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Aussie carers to receive a hefty cash boost

<p>Australian carers are set for a hefty financial increase in addition to their ongoing support payments from July 1st. </p> <p><a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/carer-supplement" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Services Australia</a> confirmed that those receiving the Centrelink Carer Supplement will see a $600 cash boost automatically hit their bank accounts between July 3rd and August 2nd. </p> <p>Carers will receive the $600 annual supplement for each of the carer payments they receive.</p> <p>That includes the Carer Payment, which provides income support for over 300,000 Australians who, “because of the demands of their caring role, are unable to support themselves through substantial paid employment.”</p> <p>The payment will also supplement recipients of the Carer Allowance, which can be received in addition to income support payments, and is received by over 640,000 carers who “provide daily care and attention at home for a person with a disability, severe medical condition or who is frail and aged”.</p> <p>Those receiving the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service Pension will also be eligible for the cash boost. </p> <p>“How much you get depends on the percentage of care you provide,” Services Australia said.</p> <p>“You’ll get a Carer Supplement for each eligible payment you get. For example, if you get a Carer Payment and a Carer Allowance, you’ll get two Carer Supplements.”</p> <p>“This payment doesn’t add to your taxable income,” Services Australia said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Aussies hit with "hidden fees" for using common payment method

<p>Millions of Aussies have copped up to $1 billion in "hidden fees" for choosing to use one common payment method. </p> <p>Many are unaware about the secret extra charges that come with using the tap-and-go payment method, as millions of customers use it as the preferred way to pay and go. </p> <p>However, according to financial counsellor Scott Pape, also known as The Barefoot Investor, while tapping your card may be easier, it might not be great for your bank account.</p> <p>“What most people don’t know is that, when they tap, their bank generally defaults that payment through Visa or MasterCard, who pays them a fee — instead of defaulting that payment through the much cheaper bank-owned EFTPOS,” Pape said in his column for the <em><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/barefoot-investor/the-common-smartphone-app-thats-ripping-you-off/news-story/0b71afa29c86faf2b938c44f93bbc8d6?amp" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Daily Telegraph</a></em>.</p> <p>While some businesses choose to absorb the cost, others pass it on to the customer as a surcharge, as Pape says, “Talk about a rort.”</p> <p>According to the Royal Bank of Australia (RBA), Visa and Mastercard are generally more expensive for merchants than the EFTPOS network.</p> <p>Payments through EFTPOS are generally about 0.3 per cent of the transaction value, while Debit Mastercard and Visa Debit may cost many some people about 0.5 per cent.</p> <p>Mastercard and Visa credit could cost customers more than 0.75 per cent of the transaction, while American Express card payments are even more, charging merchants 1 to 1.5 per cent.</p> <p>Thankfully, according to Pape, there are ways to avoid paying the extra fees. </p> <p>If your bank card is attached to your smartphone, you can change the default payment setting.</p> <p>“On an iPhone, open ‘Settings’, go to ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’, then tap your debit card,” Pape said.</p> <p>“Then look for ‘Payment Option’. It will generally have ‘MasterCard’ or ‘Visa’ preselected, but instead you should select ‘EFTPOS SAV’.”</p> <p>This is not allowed on all cards, however, and those who use Android will need to check with their bank if a possible solution exists.</p> <div> </div> <p>The other way to avoid paying the surcharges is to just start inserting or swiping your card again.</p> <p>“I know it’s annoying, but if you swipe and insert your card you can choose ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ and it’ll go through the EFTPOS system, which at the bigger retailers means you’ll be less likely to be charged,” Pape said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Woman shares fury after unknowingly paying for her engagement ring

