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Credit Card Consolidation

6 Credit Card Tricks to Give You the Upper Hand

The reality of it is that your credit card can either be the bane of your existence or your best friend. That depends entirely on how you use it and just how much you know about getting the best out of your credit card. Luckily, there are plenty of credit card tricks available to help you out. If you use your credit card carelessly, you will likely end up in trouble and throwing off your finances.

However, when you opt to use your credit card judiciously, it can be great. It can be a great source of instant credit while also giving you a host of other important benefits to enjoy. Whether you already have a credit card or are looking to get one, these 6 handy tricks will help you use your credit card to your advantage.

credit card perks

1. Do your research

It sounds simple, but one of the main credit card tricks is to do your research before you opt for the first credit card you see. It is hard to stress just how important doing your research is. There are a few things you need to know about the credit card you’re choosing such as:

  • Reward features
  • Minimum repayments
  • Cashback
  • Charges
  • Annual fees
  • Extras

Some cards may even offer things like fuel discounts, shopping-related rewards, air miles, and even dining options. However, it is good to know about the rewards offered. If you don’t own a car, the fuel discount won’t be important to you, so you might choose another credit card option instead. It is also vital that you read the fine print associated with the card. To maximise your credit card experience, research is important.

There are heaps of comparison websites out there that do all the hard work and find the best credit card for you. Canstar is really popular, but creditcard.com.au has a really user-friendly interface that enables you to customise results to suit you. You can filter results to show credit cards with the best rewards programs, bonus points, no annual fees, low-interest rates and more!

credit card tips

2. Take advantage of reward points & benefits

Many credit card companies offer reward points and cash back in certain circumstances. For example, when you pay utility bills, restaurant bills, movie ticket purchases, and more. Some card issuers have teamed up with retail chains to provide you with cashback offers and discounts, while others provide air miles, travel insurance and more. Technically, you are earning by spending on your credit card when you keep track of the rewards offered.

Points earned can easily be redeemed against gifts that feature in the company’s reward catalogue. They can get you access to things as small as a gift voucher or something a substantial as a car. Commonwealth Bank offers an awards program where you earn points for every $1 spent. These points can be spent in places such as Myer, Flight Centre and to book hotels. This is why these little credit card tricks can be so helpful!

Credit card companies offer benefits all year round and taking advantage of them is definitely in your best interest. If you have been loyally using a credit card for a number of years, then make sure to contact your credit card company and ask for an offer, they will usually apply it to reward your loyalty and keep you on board. These benefits, big or small, can make a huge difference in the long run.

credit card rewards

3. Be smart with repayments

Taking on a credit card is a big responsibility and takes a lot of self-control. It’s easy to get carried away and max out the card without having a clue how you are going to pay back what you owe. The more you borrow, the longer it is likely to take to pay off your credit card and the less you repay each month, the more interest you will pay.

We recommend putting aside a set amount of your wage each week/month to go exclusively towards repaying your credit card. The more you can repay the better because making minimum repayments will mean that by the time you end up paying off your credit card (if ever), you will have spent hundreds or even thousands more than had you made bigger repayments. Making minimal repayments can also have a negative impact on your credit rating.

One of the credit card tricks which goes without saying – paying on time is a hugely important factor to consider. Usually, late payment fees associated with credit cards are quite substantial, not to mention incredibly damaging to your credit score. Remember, the better your credit score, the better rates, fees and offers you will receive, so keeping a good credit score is crucial!

Your credit score is closely tied to your repayment history and late payments can heavily impact your credit score. If it is too late and your credit score is already damaged, then credit repair is a very real and beneficial process. We recommend getting in touch with Clean Credit.

4. Keep your credit utilisation ratio low

A credit utilisation ratio (otherwise known as credit utilisation rate) is the amount of credit you are currently using, compared to how much is available. Essentially, your credit utilisation ratio is calculated by the following formula:

Credit utilisation ratio = Total credit card debt / Total available credit

So, if you have a credit card limit of $1,000 and you are using $300 of this then the calculation would be 300/1,000 which would give you a credit utilisation ratio of 30%.

Why is it important to keep a low credit utilisation rate? Maintaining a rate of less than 30% reassures credit reporting agencies that you do not borrow above your means. In turn, you can expect your credit score to improve. Plus, keeping the amount owed as low as possible will help you to remain in control of your credit card debt. This is one of the lesser-known credit card tricks, but a really great one to know!

credit card benefits

5. Restrict the number of credit cards you hold

When you have too many credit cards, it not only increases your tendency to spend, but it increases the risk of loss or theft. If you must have more than one card, it is best to own only two maximum. One for normal spending, and one for emergencies. Credit card debt can severely affect your life and your financial future, so use your credit card wisely.

If you have multiple credit cards, the outstanding debt can begin to pile up drastically. In the future, this could lead to difficulty when it comes to getting loans or any kind of credit. Therefore, it is best to consolidate these debts. Credit card debt consolidation ties all of your current debts into one new debt with a new (and usually lower interest rate) with an easier repayment schedule.

Using your credit card responsibly can bring a lot of good in the form of financial benefits. It also helps you to plan and optimise your resources far better. A credit card is a great financial asset if used properly alongside these credit card tricks.

6. Use your credit card as a tool

Credit cards are surrounded by a really negative stigma of uncontrollable debt, bad credit scores and crazy interest rates. In reality, so long as you are a responsible lender, a credit card can actually be a super useful tool that can boost your credit score and provide you with awesome perks, such as purchase protection insurance.

What is purchase protection insurance? Put simply, it’s insurance that comes from purchasing new products with a credit card. It’s one of the most amazing credit card tricks, but hardly anybody knows about it! Want to buy a new TV but don’t want to pay to insure it? Purchase it on your credit card and you will have 6 months insurance from theft, loss or accidental damage from the date of purchase!

How can a credit card boost your credit rating? As mentioned above, keeping your credit utilisation ratio can help to improve your credit score, but it doesn’t stop there. Making regular purchases on your credit card and repaying fast and in full can provide a huge boost to your credit rating. For example, every time you purchase new clothing, tech or refuel your car, pay on your credit card and then immediately pay this off. This will significantly boost your credit score because it shows you repay credit card debt quickly, proving you are a responsible lender.

