless payments, including Google Checkout, which came out in 2006.  In the following year, payWave made new strides as it introduced a nearly seamless payment experience.

Contactless payment was introduced to mobile devices in 2011. The first cellphones that supported MasterCard PayPass or Visa payWave came out that year. With the widespread acceptance of mobile phones, tech giants and financial institutions made further endeavours to develop contactless mobile payment systems. And today, you can see this technology expanding to wearable tech.

 

How do contactless payment cards work?

Payment cards come with an embedded chip and a radio antenna that transmit information to and from the checkout terminals. These make it possible for consumers to wave their cards over point-of-sale terminals.

Although the payment procedure is contactless, brushing against a terminal won’t make you accidentally pay for someone else’s purchases. The card has to be held a few centimetres away from the terminal for a second or two.

Any of these cards can be contactless:

  • Credit cards. If you use a credit card for contactless payments, transactions will reflect on your credit account. Even when you have a savings or transaction account linked to the card, payments will only reflect as credit. Hence, you will have to pay back the borrowed amount within a certain period.
  • Debit cards. Contactless payments through debit cards will draw money from your transaction or savings account. If you want to use the money you have in your bank account, insert the card into an EFTPOS machine at checkout and then select savings or transactions account.
  • Prepaid cards. Transactions can only be drawn from the specific amount that you stored on the card.

Before you can make your first contactless payment, you must activate the feature by completing chip and PIN transactions. This ensures that you are the owner of the card. This step also serves as a security measure to lessen the risk of fraud.

This method is absolutely convenient for you since you won’t need to swipe your card on the terminal. For payments that are at least $100, you won’t even have to enter a PIN code nor will you have to leave a signature. But for purchases that exceed that amount, you are required to do either of those.

To make a transaction, inform the merchant of your preferred method of payment. You just need to follow the onscreen prompts and check the amount. Finally, hold the card a few centimetres away from the terminal and wait for a confirmation message, a blinking light, or a beep. These indicate that the transaction was successful.

A few of the major financial institutions that offer contactless payment systems today are Visa, MasterCard, Barclays, and JPMorgan Chase.

 

Which technology is predominantly used for contactless payment system?

Mobile devices, smartphones, and contactless cards typically use radio-frequency identification (RFID) to make transactions secure.

Other platforms such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay use near field communication (NFC). These systems are built using a technique called tokenization.

Apple, in particular, requires all the parties involved in the transaction process such as banks and payment methods to create two elements:

  • Also called a device account number, this 16-digit token is unique to every device.
  • Encryption Key. This is what formulates single-use signatures or cryptograms. For every transaction, a new encryption key is generated after a fingerprint has been scanned. Apart from providing an extra security measure for the user’s identity, this allows you to double check the retailer involved and the total amount of the purchase.

Both of these elements are installed into a chip, which the device’s operating system is unable to access. During a transaction, the device’s unique token and corresponding cryptogram are sent to the payment provider who checks if both elements match up. When they do, the sale is authorised.

This technology is similar to the way banks protect online accounts by giving their patrons time-sensitive codes. Though hackers may steal a token, they can’t use it without a cryptogram.

 

Is my card a contactless card? How do you know your card is contactless?

Contactless cards are available from several card issuers. American Express, for example, offers the contactless feature on most of its consumer cards and a handful of business cards.

You can tell if your card is contactless by checking the back. If it comes with the chip and is marked with the universal contactless symbol, then it is contactless.

 

Will retailers add surcharges on your purchases?

Contactless transactions may cost retailers more especially when you choose to pay with credit instead of by savings or cheque. Not all merchants will add a surcharge for card payments, but those who do may add a surcharge fee that’s between 0.5% to 1.5% of the amount of a purchase.

Know that businesses are prohibited by law to charge excessive surcharge fees on debit, credit, and prepaid card transactions. If you catch merchants doing so, report them to the authorities.

 

How long does it take for a contactless payment to come out of your account?

Depending on the bank, the transactions may show up on your balance two or three business days after. Some take as much as four days to debit from your savings account. Others take even longer.

 

Are contactless cards safe?

