Aussie turn their backs on branches: what you've missed this week


Aussies turn their backs on bank branches in the wake of COVID, and Nimble releases a new card that tailors the interest rate to the user.

Here are five things you might have missed this week.

Nimble's new card

nimble bank branches

Aussie lender Number is launching Nimble AnyTime, a virtual MasterCard that provides customers with a fixed credit limit of up to $10,000.

Created following research that found a quarter of Aussies were unable to pay an unexpected credit card bill of $1000, which rises to one in three (33%) for 18-24-year-olds and 30% for 25-34-year-olds

The card works with customers to determine an interest rate based on their personal circumstances.

Users will have full control of their repayments. Nimble claims that the interest rate will be competitive given that customers will need to pay off the debt in full within a year, faster than regular cards.

"The reality today is that people move jobs frequently, rent their homes, and require a more nuanced approach to accessing credit; whether that's to cover an unexpected bill or to fund a special occasion," says Nimble CEO Gavin Slater.

The fact that one in four would be unable to pay an unexpected bill of $1000, is proof of the need for change. Through the launch of Nimble AnyTime we're doing exactly that; catering directly to a growing market and the evolving needs of Australian consumers today."

Betashares goes all-in with bank hybrids

ETF provider Betashares has launched the BetaShares Australian Major Bank Hybrids Index ETF (ASX: BHYB), providing investors with a way to gain exposure to listed hybrid securities by the Big Four Australian banks.

Hybrid securities combine debt and equity elements, providing investors with franked income returns with reduced capital value volatility.

BHYB aims to track the performance of a diversified index of hybrids issued by the four largest Australian banks, with a management cost of 0.35% per annum.

"Record low interest rates present a significant challenge for investors seeking income," says Betashares CEO Alex Vynokur.

"Our new ETF offers attractive income, but only holds hybrids backed by our 'Big 4' banks, which are among the most profitable and prudentially sound banks in the world. BHYB offers investors who understand the features and risks of hybrids a convenient, cost-effective way to access this unique asset class."

Losses to car ads on the rise

Already this year Aussies have lost more than $288,000 to vehicle scams, more than the total losses reported to the ACCC's Scamwatch in 2019.

Vehicle scammers post ads to popular cars for cheap ticket prices. They then seek payment for the car, but then fail to deliver the car.

"As second-hand car sales increased during the pandemic, unfortunately so did vehicle scams. If current trends continue, Australians could lose much more to vehicle scams this year than the $1 million lost in 2020," says ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.

The ACCC notes that 97% number of vehicle scammers are galivanting as defense personal who claim to be selling their car prior to deployment, which provides cover for the urgency and low price.

"It is relatively common for scammers to claim that they are travelling or moving away to avoid meeting buyers before payment," says Rickard.

"Always try to inspect the vehicle before purchase and avoid unusual payment methods. If you have any doubts, do not go ahead with the deal."

Aussies turn their back on bank branches

Global fraud technology specialist GBG and data intelligence firm RFi Group have published research that reveals that Aussies are turning away from bank branches as they opt to instead do their banking online, a shift driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research found that 88% of consumers can see no resumption of their branch usage post-pandemic, while 40% indicated that during the pandemic they completed a banking task via digitally that they otherwise would've done at a branch.

"It's clear that, unlike going back to a favourite restaurant or visiting a local cinema, Australians aren't looking forward to returning to physical bank branches," says Australian regional general manager at GBG, Carol Chris.

"The pandemic gave Australians an opportunity to explore how financial services could be accessed more conveniently through digital and mobile products, and consumers are now demanding financial institutions to find ways to make these products the new norm, in even more efficient, easy to use, and frictionless ways."

Millions set to fall short on superannuation savings

Research from Industry Super Australia estimates that millions of low and middle-income Australian families will not have enough to retire unless the government raises the superannuation guarantee.

Namely, if the super rate is frozen at 9.5% about half of all middle-income Australian families will not reach the benchmark of a retirement income that is 65% of what they earned while working.

"It's time the government re-commits to lifting the super rate to 12% - no ifs, no buts and no maybes," says Industry Super Australia chief executive Bernie Dean.

"If the government cuts super millions will not have enough for retirement and will have to drastically change their lifestyle. For some people, it could mean choosing between a night out or keeping the heater on, and for others it might mean selling their house just to keep going."

Get stories like this in our newsletters.

Related Stories

David Thornton was a journalist at Money from September 2019 to November 2021. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.