Do these credit card tricks actually help?

The answer is yes. By implementing these credit card tricks, you will be able to use your credit card in a more financially successful way. People often do not have the guidance they require when getting their first credit card. Usually, this often means they end up in debt or in a stressful situation.

Credit cards are confusing at the best of times. Trying to understand and keep on top of all the different dates, figures and percentages that come with credit cards can be overwhelming. By taking note of these credit card tricks, you can enjoy more freedom and peace of mind when it comes to your finances.

The bottom line of using these credit card tricks

The bottom line is that everyone needs a little help with their finances sometimes. Whether you’re experienced or a newbie, it is always nice to have guidance. Unfortunately, many people have already landed in excess debt or with a bad credit score due to misuse of credit cards in the past.

This can make getting finance including credit cards approved very tricky, and interest rates very high. Luckily, there are companies around such as the Australian Lending Centre who could help you receive finance when the banks say no.

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News Credit Card Consolidation

Credit Card Reforms 2020

It’s true that many of us have a love/hate relationship when it comes to our credit card. It’s great being able to swipe and pay with ease and offers so much convenience. At the same time, it is easier to spend above our means and get hit with a nasty bill at the end of the month that we may not have budgeted for. While credit cards can be really useful, they can also carry a heavy burden of debt with them. This is why credit card reforms are brought in; to help to protect you from sinking into unmanageable debt.

It is so easy to find yourself in a place of debt, with monthly fees added on top of your spending. The fact is, many people take out credit cards without being aware of how they work. For example, when are the fees applied and how can you manage things when you find yourself in a place of debt? For this reason, it is easy for people to spiral further and further.

Discover what changes the credit card reforms of 2020 have brought to the table and what they mean for you as a consumer.

Background for Credit Card Reforms 2020

The latest credit card reforms came into effect in January 2019.

In July 2018, ASIC released Report 580 Credit card lending in Australia. This found that more than one in six consumers is struggling with credit card debt.

ASIC’s review of credit card lending found:

  • In June 2017 there were almost 550,000 people in arrears. In addition, 930,000 people had persistent debt and an additional 435,000 people were repeatedly repaying small amounts.
  • Consumers carrying balances over time on high-interest rate cards could have saved more than $621 million in interest in 2016–17 if they had carried their balance on a card with a lower interest rate.
  • 63% of consumers did not cancel a card after a balance transfer. A substantial minority of consumers increased their total debt after transferring a balance.

The report made it clear that ASIC expects credit providers to:

  • Take proactive steps to address problematic credit card debt and products that do not suit consumers.
  • Minimise the extra credit provided to consumers who regularly exceed their credit limit.
  • Allocate repayments for all credit cards in the more favourable way required for cards entered into after July 2012.

These are general expectations of lenders, however, they are not legal requirements.

In September 2018, ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission) set a three-year period to be used by banks and credit providers when assessing a new credit card contract or credit limit increase for consumers. This means that credit providers must not provide a credit card with a credit limit that the consumer can’t repay within three years.

The aim of the 2020 credit card reform is to:

  • Prevent consumers from entering into an unsuitable credit card contract.
  • Ensure consumers have access to suitable credit card contracts.
  • Make it easier for consumers to cancel credit cards.
  • Ban unsolicited credit limit increase invitations (which can lead to people borrowing above their means).

Credit Card 2020 Facts

Here are some credit card facts, sourced from finder.com.

  • There are 14,088,998 credit cards in Australia as of May 2020.
  • Netting a national debt accruing interest of $23 billion.
  • Average credit card purchase: $105.38
  • Average percent of credit limit reached: 29%
  • National Australian spend on credit card purchases each month: $25,023,743,718.
  • 70% of Australian adults own a credit card.
  • Age groups with a credit card:
    • 65.07% are 18-35
    • 82.18% are 35-54
    • 79.84% are 55+.

How Do Credit Reforms Work?

credit card reforms 2020

The three-year period was chosen by ASIC after consulting with several banks and industry bodies. The idea is to ensure that the provider of the credit card is comfortable that you can pay off your credit limit in three years, before approving your application.

Rather than stopping people from being able to take out credit, these credit card reforms 2020 are in place to stop consumers from getting into debt.

Here are some commonly asked questions when it comes to the credit card reforms 2020:

Can I still take out a credit card?

Yes! You will still have the flexibility to make a low credit card repayment each month. The three-year period was designed to help consumers needing larger loans to have longer repayment options available.

How do banks and lenders assess whether I can pay back my card?

Each institution will have its own processes in place for determining this. This may involve looking at your credit history, including your credit score, along with the current financial situation.

While these credit card reforms 2020 may result in some people not being able to take out a credit card, it is likely only to affect a very small number of people. Consumers are still welcome to shop around for the best deal when taking out a credit card. Hopefully now with the aim of being able to pay them back without getting further and further into debt in the process.

Want to know more about taking out a credit card and how to make the process as easy as possible? The team at Australian Lending Centre can help you out. Simply give us a call or fill out an enquiry form today and get yourself set up on the path to financial stability (and not debt). We can also help you to find out how you will be assessed when it comes to taking out a credit card.

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Debt Management Credit Card Consolidation Financial Planning Interest Rates

How is APR Calculated?

Wondering exactly what APR is and questioning how is APR calculated? We have all the answers you need to help you discover what the APR is and why it is so important when it comes to interest rates and borrowing money.

What is APR?

APR, or annual percentage rate of charge, refers to the interest rate for a whole year. Rather than looking at a monthly fee or rate charged on a loan or credit card, the number is expressed as an annual rate instead. Many people confuse APR and interest rate, but there is a clear difference between the two. Understanding this can make a huge difference when it comes to your repayments.

If you have a credit card or a mortgage, then it is highly likely you have heard this term before. But have you ever taken the time to work out what it actually means for you? While it doesn’t make much difference when it comes to paying off your credit card, it can make a huge difference to your monthly mortgage repayments. Therefore, it needs to be looked into carefully and calculated properly, especially when it comes to choosing between lenders.