Compared to magnetic stripe cards, contactless payment cards are more secure.

Contactless payment systems are considered to be safer than conventional payment methods because data transmitted by these cards are encrypted, which can only be accessed by authorized contactless readers.

As already mentioned,  you can hold your card the entire time you make the transaction. Entering your PIN isn’t even necessary. Encryption technology protects cardholders’ data, making it nearly impossible to steal information during transactions.

Plus, contactless terminals can only make one transaction at a time. Each transaction must be completed or cancelled before another can happen. That means there’s no way you can double up on payments.

Despite such safeguards,  there have been instances of fraudulent transactions in Australia.  Forbes said that an Android app can bypass the built-in security of cards, clone the card within seconds and use the information to carry out fraudulent purchases. Apparently, scanners that anyone can buy online can also steal cardholders’ information.

Additionally, anyone that has a near field communication (NFC) reader can access information like the card number and its expiration date simply by moving close to someone with a contactless card.

Banks will routinely look into your transactions to check if nothing is out of the ordinary. They will automatically inform your or send you an inquiry if anything sticks out.

If the card is lost or stolen, inform your bank so they can block the card.  They may shoulder the costs if any fraudulent transactions occur, that is, if you ensured the card’s protection and if you notified the bank about the loss right away.

Tap-and-go frauds have been low in Australia. It’s costing about 2¢ for every $100 transaction, which is only a third of the rate of card fraud in the international scene.

 

Wallet for contactless cards: Is it necessary?

You can take the extra measures to prevent data theft. To protect your information, you can wrap your card in tin foil before storing it in your wallet or you can line your wallet with foil. If you want to look less paranoid, you can always purchase an NFC blocking wallet.

But is all of this necessary?

If you ask Richard Koch, Head of Policy for the UK Cards Association, he would probably tell you that there’s nothing to worry about. A few years ago, when this method of theft first caught the attention of mainstream media, he said that the technology only manages to obtain the card number and its expiry date, which have always been easily attainable. After all, this information is displayed on the front of a card.

According to Koch, most retailers require more than a card number and expiry date to process a transaction. Merchants usually ask for the card security code or the cardholder’s address as a precautionary measure. Retailers who fail to do so will be liable if any fraudulent transactions occur.

 

How much can you spend on a contactless card?

Contactless purchases have what is called a floor limit, the maximum amount per transaction. In Australia, banks such as ANZ have a $100-floor limit. As long as purchases don’t go over that number, you won’t have to enter your PIN. But for transactions that exceed that limit, a PIN is required.

Since this system doesn’t really require a signature or a PIN verification, banks typically set these limits. The amount also varies between banks.

What happens if you lose a contactless card?

Though the transaction process is very simple, contactless cards are protected in several ways.

If it gets stolen, the thieves won’t be able to use it to their hearts’ content. Banks often set a limit on the number of times a card can be used or the value of the transactions before a cardholder is asked to use the chip and PIN process.

Notify your bank as soon as you can if your card is lost or stolen so they can block that card. In case of fraudulent transactions, you may not be held accountable for the losses incurred, given that you took the necessary precautions to protect the card and to inform the institution as soon as you noticed it was missing.

 

How can you disable the contactless payment feature of debit cards?

You can disable the contactless feature of your chip card. If you own a Mastercard Tap & Go or Visa payWave, you can disable them through NetBank and the CommBank app.

Using NetBank, here’s how you can disable the feature:

  • Log on to NetBank.
  • Access Settings.
  • Click on the Security option.
  • Select Card Settings.
  • Choose card.
  • Lock the contactless card payment feature.

Using the CommBank app, here’s how you can turn off the feature:

  • Log on to the CommBank app.
  • Select the Cards menu.
  • Choose which card.
  • Click on the Settings badge.
  • Turn off the feature under security settings.

When you feel like using this again, you can follow the same procedures, but of course, you must activate the contactless feature at the very last step.

Though you might currently be apprehensive to try this out, society might eventually influence you to make the shift.

