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ANZ ordered to pay back fees, online hotel bookings in spotlight

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Online hotel bookings in spotlight

Expedia and the Priceline Group, the two biggest companies in the hotel booking site game, have come under fire in a report by ABC's prime-time consumer program The Checkout.

It claims hotel booking sites have been increasing commissions, with Expedia raising its cut from 9% to 15% in the past six years.

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This appears to be pushing up prices for those who book online, as The Checkout found savings of up to 25% by booking directly through a hotel website.

While this may be in breach of parity clauses hotels have to sign with online sites, you can always try calling a hotel directly before you book online and see if it will beat the price. If you're a frequent traveller, hotel loyalty clubs can provide exclusive discounts and extras.

ANZ to pay refunds

ANZ has been ordered to pay back about $5 million after it did not properly apply fee reductions and waivers for low-income customers.

It's thought around 25,000 of ANZ's Access Basic account holders with ANZ consumer credit cards or Everyday debit cards are affected by the problem, which the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says was caused by a breakdown between the bank's automated and manual processes. ANZ's Basic account is for low-income customers who are unable to pay high fees. ASIC says the penalty should remind banks of the importance of appropriately managing manual processes.

ETFs set a record

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are the flavour of the year. A BetaShares-Investment Trends report says a record number of investors - 258,000, up 27% - intend to use the products in the next year.

The number of ETF investors grew by 37% in the year to October 2015, exceeding expectations; 71% of them said they would consider reinvesting in ETFs in the next 12 months.

Additionally, there was strong demand for actively managed ETFs, with 61% of planners citing an interest in using the products. It appears that ETFs are on the way to becoming mainstream in Australia, as in global markets.

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Steph Nash was a staff writer at Money until 2017.
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