While an interest rate may look good on surface level compared to other lenders, it can be deceiving depending on their APR. We show you why.

Interest Rate Vs APR

Firstly let’s take a look at the difference between an interest rate and an APR. So how exactly does APR differ from the interest rate? Put simply, the interest rate is the cost of borrowing the money. For example, if you borrow $500,000 with a 5% interest rate, this is the principal plus interest. Your interest for the year will be $25,000, or a monthly payment of $2085. Simple, right? So where does APR factor in?

APR on the other hand, includes other costs associated with borrowing money and is calculated as an annual figure. This is what makes the APR a much more effective way of determining the costs associated with a loan. These fees can include broker fees, closing costs, rebates and more. Just like the interest rate, they are often referred to as a percentage.

shutterstock 586787480

How Is APR Calculated?

Let’s take a look at the example above. You have purchased a home for $500,000 and we know that the interest owed to the financial institution on top of this is $25,000 a year. But now we have to look into what other costs were incurred in this process, such as:

  • Did you pay any closing costs?
  • Did you have mortgage insurance?
  • Was there broker fees?
  • Rebates?
  • Any other costs?

These fees are added to the original loan, to give you a new loan amount. For example, if these fees amount to $5,000, then your new loan amount is $505,000. The interest rate stays the same at 5%, but a new annual payment is calculated against the new loan amount. Instead of paying $25,000 annually it is now $25,250.

So, how is the APR calculated from all of this?

You need to take the new annual payment ($25,250) and divide it by the original loan amount ($500,000). This will get you 5.05%.

In this scenario the APR is 5.05%, while the interest rate is 5%. As you can see, APR is the figure you need to pay attention to as it actually refers to the amount you will be paying back.

What Does This Mean for Loans?

When it comes to borrowing money for a big loan, such as a mortgage, many borrowers get hung up on simply comparing interest rates. The problem with this is that it does account for any of the upfront costs that are involved with the loan. This can account for a high APR. While the interest rate may have initially looked good, when you factor in the APR, it may not be the best offer out there for you.

The part most borrowers find confusing is when they come across two different lenders, offering the same interest rate with the same monthly repayments, but with different APRs. What this means is that the lender with the lower APR requires fewer upfront fees throughout the process. All in all, this will offer the better deal for you.

Having a clear idea of what an APR is and being able to answer the question how is APR calculated will make huge difference when it comes to taking out a loan. You can use this information to make more informed choices that leave you financially better off as a result.

Australian Lending Centre

Get in touch with the experts at Australian Lending Centre for professional advice about APR’s and how they are calculated. We can help you make informed decisions related to your circumstances without getting lost in the numbers. We are always here to help.

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Credit Card Consolidation

How to overcome credit card debt

Taking out a new credit card for the first time is a huge, exciting milestone. You suddenly find yourself with access to more money when you need it. Of course, this is all money that needs to be repaid on time. If you miss payments the interest will start adding up and you will find yourself in more debt than you bargained for.

This is a path you want to avoid if possible, but if you do find yourself here, don’t stress.

Tips to get out of credit card debt

Get in the Right Mindset

There is no point in tackling your credit card debt unless you are ready to make changes to your financial spending. Otherwise, anything you achieve will be short term and you will find yourself back in the same situation again and again.

The first thing to do is to take a look at your finances and see where all your money is going. While occasionally, bad credit card debt can be the result of an unforeseen circumstance, such as a medical emergency, for most people they arise as a build-up of spending beyond your means.

Go back through your credit card statements from the past year with highlighters:

Green = necessary expenses

Orange = luxury expenses

Take a look at all your items that are highlighted orange and see what you can cut back on.

Other tips including leaving your credit card at home on trips to the shops so that you aren’t tempted to spend on things you don’t need, and keeping track of all your credit card expenses each month, and putting the card in a safe place once you have reached a limit you are able to pay back on payday.

Once you have had a look at your finances and attempted to get them in check, you are in the best position to get yourself out of credit card debt and to stay out.

Techniques you can use to tackle your credit card debt:

Snowball Effect

Got multiple credit cards all with debt owing? Tackle them one by one. This is the perfect way to give you that initial confidence boost to fuel the rest of your debt repayments. Don’t just ignore the other cards in the process. Make their minimum repayments each month and then work on the one card to pay back the debt.

Pick your card with the lowest balance owing and start with this one. This will be the quickest to pay off and will get the ball rolling for you. Once you have paid the smallest, move onto the next smallest until you are just left with the largest debt owing.

Snowflake Effect

Whenever you come into a little extra money, no matter how small, you send it to the credit card company to put towards your debt. Rather than mindlessly spending every extra $5 you come across, you will find it can add up nicely if you send it in. Think of it as, out of sight and out of mind.

Avalanche Effect

This is the opposite of the snowball effect, where you start by paying off your most expensive credit card first and work your way down. This method tends to be faster and cheaper, but it can be a lot more intimidating when you first start.

Go for a Lower Interest Rate

It can’t hurt to ask, right? Ring up your provider, and assuming you have a good credit history and made timely repayments see if they will reward you with a lower interest rate to pay off your debt. If you can shop around and get a lower rate from a competitor, then it is worth mentioning this in the phone call as a little extra push.

Take Out a Consolidation Loan

It may seem counter-intuitive, but taking out a personal loan can help you pay off all the debts while saving a little cash in the process. The interest rates on personal loans tend to be lower than those of a credit card, so if you do your homework and find a good deal, you could end up saving by using this approach. Of course, you still need to work off paying the new loan now.

Ask for Help When You Need It

If all else fails, ask for help. There is no point sitting there and getting further and further into debt with no way out. There are plenty of debt relief options out there that you can choose from, including:

Debt management

You can have someone advocate for you to negotiate new terms, either a lower balance, lower or no interest rates, to help reduce your debt and make paying it off easier. In return, you pay a fixed amount each month, which is then applied to your debts across the board.