Contactless payment systems are becoming increasingly popular especially in Australia. In fact, in a study conducted by the RFi Group in 2016, Australia had the highest use of contactless cards among the 16 nations surveyed, including the U.S. and the U.K.

This isn’t surprising since both private and government sectors are interested in the technology. Recently it has been confirmed that New South Wales, Queensland, and Perth are trialling this payment method on public transportation. Meanwhile, Adelaide and Victoria are considering mobile payment methods for public transportation.

If you happen to live in these areas, maybe you should participate in this trial. The commute should enlighten you on how convenient and easy contactless payments are.

Sources:

https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2018/01/31/public-transport-contactless-credit-card-app/

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactless_payment
  2. http://www.paymentscardsandmobile.com/debit-and-contactless-dominate-australian-payments-market/
  3. https://www.finder.com.au/history-of-money
  4. https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/banking/contactless-cards
  5. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33637492
  6. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/110716/what-are-contactless-cards-and-how-safe-are-they.asp
  7. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-01/australia-embraces-tap-and-go/7676816
  8. https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2018/01/31/public-transport-contactless-credit-card-app/

The post Contactless Payments: How Do They Work? appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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Source: Pexels

Though money can take you places, there is no guarantee that a bigger investment leads to success. The invention of the internet is indeed a blessing to many who dream of pursuing a business. As long as you have an internet connection, a laptop, and comfortable space, you can start any online entrepreneurship venture even with minimal cash.

You’re in the right place because today, we are about to reveal opportunities that’ll improve your financial future – the digital way. The best part is that you don’t need hundreds or thousands of dollars in order to get your business up and running.

Where to Source Ideas for Your Digital Business

Since you are planning to build an online business, there’s no other place to get inspiration from but the internet. For a start, you can type in any niche you like into Google and see what results come up. Explore individual websites to know what’s going on in your space.

Aside from that, we want to show you a definitive list of online business ideas to spark your imagination. Consider these options and you might just find one that appeals to your personal interests.

Business Idea #1: Freelance writing

Working as a freelance writer is the perfect idea for the writer at heart. If you love the written word and enjoy expressing your thoughts, surely you can find so many platforms where you can apply as a content writer. These potential marketplaces include Upwork.com and Freeeup.com. Applying on these sites is for free.

You can find multiple content writing opportunities especially now that more and more site owners look for someone to produce content on their behalf. If you have less than $50, you could even start a blog where you can feature your portfolio for everyone to see.

Business Idea #2: Dropshipping 

You many or may not have heard of the term dropshipping. In case this is your first time to encounter the concept, dropshipping is an e-commerce strategy where you, as a business owner, don’t stock items in your online store but instead source it from a third party provider that will ship them directly to your customers.

When you venture into dropshipping, you don’t need a huge capital. You pay the wholesale provider only after a customer makes an order from you. What’s more, you can manage your online store regardless of the time and place. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing vacation while making money.

Business Idea #3: Vacation rentals

Do you have some extra unused space in your home? Instead of buying a land and starting a real estate business which would be way expensive, you can take advantage of the services of an online hospitality marketplace such as Airbnb.

Source: Pexels

All you need to do is apply as a host in Airbnb. List your space on the website and agree to their terms and conditions. Airbnb will also let you know how much profit you can potentially make when a person books your room through their platform. However, you’re always free to decide on your price.

Business Idea #4: Affiliate marketing 

In affiliate marketing, you earn a commission when someone purchases another brand’s product or visits their website. When visitors reach your site, they click on your affiliate link which leads them to the brand that credits your action.

For you to find affiliate marketing opportunities, you need to use the services of an affiliate network. Affiliate networks help you grow your affiliate business by acting as the middleman. Through an affiliate network, you find advertisers to connect with whose products you’re willing to promote.

Business Idea #5: SEO Consultant

If you love the idea of helping new site owners boost the visibility of their business in search engines, become an SEO consultant.

To get clients to avail your SEO services, first you need to set-up a website where you feature your offer. Another smart marketing tactic would be to create an online course about SEO and put it up on Udemy. That way, people will learn to recognize you as an expert.

