Woolworths backflips on Everyday Extra decision


Woolworths backflips on Everyday Rewards decision, new sukuk ETF launches, and November triggers $6 billion spending frenzy. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Woolies' flips decision to cut online rewards

Loyal Woolworths shoppers can now earn Everyday Extra rewards when they shop online as well as in-store.

woolworths backflips on everyday extra discounts

Woolies' Everyday Rewards Extra program gives shoppers a chance to earn additional rewards including 10% off one shop each month at both Woolworths and Big W.

However, the savings come at the cost of a $70 annual, or $7 monthly, subscription fee.

So, understandably, plenty of subscribers were less than impressed when Woolworths announced back in July that the 10% discount would only be available on in-store purchases.

This week saw Woolies backflip on the controversial decision, with subscribers to Everyday Extra now able to score a discount when they shop online.

It comes as consumer group CHOICE listed Woolworths and Coles in its annual lemon fest - the Shonky Awards.

CHOICE says the two supermarket giants have cashed in during a cost-of-living crisis, posting supercharged profits above pre-pandemic levels.

Woolworths Group reported a $1.62 billion annual profit in August. Coles Group notched up a $1.1 billion annual profit.

Australia's first ever Sukuk Active ETF launched on ASX 

Hejaz Financial Services, an Islamic finance provider, has just launched Australia's first ever 'sukuk' exchange traded fund (ETF).

The Hejaz Sukuk Active ETF (ASX:SKUK) enables investors to access a shariah-compliant fixed-income asset, similar to a traditional bond ETF.

Hejaz says it's a step towards financial inclusion for Australia's 800,000-strong Muslim community, which is typically excluded from traditional financial products because the earning or payment of interest is not permitted under shariah principles.

Unlike traditional bonds which derive yield from debt interest, sukuk are structured to comply with Islamic law, with investor returns considered to be profit sharing rather interest.

The Hejaz Sukuk Active ETF is targeting a return of 8% per annum, after fees.

Shoppers expected to spend over $6 billion in November sales frenzy

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says shoppers are tipped to spend $6.36 billion across the four-day Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend (November 24-27), an increase of $188 million on 2022.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says, "While projections are looking somewhat flat for the pre-Christmas period, retailers will be pleased that the Black Friday weekend sales event appears set to buck this trend."

Black Friday started off as an American shopping tradition, but has become a global phenomenon, with millions of Aussies set to take part this year, using the sales extravaganza to purchase festive gifts.

A survey by Compare the Market found Australians each plan to fork out an average of $715 on Christmas presents this year.

CBA opens the door to investors with small deposits

Property investors are heading back into the market, with the value of new investor loans up 2% in September, and 2.6% higher compared to last year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Mish Tan, ABS head of finance statistics, says, "Since February 2023, the value of new housing loan commitments have trended upwards, with total growth in investor loans exceeding owner-occupier loans."

The upswing comes as CommBank has extended its Extra Home Loan to be available for investors with just 5% deposit, up from a minimum of 10% previously.

Having a smaller deposit will mean paying a higher rate.

Borrow with just 5% and you'll pay 7.69%, compared to 7.39% for investors who can stump up a 20% deposit for the Extra Home Loan.

In other mortgage market news, NRMA Insurance is throwing its hat in the home loan ring, with the introduction of NRMA Home Loans.

Delivered in partnership with Tic:Toc, NRMA Home Loans will offer a digital home loan platform, with loans funded by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

The NRMA Home Loans standard variable interest rate for owner-occupiers is 5.83%. NRMA Insurance customers will be eligible for a special offer.

Cheap tickets to a sold-out concert? NAB warns it could be a scam

NAB has introduced additional proactive alerts to its digital banking to help music lovers identify potential ticket scams.

Proactive alerts were first introduced to the NAB App and NAB Internet Banking in March 2023 and have now been expanded to target ticket and marketplace scams, which are estimated to have cost Australians $36 million in 2023.

NAB's manager of security advisory and awareness Laura Hartley says customers may receive a real-time alert in the NAB app or NAB internet banking if a payment shows signs it could be a scam.

"Scammers play on our FOMO for concert tickets, often responding to fans who post on social media looking for tickets, or listing bogus ones online that don't actually exist," Hartley says.

"While many customers ultimately complete their payment after receiving an alert (from NAB), we know they are stopping and pausing because we see around $220,000 worth of payments abandoned daily."

Hartley adds, "Be extremely cautious about buying tickets online via social media. We're hearing about criminals hacking social media profiles and selling bogus concert tickets to the account owner's friends, who aren't aware someone else is controlling the account.

"Even if it's a friend you legitimately know, pick up the phone and talk to them directly before sending money."

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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.