Part 9 Debt Agreements are a formal agreement where your debts are managed. This step is to avoid bankruptcy and does impact your future credit rating.

As a last resort, when you simply cannot pay your debts is where you can file for different types of bankruptcy depending on your situation, but it does come with serious long term consequences so must be considered it wisely.

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Debt Management Credit Card Consolidation Financial Fitness

Strategies For Getting Your Credit Cards Under Control

Plastic money, where all you have to do is swipe a card and that product or service is yours. It’s great, right? Until you receive your credit card bill and realise you don’t have the funds to pay it off. Before you know it, the interest starts to soar and your credit score takes a whack. Don’t worry, you’re one of many to have fallen into this trap! Fortunately, there are ways of getting your credit cards under control before it’s too late.

Here are six ways for getting your credit cards under control

1. Pay MORE minimum monthly repayment

Or more, if you can afford it. You have three choices when it comes to making your repayments:

  • You can pay the full amount and take advantage of the interest-free period on your card.
  • Pay more than the minimum repayment to limit the amount of interest charged.
  • You can pay just the minimum repayment. This is the least recommended option, as the interest will build up. This may lead you into more debt down the track, which is hard to get out of.

2. Lower those rates

All it takes is asking! The fastest and easiest way to ensure you get back control of your credit card is to shave off a percentage or two on your interest rates. Even a small amount can save you hundreds when it comes to paying off your debt. Call up your bank and simply ask! Your credit score is likely to play a role in whether or not this will happen, but either way, it never hurts to give it a shot.

3. Pay down your HIGHEST rate card first

This one makes sense. If you have a few different credit cards that you are owing money on and you can’t afford to pay them all off, start with the one with the highest rate. This is also known as the ‘Avalanche Strategy’. Tackle the card with the highest interest rate first, while maintaining at least the minimum repayments on the others. Once you get the first one paid off, you can work your way down to paying off the rest.

This method ensures you pay as little interest as possible while making these payments and getting your way out of debt. As you work down through your debts, the amount you can put towards repayments on the next debt increases with each cleared debt – creating an avalanche effect.

4. Budget

If you don’t have one already, now is the time to put one into place. Factor your credit card repayments into your budget, so you stay on top of them. Look at how much you are spending each month on each one and compare this to how much you earn. If you are spending more than you earn, then it is time to cut back.

If you are already in credit card debt, then add this to your budget. Plan to pay a little bit off each week, to make sure you are working to an end goal. If you are in debt, then set aside your credit card for the essentials until you have paid it off.

To get a good look at your spending patterns, check out your credit card statements. From here you can assess where to make cut backs. Utilise a free online budget planner to quickly understand where your money is going.

5. Pay off Your Smallest Balances

Depending on how many credit cards you have, you could find yourself a little overwhelmed. Start small and work your way up. This one is known as the ‘Snowball Strategy’. The idea is that you feel so much better getting one card paid off fully. This will give you the momentum to tackle the next one and then another after that.

This positive cycle continues and ‘snowballs’ until all your cards are paid off and you are back in control again. Unlike the Avalanche strategy, you could end up paying more in the long run, as you are ignoring which cards have higher interest rates and paying them off based on the amount instead.

6. Have a goal

Whether your goal is to be completely debt-free, or simply to be on top of your repayments, it is important you have this goal in place when it comes to taking back control of your credit cards. To keep yourself accountable, it can help to talk to a close friend or family member, so you stay on track and don’t find yourself too overwhelmed in the process.

Taking back control of your credit cards will have you in a healthier position for some long term goals, such as travel or taking out a mortgage. Remember, start small and build your way up again and you will soon find yourself debt free and able to stay that way. Think next time you pull out that handy little piece of plastic to pay for something.

Categories
Debt Consolidation Credit Card Consolidation Personal Loans

Saving Money On a Lower Income

There is a range of strategies you can employ to make saving money o. One of the major areas that can save you a lot in the long term is debt consolidation. There are also some other lifestyle choices you can make to improve your financial situation.

Many people think it is all too hard, but everything you do will help, even small changes can make a huge difference. We can all employ a range of measures that will prevent budget blowouts without sacrificing all the things you like doing.

If you are finding yourself on the roller coaster of no savings, bad debt management, poor (or no) budgeting and everything is a bit chaotic, Australian Lending Centre has some tips and tricks to get you out of bad debt employing activities such as debt consolidation, saving and feeling in control again.

First things first – Where Does Your Money Currently Go?

If you don’t yet have a budget, keep a financial diary for your pay period and track how you are spending your money. The Money Smart website offers a great money tracking app to make this easier. This will give you valuable insight into your habits and areas you can save.

  • What are you spending your money on?
  • How much is left over at the end of the pay period?
  • What money needs to go out on payments and bills?
  • Are there any areas of waste or unnecessary spending?
  • Are there areas where you are going backwards and getting into arrears?

Planning and Budgeting  – Where Will Your Money Go?

Once you have a record of what your current spending entails, get online to the Money Smart website and complete the budget tool. Be sure to include all your debts, payments, bills, and income. Mark payments and amounts in your calendar. Most bank online apps have the ability to schedule payments, so they come out when they are due, but if these are also in your calendar you won’t get any unexpected payments coming out. These regular payments can including things like:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Car payments, car registration and insurance
  • Household/health insurance
  • Credit card payments
  • Loan repayments
  • Store card payments
  • Afterpay/ZipPay (remember that defaulting on these can effect your credit score)
  • Utilities such as gas and electricity (you may want to discuss bill smoothing with your provider – this is a regular payment over time rather than a massive and shocking bill each quarter)
  • Internet and phone

Bad Debts? Talk to the Credit Provider

The bottom line is that companies want to be paid. They are always receptive if you explain your situation, especially if you have, or are, experiencing financial hardship. You may be able to negotiate with them to reduce or put a hold on payments until you get back on top of things. Of course, you still have the pay the money back, but a hiatus on payments can help in the short term. Some credit providers will allow you to reduce the final figure if you can pay the debt outright. If they offer this, it may be time for debt consolidation. If you are too overwhelmed by the phone calls and letters, then talk to us about negotiating on your behalf.