To pursue a business idea as an SEO expert, it’s important to research, read industry leading blogs, and watch training videos. While experiencing SEO firsthand by being able to successfully rank websites is the great, you can always start out small. Try practicing keyword research, increasing website speed, and optimizing pages. After all, there are plenty of free SEO tools to use.

 

Wrap Up

Did you find something that interests you on our list of online business ideas? Don’t worry if you weren’t able to, because there are still a lot more to explore online. Hopefully this article helped you in a way to turn your dreams into reality even on a shoestring budget.

The post No Money to Start an Online Business? Here are 5 Ideas appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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Using a guarantor to borrow more than 100% of your property’s value

It is possible to borrow up to 105% of a property’s value through some lenders, with the help of a guarantor. This has a number of benefits, including allowing you to buy a property without a deposit, and – as we explore later, can also save you from the cost of lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) that can apply to more highly leveraged loans.

A guarantor is a person who provides additional security to a lender for a loan. They agree to become legally liable for repaying a debt if the borrower defaults on their repayments.

Not all lenders offer these types of loans, but several do. Guarantors are usually immediate family members, like parents or spouses. Some lenders even call them family pledge loans, rather than guarantor loans.

You might be wondering why you’d need to borrow more than 100% of your property’s value. It’s important to understand that when you buy a home or investment property, there can be up-front costs in addition to the purchase price, including:

  • loan application and setup fees,
  • stamp duty,
  • building and pest inspections,
  • conveyancing fees to legally transfer the ownership of the property to you,
  • furniture,
  • the total of your land and construction costs if you are building a new home,
  • utility service connections (e.g. phone, gas, electricity and council water rates).
The benefits of a guarantor home loan

As we mentioned earlier, a guarantor home loan can help you avoid the cost of lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI). Many banks will require LMI on a standard home loan where the loan-to-value (LVR) ratio is less than 80%. An LVR is the amount of your loan expressed as a percentage of the value of your home.

However, with the added security of a guarantor, many lenders will offer their best available interest rates and not require LMI.

A guarantor loan can also help you to qualify for approval if you have:

  • No, limited or poor credit history.
  • No deposit.
Becoming a guarantor

A guarantor will often need to provide collateral (assets) as their security guarantee, such as real estate. If they are offering up their own home as security, they’ll need to either own it or have a significant amount of equity.

They will also usually need to pass the lender’s normal criteria to qualify as a guarantor.

Most lenders will also assess the income and expenses of the guarantor. However, others won’t, and will purely rely on the collateral security provided. In these circumstances, retirees can potentially become guarantors.

However, it needs to be remembered that the guarantor is legally liable for their security guarantee. Neither the borrower nor the guarantor should take out this type of loan lightly. It can result in relationship breakdowns in a worst-case scenario. It’s best to have an open and honest conversation about your respective rights and responsibilities before you enter into any commitment.

The extent of a guarantor’s liability

This depends on the lender’s criteria and the necessary security guarantee will be included in the terms and conditions of the loan agreement. The security guarantee doesn’t necessarily have to cover the borrower’s entire loan balance.

For example, depending on the credit history of the borrower, many lenders will only require a guarantee for the loan balance in excess of 80% of the property’s value.

A security guarantee can also be arranged to be removed if the terms and conditions of the loan are negotiated appropriately. For example, many lenders will allow a guarantor’s security to be removed when the LVR drops to below 80%. So, if the value of your home is $750,000, your LVR would drop to below 80% when you owe less than $600,000.

As always, keep in mind that a home loan is a long-term financial commitment.  Whether you’re a borrower or guarantor, you should seek professional advice before you commit.

Reference: https://loanbase.com.au/guarantor-home-loans/

The post How to buy property with No Deposit appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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Guest Post by Andrew Ford, CEO of Heartland Seniors Finance

People often ask me why am I so passionate about Reverse Mortgages. I guess many Australian seniors are either wary because of the misinformation and misconceptions that still linger in the market, or don’t see how someone can be so passionate about a ‘financial product’.

The reason that I love Reverse Mortgages so much is that I have seen firsthand what they can do for people. I have spoken to, and met with, thousands of seniors whose lives have literally been changed by a Reverse Mortgage. I think that’s pretty neat.