<p dir="ltr">A new wife has shared her fury after she discovered her husband had been paying off her engagement ring from their joint bank account. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 28-year-old woman was overjoyed when her partner proposed to her with an $8,000 two-carat lab diamond ring, which he bought on a payment plan because he “didn’t have the funds available” when he bought it. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple got married just three months later at the courthouse after they realised they could not afford a big, fancy wedding. </p> <p dir="ltr">After their big day, the new wife was shocked and annoyed when she discovered she had “unintentionally partially paid for two instalments”, which now makes her a “part owner of the ring”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I found out after we married and merged our finances that he has been withdrawing funds from our joint account — we make roughly the same — to finance this ring,” the furious woman shared in a Reddit thread.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have been having some arguments lately and he feels that the ring is a wedding expense and it’s only fair that I contribute towards it too, and that as a woman of this day I shouldn’t hesitate to be an equal partner.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She took particular issue with her husband for making her pay her share on what was supposed to be a gift from him.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was just taken aback and honestly put off by the fact he is making me pay for a gift he gave to me. You don’t make the recipient of a gift pay for the damn gift,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman said if she had known her husband was going to make her pay for the ring, she wouldn’t have agreed to “buy it”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Mutual consent is essential when a couple is deciding to invest in an asset. Owning a house or a car jointly requires two ‘yeses’ and I wouldn’t certainly have said yes to jointly owning a ring he was supposed to give to me as a gift,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although the woman admitted that she had asked her partner for a “nice” ring before he proposed, saying that she “deserved a quality piece symbolising our love”, she said she wished her partner talked to her about the big expense before signing her up for payments. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My then-fiancé knew about the expectation I had of him and was upfront about things from the get go,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He could’ve discussed things with me and we could’ve seen if we were truly compatible like that. What I didn’t know was that he was plotting to ‘get even’ with me by taking out a payment plan and using our funds to finance it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t mind splurging for him, but this whole situation has left a very bad taste in my mouth.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Now she’s demanding her husband return her engagement ring to the jewellery store because she refuses to pay for it.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Reddit post has racked up thousands of comments, with some people jumping to the woman’s defence. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “I’d be livid if I found out I was diamond poor instead of house poor.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, not everyone thought the wife’s actions were justified, with one person writing, “You’re married, there is no ‘my money’ and ‘his money’. Money he spends towards the debt for the ring is money that can’t be spent on other things for your lives together. You wanted an expensive ring, they aren’t free”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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“Completely tacky”: Bride slammed for asking for dinner payment

<p dir="ltr">A bride has caused a stir online after asking if it is appropriate to ask her wedding guests to pay for their meal when they RSVP to the big day. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman took to a popular wedding Facebook page to ask the opinions of other brides, sharing an example of her invitation created by her wedding planner. </p> <p dir="ltr">The invitation asks guests to confirm whether or not they will be attending the nuptials, before asking if the guest intends to eat at the wedding ceremony, and which meal they would prefer. </p> <p dir="ltr">The price of each meal was also included: $20 for grilled chicken with rice, mashed potatoes and green beans and $25 for a salmon alternative.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We invite you to eat with us but ask for you to provide your own payment. Please select which meal you'd prefer,” the invite stated. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My wedding venue requires me to purchase food through them for the reception, but has said people sometimes choose this option,” the woman wrote on Facebook. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Nothing about my reception is very typical anyway, SO I'm wondering how insane or rude or cost-effective/smart this is.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The planner set me this as an example of how to present it to guests.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But when the post was quickly criticised by others, the bride clarified the event was more of a “fun dinner party” rather than a “wedding” as she and her partner had already legally married five months prior. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Ultimately I'll do what I want BUT I did not choose this option. It was only a suggestion from the venue that I was curious about others' opinions on,” she added. </p> <p dir="ltr">“This is for the reception. I'm most definitely not asking for money or gifts and by the time they come to the reception, we will have already been married for five months.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The post was shared in another wedding shaming Facebook group and critiqued by dozens of wedding experts.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh hell no! This is completely tacky!” one wrote, another said, “So she asks if it is rude then gets offended when people say it's rude?”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am a veteran pro planner and would NEVER suggest this!” another said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Someone else wrote, “I'm especially shaming the venue for suggesting that people often pawn off the cost of dinner to their guests. Encouraging rude behaviour.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Body language expert breaks down royal family's Christmas card

