The one bill Aussies won't skip paying


The one bill Aussies won't skip, borrowing power plunges 20%, and inflation figures to be updated monthly. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Australians have a clear bill-paying pecking order

Consumers are most likely to default on a maxxed-out credit card, especially if the card wasn't issued by their regular bank.

the bill aussies won't skip paying

That's according to research by the University of Sydney and credit bureau illion, which shows Australians have a clear pecking order for bills they are keen to pay - and those they're prepared to sidestep altogether.

The study found home loan repayments are one of the last debts Australians will default on.

But it's phone and internet payments that we are most reluctant to skip.

Michael Landgraf, manager of Bureau Analytics at illion, says, the importance we place on keeping up with phone repayments suggests "the smartphone is now a bedrock of people's livelihood".

Home buyers borrowing power drops 20%

If you're in the market to buy property, it could be worth catching up with your lender or mortgage broker to see how your borrowing power is holding up in the face of recent rate hikes.

In a speech this week, the Reserve Bank's Jonathan Kearns said the 2.25% increase in the cash rate since May "will have reduced borrowers' maximum loan size by around 20%".

Kearns added that the decrease in borrowing capacity may be even larger for those who have existing mortgage debt, such as property investors.

According to the Reserve Bank, only about one in 10 home buyers take out the maximum loan their bank will offer, so not all buyers will have their borrowing capacity clipped by the full 20%.

Inflation figures to come out monthly

In what could be a sign of these high inflation times, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has announced that from November it will publish Consumer Price Index (CPI) data monthly rather than quarterly.

The CPI is a measure of inflation, and the problem of using quarterly figures is that by the time results are released, they're already outdated. That matters when the Reserve Bank is using inflation data to determine interest rates.

The move to monthly CPI figures means our neighbour across the ditch - New Zealand, will be the only remaining OECD nation that uses quarterly inflation numbers.

Totally devoted to telcos

Australians remain loyal to their mobile phone providers even when it hurts their hip pocket.

Around half of all Australians have been with the same mobile provider for at least six years, and Finder research confirms almost one in three of us would stay with the same telco even if we were slugged with higher charges.

Finder's Mariam Gabaji, says, "It's easy to remain attached to the same provider you've been with from the get-go, but you won't be getting the best bang for your buck."

She adds, "If you're using significantly less data than your allowance per month it might be time to downgrade to a cheaper plan."

Gabaji points out that you can keep your phone number even if you switch to a different telco.

Small businesses warned to stay on top of GST

Collecting, holding and remitting GST is another chore small business owners have to wear. But the Tax Office has issued a harsh reminder that trying to dodge GST can come at a serious cost.

A South Australian restaurant owner has just seen his lifestyle go from gourmet to gruel after being served a five-year jail sentence for falsely claiming GST refunds to the tune of $613,000.

The Tax Office is urging business owners who may have fudged past GST returns to come forward by calling 1300 130 017 rather than wait and face even tougher consequences. Businesses must register for GST if annual turnover is above $75,000.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.
Jen B
September 24, 2022 9.35am

Hard to change Telcos when you live in a regional area and only Telstra gives you the most service. Even it is really bad at most times and they don't care because they know people won't use Optus or anything else... and then don't get me started on their NBN....