Am I overstating the impact? Life-changing?

I don’t think so – you just have to look at what you can do with reverse mortgages:

1. Reverse mortgages can improve your standard of living

When you stop working, your regular income will be significantly reduced. Relying on your pension or superannuation may not be enough to sustain a comfortable lifestyle. Remember, superannuation was only mandated by the Government in 1993. Therefore, if you started working in the 60s or 70s, there is a lower chance that you have gained enough fund for your retirement.

In a recent report from The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia they noted that the Aged Pension only covers a third of what is considered to be a comfortable lifestyle in retirement.

Many Australians today don’t have enough money for their everyday expenses yet they live in properties that are worth hundreds of thousands. With a reverse mortgage, you can convert a portion of this equity, which you can use for aged care, home renovation, payment of debts, and many more.

2. Proceeds of reverse mortgages can be used for debt payment

No one wants to spend retirement still paying high-interest debt. But many seniors living on pensions are using credit cards if their funds are not enough. With a reverse mortgage loan, you can save money on repayments while getting peace of mind. Usually, seniors are no longer eligible for a mortgage or credit line, but with reverse mortgage you can access the cash you need to pay all your debt. Also, repayments for reverse mortgage are not required, so you don’t need to worry about monthly dues.

3. Reverse mortgage can fund your aged care needs

While government support is available to allow seniors to stay at home to receive aged care, the financial subsidy may not be enough to cover all expenses and depends on an asset test. Wealthier seniors may not be eligible for any home care service benefits. If you have been evaluated as capable of shouldering a portion of the home care services, your home care provider may ask you to pay first either a basic daily fee or an income-tested care fee before they provide you with assistance.

In reality, many seniors, especially those with reduced income may still struggle despite of receiving government subsidy. It’s important to remember the cost of retirement living could increase in the next few years. The rising prices of basic goods and increased expenditures for medical treatments can make it hard to make ends meet.

Taking out a reverse mortgage to assist with aged care services can give flexibility and breathing space for seniors and their families during a stressful period of change. The loan proceeds can also be used to supplement retirement income, regardless of the pension level, to cover home care costs not included in the government subsidy.

An aged care loan can also be used to fund residential aged care.

4. Realise your dream holiday

After long years of working hard and building your personal wealth, you now have all the time in the world to do anything you want. Why not realize your dream holiday this year? Nothing could hold you back, except if you don’t have the money to finance your travel and holidays, of course.

Rather than using your pension or spending your personal savings to fund your holidays, you can unlock a percentage of your home equity to access more cash through a reverse mortgage loan.

5. Considerable consumer protection

Reverse mortgages are probably the most heavily regulated consumer finance product in Australia.  As long as you adhere to the terms of the loan you are guaranteed to be able to stay in your home as long as you choose (lifetime occupancy), you can never owe more than the value of your sales proceeds of your property (no negative equity guarantee) and you do not have to make a repayment until the end of the loan, but are free to do so without penalty at any time.  Legal advice is mandatory and at Heartland our team and our accredited broker network work hard to ensure customers make an informed decision.

That is why I am a ‘true believer’ in Reverse Mortgages for seniors. I don’t think there is another financial product out there that has as much power to genuinely change lives people in quite the way a Reverse Mortgage can.

If you would like to see if a Reverse Mortgage is right for you or just to discuss Reverse Mortgages in general please feel free to give me a call – 1300 889 338.

You can also watch the animated explainer video below to get started with Heartland reverse mortgages:  (Video to be embedded on blogpost)

https://www.seniorsfinance.com.au/reverse-mortgage/how-a-reverse-mortgage-works

What Is A Reverse Mortgage in Australia? - YouTube

Andrew Ford, CEO, Heartland Seniors Finance

Andrew Ford is the CEO of Heartland Seniors Finance and has been with the Heartland group for over 15 years. He is passionate about reverse mortgages and the difference it can make to the lives of seniors.

The post Five Reasons Why Reverse Mortgages Are a Good Option for Australian Seniors appeared first on Aussie Finance Blog.

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