Next Steps – Take Control With Debt Consolidation

When loans and credit cards get beyond what you can cope with in terms of interest and late payments, it might be time to call in help from the experts. Companies like Australian Lending Centre can offer a solution for a bad credit debt consolidation loan. This is where you negotiate with lenders for a reduced payout figure and then apply for a single loan that will cover all your bills in one payment with a lower interest than general credit cards and late payment fees. Having one simple debt consolidation loan payment to go out eat pay period is going to be a lot easier than trying to remember everything. The sooner you simplify your payments, the sooner you will be in an easier financial situation.

Money-Saving Tips

Turn off the TV

Are services like Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Hayu and the iTunes store getting beyond ridiculous? Try cutting out all but the most popular one, to cut back. Turning off the TV will also help cut back on power and expose you to less spend-inducing ads. You might also have app subscriptions that you don’t need. Although these are small they can add up in a month.

Stop Hoarding and Start Selling

If you have closets full of unwanted clothes, try selling them online. A good clean out also helps you to see what your wearable wardrobe looks like so you can plan your clothes shopping to maximise your shopping budget. Also if you buy anything make sure it goes with the other items in your wardrobe. Take advantage of sales, why pay retail when most clothes will go on sale towards the middle of the season.

Look for those habits that add up

You can cut back on your habits, such as drinking alcohol during the week, smoking (probably goes without saying but your health and budget will thank you), buying coffees, can all save a surprising amount as well as having general health benefits. Limiting your drinking to the weekend can save hundreds a month, depending on your drink of choice. That bottle of wine after work at $15 a night can really add up over the week. Similarly, a $4 coffee each day is $20 a week. Make coffee at home in a keep cup and save money and the environment.

Stop using your credit card

By switching to using your debit card or cash for purchases, you will be more aware of your spending habits. It will also prevent the slide into bad credit debt.

Be frugal at the supermarket

Most of the time, buying in bulk or larger sizes are cheaper over time, so check on the prices for the larger sizes. Don’t shop with kids. Pester power is a thing and can increase your spend at the checkout. Never shop when you are hungry. Buy less meat, which is expensive, and opt for more meat-free alternatives, such as tofu, beans, and pulses.

Eat Smarter

With a busy life, planning meals can be a real chore, but while using services like Uber Eats seems like a good alternative, you are actually paying $5 on top of takeaway prices and it really can add up at the end of the pay period. By shopping in bulk, cooking healthy meals and taking the leftovers to work for lunch, you can save quite a lot each day.

Are You Missing Out On Government Payments You Are Entitled To?

Lastly, make sure you check all your entitlements with regards to government payments. As a low-income earner, you may be eligible for some form of financial support if you aren’t already receiving a government benefit. When every dollar counts it’s worthwhile claiming all you can. To check on payments and entitlements, check out the Department of Human Services. Even a small additional payment may ease your financial burden. Living on a low income is hard, but these payments are designed to help.

Small Changes with Big Returns

Once you have a clearer picture about where your money goes, you make changes to your lifestyle and start on the path to greater financial control, the happier, healthier and less stressed overall you will be.If you need help with debt consolidation, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

Note: This information is general, and doesn’t take into account your specific personal and financial circumstances.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Should You Invest in spite of Your Credit Card Debt?

Investing enables you to expand your finances. If you leave your money in a bank, it won’t do anything for you except gain you minuscule interest on your savings account. However, investing your money while having credit card debt isn’t necessarily the best decision either. Why is that? Simply put: the interest rate on most credit cards is typically higher than the estimated rate of return you get when you invest your money. Choosing to invest when you have credit card debt isn’t always a smart idea. An investment could bring in a surge of money to help you pay off your debt if you are lucky. However, if not then your debt will keep stacking up because of the interest and you could find yourself further out of pocket.

Am I losing money if I invest, in spite of my credit card debt?

The simplest way to comprehend this is by looking at the numbers. In other words, you should have a look at the return on investment. Some credit cards have interest starting from 17 per cent.

Thus, if you choose to do so, you could end up paying a higher interest rate due to your credit card debt. This will not bring you any earnings.

Unless you have a considerable amount of money directed towards investments, you’ll end up losing money. However, if you do have money at your disposal, it would be best to get rid of your credit card debt and only afterward proceed with the investment.

As soon as you finish paying off your credit card debt, you can maximise your earnings by investing. In truth, this is a fundamental practice for acquiring wealth. By combining savings and investments, you’ll reach a point where your money works for you.

How about saving for retirement?

Now moving on to retirement: does it make an exception to this rule? Yes. In fact, we find that it is highly recommended to invest in your retirement account via your work. After you have eliminated credit card debt for good, you can continue investing approximately 15 percent of your income.

save-retirement

For instance, after you have saved enough money for getting a home, a car, or any other significant purchase, you could start putting money aside for investments. We advise you to choose mutual funds; these enable you to diversify your investments, which is the key to success.

How do you start investing?

As a rule of thumb, if you aren’t acquainted with this procedure, you should ask for the assistance of a financial planner. He/she could aid you to plan wisely, to accomplish your financial objectives.

You could begin by using mutual accounts, as we pointed before. That’s because mutual accounts pose fewer risks, considering that they are shared by different stocks. In time, you could choose to invest your money in various ways. After you start to comprehend the way in which the market works, your earnings will grow.

Still, do bear in mind that it isn’t recommended to direct all your money towards a singular fund or share. Such a move is way too risky. Another option would be investing in real estate. However, bear in mind that in order to generate value, you should try to purchase it with cash, if possible.

To conclude, investing is a move that requires in-depth thinking and consideration. You shouldn’t go for it when you’re still in debt. However, when your financial status is on the right path, you should go for it (after carefully assessing your options, of course). Australian Lending Centre provides comprehensive financial advice, so if you want to start investing, you might want to talk to one of our consultants. With smart thinking and professional help, you might actually start reaping benefits.

