Trending Financial News 28 February 2020

Coronavirus fears spread

Shares fell on Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones index falling more than 1,000 points on Thursday (US time).

The Australian share market has fallen into correction territory as well as coronavirus fears spread.

Australian shares have been falling all week. Disease experts in the USA and Australia have warned that the virus is set to spread further. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic.

Property prices set to jump 10% in 2020

Australian average residential property prices are expected to rise 10 per cent over 2020 as low interest rates encourage more buyers. AMP Capital senior economist Diana Mousina expects new record high prices in Sydney and Melbourne by mid-2020.

“After 2020, we expect price growth to be more moderate, around 5 per cent per annum,” said Ms Mousina.

Keep up to date with the latest property price outlook at InfoChoice.

How to claim financial hardship assistance from your bank:

Australians are able to claim financial hardship assistance from their bank or other lender/card issuer if they hit hard times. There are eligibility requirements and you need to be able to show that you can’t pay your current debts.

Banks and other lenders are legally obliged to offer you help and advice to that you get your finances back on track. It’s always difficult to ask for debt help, but you’ll probably find that your lender is understanding.

You might be eligible for a repayment holiday, especially if you can demonstrate how it will help you to get back on your feet. If your financial constraints are due to a short–lived issue, such as an injury or a new baby, then many lenders will be happy to approve a break.

You can lodge a complaint with the financial ombudsman if your bank or lender does not assist you in dealing with financial hardship.

Contact information for bank hardship assistance helplines

Go directly to the contact information and helplines of the big four banks. You can claim financial hardship and et assistance from your lender by contacting them as soon as you feel you can’t repay your loans and debts.

Click through here to go to contact information for financial assistance from the big banks and other lenders.

How ‘safe’ are secured loans?

A secured personal loan is ‘secured’ against an asset and if the borrower defaults on the loan the lender has the right to take possession of the security.

An unsecured personal loan is not backed by any asset and is based on your income, debts and expenses. Some unsecured loans are based on your credit score while other lenders offer fixed or variable rates for all borrowers.

NRMA’s FAST LOAN for Used Car (Satisfaction Guaranteed) charges 6.99% pa (comparison rate 7.70% pa).  NRMA boasts 5 business hour approval time. Go directly to NRMA Car Loan interest rate and fees information at InfoChoice.

Moneyplace’s Unsecured Personal Loan – Excellent Credit Rating is charging rates starting from 7.65% (comparison rate 7.65% pa), based on an individual's credit history.

Go directly to Moneyplace’s Loan interest rate and fees information at InfoChoice.

Savings account interest rates 28 February 2020:

Right now, none of the big four banks are paying savings account interest rates that equal or better inflation. CPI inflation in Australia is 1.8% per annum.

Other banks and institutions are paying more than the inflation rate.

For example, ME’s Online Savings Account (with ongoing bonus) is currently paying a base rate of 0.35% pa and a maximum bonus rate of 2.05% pa, when you have a ME Everyday Transaction Account and make at least four tap & go purchases per month.

Go directly to ME Online Savings Account interest rates and fees information at InfoChoice.

Go directly to ME interest rates and fees information at InfoChoice.

Are you looking for your bank’s credit card interest rates?

Do you know how to check your credit card interest rate and compare it with others in the market? Do you know what repayments you are making each month?

You can easily check on the interest rates and fees information, as well as the all the basic features on your loan, card or account at InfoChoice.

Find your bank or financial provider at InfoChoice and go directly to their rates and fess information on loans, cards and accounts.

Do you know how much PayWave / Tap and Go costs?

New analysis by InfoChoice shows that average Australians may be paying up to around $430 per year in contactless payments, like PayWave and Tap n Go transactions.

That is more than they might pay if they withdrew cash and paid an expensive independent ATM fee. 85% of ATMs are fee-free.

“Credit card surcharges paid by merchants to their banks average around 1.63 per cent of the purchase price,” said Jason Bryce, Researcher at financial comparison website

“Debit card purchases are surcharged around 0.63 per cent and Eftpos charges are around 20 cents, flat fee.”

Many retailers and merchants absorb the cost of card surcharges while others will charge a fee for the use of a card. Any card fee must only cover the costs of acceptance. Shops and merchants are not permitted to make a profit from accepting card payments.

ATM fees vs PayWave/Tap and Pay

Most ATMs in Australia are fee-free for most users. Your own bank will not charge you to withdraw cash and most other banks and institutions will not charge you for making a withdrawal from your own account. Some independent ATM operators may charge you a fee ranging up to $3 or more.

Many shops and retailers do not charge shoppers to use their cards. Many do and they are allowed to charge shoppers fees to cover their own costs.

Credit card surcharges paid by merchants to their banks average around 1.63 per cent of the purchase price, debit card purchases are surcharged around 0.63 per cent and Eftpos charges are around 20 cents.

“An ATM fee of $2.50 or $3.00 on a $500 withdrawal works out to be LESS than the 1.63% credit card and 0.63% debit card surcharges you might pay everyday,” said Jason Bryce researcher at

Do you know what PayWave / Tap and Go fees are?

Most banks and credit unions do not charge their account holders for contactless payments technology like Tap and Go and PayWave. However, shoppers may be hit with credit card or debit card surcharges. Retailers are only allowed to charge cost-recovery fees and are not allowed to make a profit from accepting card payments.

“Many retailers and shoppers may not understand what they are allowed to charge for card payments and what they are not allowed to charge,” said Jason Bryce from InfoChoice.

“Merchants are allowed to charge you a card fee to cover their own costs but they are not allowed to make a profit from their card surcharges.”

Shops in Australia are allowed to NOT ACCEPT CASH payments at all. Read more about shopping with cash vs card at InfoChoice.

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