<p>A body language expert has broken down the subtle meanings and messages hidden in the royal family's Christmas card. </p> <p>On Monday, Prince William and Kate Middleton shared their 2023 Christmas card portrait, which features the Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children in a charming black and white photo. </p> <p>While their family portrait was met with <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/blah-brutal-reactions-to-royal-family-s-2023-christmas-card" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mixed reactions</a>, royal fans wasted no time in praising the family for their charming photo. </p> <p>Now, body language experts have dived deep into the real meaning behind almost unnoticeable actions taken by the royals in the pic. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Body language analyst Judi James told <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/royals/24997829/kate-william-christmas-card-body-language-signal/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" data-ylk="slk:The Sun;elm:context_link;itc:0" data-rapid_p="26" data-v9y="1">The Sun</a></em> that, "The strong sense of tight, loving ‘uniformed’ grouping and the stark monochrome, plus the relaxed and confident body language looks like the emotional equivalent of them having a moat and drawbridge around them."</p> <p>Judi went on to say that their choice of relaxed outfits - jeans and white button-up shirts - would be an intentional choice as they show "the strength and total confidence of the pared-down family brand here, without all the trimmings and trappings of their royal status."</p> <p>As she notes, "We know they look superb in formalwear and royal regalia but this is the casual and much more relatable version."</p> <p>Judi also claims that Prince William's slight head tilt "suggests a desire to be liked", while "Kate leans into William’s torso to make this a subtly romantic pose too."</p> <p>Meanwhile, according to Judi, the position of Princess Charlotte right in the middle of the family could be intentional, who says "Charlotte looks so much like the late Queen and this central status-rich pose and beautiful smile are like echoes of Elizabeth when she was young."</p> <p>"This effect doesn’t look deliberate but it is still a rather moving message from this family Christmas card."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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“Privileged inbreds”: The Project host slams Charles and Camilla

<p dir="ltr">King Charles and Queen Camilla have been slammed by a co-host of <em>The Project</em>, who labelled them as “privileged inbreds” in the wake of their Christmas card. </p> <p dir="ltr">Nick Cody and the panel reacted to the royal family’s Christmas card, which shows Charles and Camilla posing in their royal regalia. </p> <p dir="ltr">The King and Queen stood in a stoic pose wearing their robes and towering crowns, with the message inside reading, “Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and New Year”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The monarch’s choice of attire didn’t go down well with Cody, who made his disdain for the couple clear on Monday night’s show. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0upAphhvLF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0upAphhvLF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Project (@theprojecttv)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I just need a moment here because, guys – I have some huge news from the weekend,” Cody began sarcastically. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Yes, the rumours are true. King Charles and Queen Camilla released their official Christmas card. I just want to say what everyone in Australia is thinking right now, thank you.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thanks very much, guys. It’s a wonderful festive treat that absolutely nobody asked for, and yet you delivered,” he continued, eliciting laughs from the panel and audience members. </p> <p dir="ltr">“You two look like a randy couple approaching me at a bar at 3am to say that you’ve been watching me and really ‘dig my vibe’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Cody then went on to highlight the ongoing cost of living crisis in both Australia and the UK, and how out of touch the card seemed to many people who are struggling. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pagR3M5fD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pagR3M5fD/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I love the brazenness of the card statement too,” he continued. “Sure, people in Australia and the UK are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table this Christmas. They’re doing it tough. But despite all that external noise and the fact you gave yourself a massive 45% pay rise this year, you still found the courage to pose for this picture while wearing a $9.5 million hat. Your family jewels must be epically large, mate. Respect.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>The Project</em> presenter then went on to double down on his criticism, and revealed that he’d made his very own Christmas card just for the royal couple.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So, as a small gesture, I have made this Christmas card for you,” said the star, before showing a picture of himself sitting on the toilet giving the King and Queen the middle finger. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I hope you enjoy it. Like you, I also shot it in May while sitting in my personal throne room. To Charles and Camilla, from me, Nick, the colony’s other privileged inbred, Merry Christmas!”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: The Project</em></p>

TV

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"Blah": Brutal reactions to royal family's 2023 Christmas card