And if you need to consolidate your credit cards to get rid of these debts, enquire with us today to find out how we can help you.

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Debt Management Credit Card Consolidation Home Loans

Credit Card Debt and Mortgages Being Managed Properly

This year has been a profitable one for Australian credit card debt and mortgages. According to the latest percentages, Aussies seem to be managing much better with their mortgages; their mortgage repayment appears to be going along much better than when compared with the previous year. Reports from the ABS data showed that their credit card debt had already dropped by 2.4% in January.

In the Money Survey from 2016, Mortgage Choice has discovered that at least ¼ of the respondents were faced with almost 12% month’s worth of wages in their offset account or going towards paying their mortgage. When compared to this situation, around 13% of Aussies claimed that they were facing this exact financial position somewhere around last year.

Aussies Can Now Manage their Credit Card Debt

CEO John Flavell has come to the realisation that today’s mortgage holders have become much more comfortable when it comes to dealing with their credit card debt. He also added that this isn’t surprising in the slightest since interest rates are currently standing at 60-year lows, which results in drastic mortgage repayments. This, in turn, makes it easier for homeowners to pay off their debts.

So, it seems Aussie cardholders have become used to managing their card debts, keeping it 34% lower in the month that followed Christmas. Average balances have gone from $77 to $3,114, and the conclusion was that the users are now savvier regarding the use of their credit cards. They are now paying off their debt before their deadlines and maximise their loyalty points by using their cards.

Australians have also become more imaginative when it comes to creating strategies that keep their balance down. They are now mostly opting for cards that have a 0% balance transfer, and thus they can pay off their balances without creating even more debt in return.

Ways to Manage Your Credit Card Debt

In case you were also wondering how to keep track of your credit card repayment, here are some money and credit card tips that could prove very useful.

  • Check your budget and see if you can make some extra mortgage repayments to lower your debt in interest which is going to get built up over time. Find a good strategy that would suit you, or look up for repayment calculators that will allow you to do the necessary calculations.
  • Make your next repayment a little higher than you normally do in order to lower your credit card debt. This way, you will be paying less interest.
  • Make use of features that are relevant to your home loan. Make extra payments to minimise the interest, then redraw the facility to make it convenient for you.

While managing your debts can prove to be difficult at first, with a little bit of research, you can find out ways to properly manage your mortgage and credit card debt.

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Credit Card Consolidation

How to Use Credit Cards to Your Advantage

Credit cards are known to be risky business for some people. If you have trouble balancing your budget every month then taking on a credit card or two should be your very last resort. If on the other hand, you are able to balance your monthly budget as well as save regularly then you are probably financially savvy enough to handle the responsibility of a credit card. Learn how to use credit cards to your advantage in this article.

Credit Cards – Tips and Tricks

Credit cards do generally have high interest rates on the balance that is left over after the pay period. If you always pay off your balance at the end of every billing period then you may be able to take advantage of the credit card. This is a huge convenience if you are short on cash just before pay day or if you have a big expense that your checking account cannot cover. It might usually take time to gather up the funds for that large purchase and if you pay off the balance when it is due then you have basically gotten yourself an interest free loan. You can look at it as a free loan from the time you made the purchase up until you pay it off. If the loan period is maximised then you could, in practice, get a 55 day loan without any interest.

You can have your credit card provider take the balance due directly from your savings account each month. Bypassing the tedious chore of transferring funds each month, you have essentially created an interest free form of cash available to you at any time. Any big surprises can be handled with the swipe of your plastic but this is all assuming that you can keep enough in your savings account to handle those payments.

If you are able to keep this balancing act going for long then you can take advantage of the incentives that some credit cards have such as points or cash back programs. A credit card with a good points program usually has a yearly fee. The fee can be outweighed by the big gains that can be made if you play the points game well. Having all of your purchases funneled through a points reward credit card can quickly grow your flight credits or give you big cash back returns. Some credit cards can also offer insurance on purchases. Even though all forms of credit including credit cards have risks, with discipline, the advantages can outweigh the risks.

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Debt Consolidation Credit Card Consolidation

Credit Card Debt Growing in Australians Aged Between 34 – 54

It is no surprise that Australian consumers between the ages of 34-54 have been cited as the biggest contributor to the near-record Australian national credit card debt. Half of the surveyed group named as Generation X which comprised of 1200 Australians admitted that they made up to three unplanned purchases using their credit cards each month. The research also showed that Generation X Australians are the least likely to pay off their credit card purchases in full each month. The effects of this is evident in the $51 Billion credit card debt in Australia, $33 billion of which is accruing interest, costing consumers more than $540 million a month. That is a whole lot of money being wasted on interest charges and the individual debt contributing to the national debt on credit cards.

The credit card debt growth in majority of Generation X is growing at an alarming rate. More and more Gen X Aussies are racking up credit card debt and not making regular repayments. In the end they get bad credit ratings and the only viable solution is debt consolidation. This process can help eradicate bad debts and in the long run increase credit rating. It is clear that Australians need help in order to stay financially stable. Although this sounds like a dire situation there is hope; there are a lot of consolidation companies who can help re-align finances.

Credit Card Debt in Gen X

Generation X probably has the most number of financially troubled people in it. It may be because of the financial burden they carry on their credit card debt. This is in fact the age group where credit card use has been most rampant and has done so irresponsibly too. This is also the group that is currently in extreme need of debt consolidation loans. Why opt for debt consolidation? Because new loans may result in a lower interest rate which means lower payment on your part. This also means it will be easier to pay off old debts and repair credit rating in the process. Getting a debt consolidation loan is where you will take out a new loan to pay off a number of other debts you have made in the past. It is undoubtedly a good solution to a bad credit problem. The process may be a little confusing so it is best to seek the help of professionals who have extensive experience in help out people with bad debts, especially credit card debt.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Avoid Holding High Interest Credit Card Debt

Surprisingly, while the national interest rate on cash has gone down in Australia the average interest rate on credit cards has risen. Now is definitely the time for Australians to consolidate their credit card debts. Credit card debt is a $50 billion burden on Australians and around $35 billion of that is getting interest added to it. The nation’s interest rate on cash for banks has sunk to 2.5 per cent but most credit cards have an interest rate of 17 to 22 with the highest rate going up to 23.5 per cent. You can avoid high-interest credit card debt with debt consolidation.

High Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt can be a vicious trap and now is one of the best times in recent history to escape that trap. Credit card consolidation can help manage a person’s mounting debt and help them dig themselves out from under those heavy interest payments. A personal loan to pay off the credit cards can have a much more competitive rate and can make the difference between hundreds or thousands of dollars in a very short amount of time.

National interest rates and credit card rates are not specifically linked together and there are some noted differences between the two. The debt on a credit card is not backed up by any collateral and is therefore a higher risk to the credit card companies than a house or a car. Based on that simple fact, the credit card companies can charge much higher rates.

As a consumer, you have the ability to shop around and find a way to consolidate that debt from different credit cards and total them all into one sum that can be charged at a lower interest rate. This is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to cut your interest payments and look to a brighter future without looming debt in your future. Credit card consolidation is the best way to battle large credit card debts and the large credit card companies that charge more and more each year.

The national cash interest rate has nearly halved in recent years but the credit card interest rate has barely budged and in some cases has even gone up. A person with multiple credit card debts has a great chance right now to trade in their credit card bills for one bill with a much lower rate by consolidating their credit card debt today.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Australia’s Credit Card Debt – What to Know

Australian consumers are now more cautious about their spending. They are now more inclined to increase their savings and clean up their credit card debts. This observation is according to financial experts from Bendigo & Adelaide Bank. They added that local households are now aiming to put their finances in better order due to the uncertainty about global economy especially after recent reports about credit woes in the US.
Australia’s credit card debt is proving to be interesting and conflicting.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Goodbye to Plastic Credit Cards

The Banks are getting in on the green act. Be on the look out for the launch of biodegradable credit cards. Virgin Money has announced that they will be launching a credit card that is literally green, both in colour and biodegradable materials.

I’m sure your thinking, if only they made the credit card debt dissolvable too.

There are now new and innovative ways to improve your debt problems. If you are struggling to make your debt repayments, then read on to find out how we can help dissolve credit card debt, along with other debts.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Eliminate Your Credit Card Debt

When you are in over your head with credit card debt, relief can seem unreachable. It can feel as though you are working as hard as you can just to make the minimum repayments. If you are serious about getting on top of your finances, then follow these steps to eliminate credit card debt be on your way to financial freedom.

Step 1 – Switch to a lower rate card

If you can switch your balance from a higher rate card to a lower rate card, you can save quite a bit of money. Even a card with a 5% lower interest rate will make a difference on the amount you owe on your monthly credit card statement. The money that you have then saved can be applied to reduce your debt even faster.

Step 2 – Make lifestyle adjustments

Many people find themselves falling into the trap of only paying the minimum credit card payment each month, but if you make a habit of this you will never get out of debt. Figure out ways that you can cut out weekly spending, such as eating from home or preventing yourself from making that impulse purchase that you know is not a necessity. Once you can eliminate your unnecessary spending habits, you can use the money you save to make larger repayments on your credit cards, and see your way to becoming debt free faster.

Step 3 – Don’t add to your debt

Make yourself a rule that you can only use your credit card for emergency payments or special purchases. Don’t use your credit card to purchase needless items. You may think it is convenient to make impulse buys on your credit card, but realistically they add up and you can end up paying more for them in the long term.

Step 4 – Call Australian Lending Centre

If you have been unsuccessful with the above steps, there is still hope. You can eliminate credit card debt by calling Australian Lending Centre on 1300 138 188. Speak with a debt consultant today. We specialise in debt solutions such as debt consolidation, debt agreements, debt consolidation loans, refinancing, mortgages and bad credit loans.

We may be able to help you consolidate your debts such as credit cards and personal loans into one so that you will only need to make one regular repayment as opposed to multiple. We also have a solution available that can freeze your current interest and prevent any further interest and charges. To find out more, call 1300 138 188 today.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Credit Card Debt on the Rise

Banks are hiking credit card interest rates, forcing many consumers into debt. This has put credit card debt on the rise.

Recent research from a National newspaper suggests that at least 5 major credit card providers have increased their interest rates within the past three months. This comes as a rude awakening for many as the Reserve Bank’s recent cash rate cuts of 2% should have seen the interest rates for credit cards drop.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Australian Credit Card Figures Increasing Higher Than Ever

The total value of credit card and charge card transactions, including cash advances, rose by 9.6% in March this year. Australians spent $18.78 billion on their credit cards and charge cards in March, up from $17.13 billion the previous month.

In February total credit card and charge card balances outstanding fell by 1% to $44.358 billion, from $44.799 billion. The value of cash advances on credit cards and charge cards increased by 7.4% to $1.034 billion in March, from $963 million in February. The number of credit card and charge card accounts increased by 11,000 in March, while the number of purchases using credit cards rose by 13.3%.

Total credit card and charge card balances outstanding rose by 4.3% over the past 12 months, compared with an average of 12.6% over the preceding five years.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Australian Credit Card Debt has Risen

The rising levels of credit card debt in Australia reached record levels in 2011. However, the number of repayments aimed at reducing credit card debt drastically fell.

While facing rising unemployment and a looming recession, Australians cut back on their credit card repayments by 7.1% in February. Australian credit card debt grew by 1.7% to a record $45.4 billion, equating to an average debt of $3,149 for every cardholder in the country.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Credit Card Spending was up in 2010

2010 saw Aussies coming out of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) with their credit cards surging.  In July, there was a banking report that stated we charged goods to our credit cards an astonishing 131 million times for the month.  This figure is greater than any July in history and 3% higher than July 2009.

In addition to putting more on our cards, we are also being more careless about increasing our debt.  In this same report in July, Aussies owed $47.8 billion which is approximately $3,268 per credit card.  These figures were up 6.5% from 2009 or $159 per card.  These are signs Australians spent 2010 thawing from the financial crisis and seem to be spending at a fast rate.  If these figures continued in trend, Aussies may find themselves deep in debt.

