Government closes HECS loophole for Aussies who move overseas


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HECS loophole closed

A loophole for students trying to escape their higher education debts has been closed. Until recently, the federal government couldn't legally reclaim HECS debt from Australian students who live overseas.

Initially proposed in the May 2014 budget, legislation was passed in early November requiring expats to repay all HECS and HELP debts. The change will come into effect in July 2017 and is expected to reap the federal government more than $150 million over the next decade.

hecs loophole closed

Amex points can soon be spent on Airbnb stays

Peer-to-peer accommodation website Airbnb recently launched a new "fintech" program to add to its successful operations. In November it announced a new partnership with American Express, where holders of Amex cards can sign up, log in and book with Airbnb through their Amex account.

Amex rewards have also been extended for use with Airbnb rentals, so you can save up and use points for your travel accommodation. At present the facility is only valid for US-issued cards but it is likely to be rolled out across the globe.

It is expected Airbnb will announce a similar partnership with MasterCard in the US, after a test web page detailing a new Airbnb-MasterCard rewards scheme was made live accidentally on November 7.

ANZ owes bonus interest

It hasn't been a good year for the big banks. ANZ is the latest to face the wrath of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), after failing to accurately apply bonus interest rates to its Progress Saver Accounts (PSA) over a number of years.

The bank now has to compensate some 200,000 customers, which will cost it up to $13 million. PSA holders qualify for bonus interest payments each month when they satisfy strict conditions.

ANZ reportedly "misaligned" the monthly cycle that determined whether an account holder was eligible for a bonus. Current PSA account holders would have received a letter in the mail detailing the issue.

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Steph Nash was a staff writer at Money until 2017.