<p>Royal fans have shared their mixed reviews of the 2023 Christmas card portrait, featuring Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three children. </p> <p>The Prince and Princess of Wales shared their family photo to their Instagram account on Sunday, with the snap showing the royal family of five all dressed in similar outfits: simple black pants or jeans, and white button up tops.</p> <p>The photo, taken in black and white, shows Kate and William standing behind their three kids, while Prince George and Prince Louis standing around Princess Charlotte, who was seated for the photo. </p> <p>The post of their family Christmas card picture has racked up over 2 million likes, with thousands of people sharing their thoughts on the snap in the comments. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Many were quick to comment on the similarities between the younger royals and their predecessors, with many stating that "Princess Charlotte looks like a young Queen Elizabeth", while others shared their thoughts on how much Prince Louis is looking like his mother. </p> <p>Despite many royal fans delighting over the card, there were some mixed reactions from others. </p> <p>Royal commentators online were quick to point out how this year's card, all in black and white, is a stark contrast to last year's photo, which shows the family walking hand-in-hand in the sunshine. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CmH_qcOtUx_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CmH_qcOtUx_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>While acknowledging that the photo is objectively lovely of the family, some wish that the portrait had a bit more Christmas spirit. </p> <p>One person wrote on X, "This doesn’t look like a Christmas Card. Looks like a Vogue edit’s choice cover from the 90s. Beautiful but not Xmassy!"</p> <p>Another added that the image looked like it was "taken at a photo studio in a shopping mall," while another disappointed fan said it was "Kind of... Well, blah."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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How risky is it to give card details over the phone and how do I reduce the chance of fraud?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-haskell-dowland-382903">Paul Haskell-Dowland</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ismini-vasileiou-1031778">Ismini Vasileiou</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/de-montfort-university-1254">De Montfort University</a></em></p> <p>Paying for things digitally is so common, most of us think nothing of swiping or tapping our card, or using mobile payments. While doing so is second nature, we may be more reluctant to provide card details over the phone.</p> <p>Merchants are allowed to ask us for credit card details over the phone – this is perfectly legal. But there are minimum standards they must comply with and safeguards to protect consumer data.</p> <p>So is giving your card details over the phone any more risky than other transactions and how can you minimise the risks?</p> <h2>How is my card data protected?</h2> <p>For a merchant to process card transactions, they are expected to comply with the <a href="https://docs-prv.pcisecuritystandards.org/PCI%20DSS/Standard/PCI-DSS-v4_0.pdf">Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard</a>. This is a set of security requirements designed to protect cardholder data and the trillions of dollars of transactions each year.</p> <p>Compliance involves various security measures (such as encryption and access controls) together with strong governance and regular security assessments.</p> <p>If the information stored by the merchant is accessed by an unauthorised party, encryption ensures it is not readable. That means stealing the data would not let the criminals use the card details. Meanwhile, access controls ensure only authorised individuals have access to cardholder data.</p> <p>Though all companies processing cards are expected to meet the compliance standards, only those processing large volumes are subject to mandatory regular audits. Should a subsequent data leak or misuse occur that can be attributed to a compliance failure, a <a href="https://www.csoonline.com/article/569591/pci-dss-explained-requirements-fines-and-steps-to-compliance.html">company can be penalised</a> at levels that can escalate into millions of dollars.</p> <p>These requirements apply to all card transactions, whether in person, online or over the phone. Phone transactions are likely to involve a human collecting the card details and either entering them into computer systems, or processing the payment through paper forms. The payment card Security Standards Council has <a href="https://docs-prv.pcisecuritystandards.org/Guidance%20Document/Telephone-Based%20Payments/Protecting_Telephone_Based_Payment_Card_Data_v3-0_nov_2018.pdf">detailed guides for best practice</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>A policy should be in place to ensure that payment card data is protected against unauthorised viewing, copying, or scanning, in particular on desks.</p> </blockquote> <p>Although these measures can help to protect your card data, there are still risks in case the details are misplaced or the person on the phone aren’t who they say they are.</p> <h2>Basic tips for safe credit card use over the phone</h2> <p>If you provide card details over the phone, there are steps you can take to minimise the chance you’ll become the victim of fraud, or get your details leaked.</p> <p><strong>1. Verify the caller</strong></p> <p>If you didn’t initiate the call, hang up and call the company directly using details you’ve verified yourself. Scammers will often masquerade as a well-known company (for example, an online retailer or a courier) and convince you a payment failed or payment is needed to release a delivery.</p> <p>Before you provide any information, confirm the caller is legitimate and the purpose of the call is genuine.</p> <p><strong>2. Be sceptical</strong></p> <p>If you are being offered a deal that’s too good to be true, have concerns about the person you’re dealing with, or just feel something is not quite right, hang up. You can always call them back later if the caller turns out to be legitimate.</p> <p><strong>3. Use secure payment methods</strong></p> <p>If you’ve previously paid the company with other (more secure) methods, ask to use that same method.</p> <p><strong>4. Keep records</strong></p> <p>Make sure you record details of the company, the representative you are speaking to and the amount being charged. You should also ask for an order or transaction reference. Don’t forget to ask for the receipt to be sent to you.</p> <p>Check the transaction against your card matches the receipt – use your banking app, don’t wait for the statement to come through.</p> <h2>Virtual credit cards</h2> <p>In addition to the safeguards mentioned above, a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/virtual-credit-card-numbers-guide/">virtual credit card</a> can help reduce the risk of card fraud.</p> <p>You probably already have a form of virtual card if you’ve added a credit card to your phone for mobile payments. Depending on the financial institution, you can create a new credit card number linked to your physical card.</p> <p>Some banks extend this functionality to allow you to generate unique card numbers and/or CVV numbers (the three digits at the back of your card). With this approach you can easily separate transactions and cancel a virtual card/number if you have any concerns.</p> <h2>What to do if you think your card details have been compromised or stolen?</h2> <p>It’s important not to panic, but quick action is essential:</p> <ul> <li> <p>call your bank and get the card blocked so you won’t lose any more money. Depending on your situation, you can also block/cancel the card through your banking app or website</p> </li> <li> <p>report the issue to the police or other relevant body</p> </li> <li> <p>monitor your account(s) for any unusual transactions</p> </li> <li> <p>explore card settings in your banking app or website – many providers allow you to limit transactions based on value, restrict transaction types or enable alerts</p> </li> <li> <p>you may want to consider registering for <a href="https://theconversation.com/your-credit-report-is-a-key-part-of-your-privacy-heres-how-to-find-and-check-it-116999">credit monitoring services</a> and to enable fraud alerts.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>So, should I give my card details over the phone?</h2> <p>If you want to minimise risk, it’s best to avoid giving card details over the phone if you can. Providing your card details via a website still has risks, but at least it removes the human element.</p> <p>The best solution currently available is to use virtual cards – if anything goes wrong you can cancel just that unique card identity, rather than your entire card.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216833/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-haskell-dowland-382903">Paul Haskell-Dowland</a>, Professor of Cyber Security Practice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ismini-vasileiou-1031778">Ismini Vasileiou</a>, Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/de-montfort-university-1254">De Montfort University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from </em><a style="font-style: italic;" href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a><em> under a Creative Commons license. Read the </em><a style="font-style: italic;" href="https://theconversation.com/how-risky-is-it-to-give-card-details-over-the-phone-and-how-do-i-reduce-the-chance-of-fraud-216833">original article</a><em>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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The move to a cashless society isn’t just a possibility, it’s well underway