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Credit Card Consolidation

Practical Ideas to Manage Credit Card Debt

Have you noticed how almost every commercial establishment is now making irresistible offers just to convince you to spend and it’s usually using your credit card? Credit card firms are also increasing credit card limits for many consumers to encourage spending. The consequence is quite logical. Many consumers across Australia are now caught into a vicious debt trap. Credit card debt problems are now commonly part of household troubles. Here are some ideas to manage credit card debt.

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Credit Card Consolidation Debt Consolidation Debt Management Financial Fitness

Credit Card Debt Trap

Australians spent late 2009 on a credit card bender which has led to a 25% leap in work for debt collectors. Don’t fall into the credit card debt trap.

The debt trap is set to worsen, a new credit expectations survey has revealed. The survey has indicated that 4 in 10 Aussies will rely on their credit cards to pay essential bills this quarter.

The latest Reserve Bank figures show consumers spent more than $20 billion on credit and charge cards in November 2009, pushing the average credit card account balance to $3,196.

In further evidence of the growing dependence on debt, the survey has found 43% of Australians expect to use their credit cards to pay for otherwise unaffordable expenses in the March quarter.

In the case of 18 to 34-year-olds, 56% are expected to use credit cards to pay some of their bills, which is up by 11% on the previous quarterly survey. Those most likely to rely on credit are young adults and families with children, while nearly half of all families with children are expected to be paying bills with credit cards – up by 8%.

A credit card debt continues to rise; the amount of repayments aimed at reducing credit card debt has drastically fallen, forcing Aussies everywhere to look for credit card consolidation solutions.

Quick tips on credit card consolidation and debt reduction

  1. Use the equity in your home – refinance your home loan and consolidate credit card debt quickly
  2. Debt consolidation loans – Consolidate credit card debt into one affordable payment
  3. Pay your credit card debt in order of priority
  4. Credit card consolidation with a balance transfer
  5. Cut up your credit cards and avoid the temptation
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Credit Card Consolidation

Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt

Consolidate your credit card debt could be one of the smartest decisions you will ever make.

Get on top of credit card debt

Credit card consolidation is a good way to get on top of your debts and ensure a better credit situation for the future. Consolidation is becoming increasingly popular since the Australian Government introduced Part IX Debt Agreements to assist those that are currently in financial difficulty.

Use credit cards wisely

Credit cards, if used properly, can be great to have. However, if you are an emotional spender, not financially disciplined or not careful with your spending it is very easy to rack up debt before you realise you have a problem. It can sometimes take you months and possibly even years to get out of debt.

Understanding the true extent of your debt

If you feel that it is time to get your debts under control and do something about them, there are professionals who will assist you with the task of consolidating your credit card debt. The first thing to do is to look at your debt, and see exactly how much you owe. If you know what you owe and who all you owe it to, it will be much easier to get help.

Don’t leap into a Part IX Debt Agreement without exploring all other options

Before you consider entering into a debt agreement it is often useful to look at the credit card market and see if you can consolidate your current credit card debt onto a credit card with a low or even 0% interest rate.

Beware of additional fees

It is important to be aware of additional fees you may incur when taking out a new credit card. However, if you are in a situation where you can not manage your debt, another credit card may not be the best solution. In this case, you could consider a debt agreement. This is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors where you arrange to pay off as much as you can afford each month.

If you are in a position where you are trying to pay off a few credit cards, consolidation will put everything into one bill, therefore, making it easier for you to pay. Paying just one bill can help you save a lot of time, as well as preventing stress.

Only consolidate debts if you can reduce the overall amount of debt

Consolidating your credit card payments into one bill can make your finances more manageable; however, you should never do it for that reason alone. If doing this will result in you paying back more, then it is not a good idea. You need to consolidate your debts in such a way that you will reduce your overall monthly repayments.

If you would like professional assistance consolidating your debts feel free to contact the Australian Lending Centre on 1300 138 188.

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Debt Management Credit Card Consolidation Financial Fitness

Don’t Carry Debt in an Economic Downturn

Currently we are facing an economic downturn. In the final quarter of 2008 there were 1,991 debt agreements signed. According to ITSA this figure is up 37.12% on December 2007. This figure illustrates the increased number of Australians’ who are facing financial difficulty.

Carrying debt in a downturn can be more dangerous than ever. Predominantly people are getting themselves into financial difficulty through the use of credit cards and personal loans. According to Chris Riotto, Managing Director of Australian Lending Centre;

“In a downturn, it is more important than ever to seek debt advice. An increasing number of Australians are having to cope with a reduced income or unemployment, doing this with substantial debts can be particularly difficult, that is why I stress the importance of seeking advice at the earliest possible sign of trouble”.

Chris Riotto CEO ALC

A professional can assist you in sorting your financial troubles by analyzing your current situation, setting financial goals, and assisting you in achieving them. In some cases people may only need to cut back on their current expenses whilst others may need to look at debt solution products, either way, the sooner you get professional help the quicker and easier it will be to get your debts under control.

Assess your Debt in the Economic Downturn

Fido is currently advising consumer’s of the following:

“Ignoring debt problems will makes things worse. Interest will probably continue to be charged on top of the debt and any possessions secured against the debt (e.g. your car) may be repossessed and sold. Also, your credit rating is likely to be affected and you might be sued.”

Fido

It is often a good idea to question your financial situation, sooner rather than later. If you can answer yes to any of the below questions, it may be time for you to talk to a debt advisor.

  • Do your monthly expenditures exceed your monthly income?
  • Does your credit card balance feel like it never decreases?
  • Are you finding it difficult to save a regular monthly amount?
  • Do you need a loan to pay off your debts?
  • Have any of your creditors been in contact with you regarding the payment of your debts?

Readjusting your current spending patterns could significantly help to get you out of a poor financial situation. The Australian Lending Centre knows all about debt and have helped many Australians with financial problems. Australian Lending Centre provides a free, confidential service to all customers, call us on 1300 138 188. We offer effective debt management solutions to become debt-free.