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/angel-zhong-1204643">Angel Zhong</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>When was the last time you used cash? For many Australians using cash or even swiping a card has become a rare event.</p> <p>The move towards a cashless society started 50 years ago with the introduction of the Bankcard and was driven by technological advancements. But it really took off with the COVID pandemic when consumers and retailers were reluctant to handle potentially infected notes and coins.</p> <p>The federal government last week underscored its recognition of this trend by <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/modernising-payments-regulation">unveiling reforms</a> to regulate digital payment providers.</p> <p>Treasurer Jim Chalmers said: "As payments increasingly become digital, our payments system needs to remain fit for purpose so that it delivers for consumers and small businesses. We want to make sure the shift to digital payments occurs in a way that promotes greater competition, innovation and productivity across our entire economy."</p> <p>From big cities to remote rural corners the shift towards digital payments is evident. This raises the question, is a cashless society inevitable?</p> <h2>The phenomenal growth of the digital payments</h2> <p>The convenience of digital transactions has become irresistible for consumers and businesses and has led to the sector eclipsing traditional payment methods.</p> <p>The relentless march of technology has produced myriad innovative platforms from mobile wallets to buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) schemes, each vying for a piece of this burgeoning market.</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.ausbanking.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Bank-On-It-%E2%80%93-Customer-Trends-2023-1.pdf">report</a> by the Australian Banking Association paints a vivid picture of the digital payment industry’s explosive expansion.</p> <p>The use of digital wallet payments on smartphones and watches has soared from $746 million in 2018 to over $93 billion in 2022. Cash only accounts for 13% of consumer payments in Australia as of the end of 2022, a stark contrast to 70% in 2007.</p> <p>Digital wallets are popular with most age groups. Young Australians aged between 18 and 29 are leading the pack, with two thirds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">using digital wallets</a> to pay for goods and services.</p> <p>About <a href="https://www.ausbanking.org.au/almost-40-leave-wallets-at-home/">40% of Australians</a> are comfortable leaving home without their actual wallets or even credit or debit cards, as long as they have their mobile devices with digital wallets.</p> <p>The astonishing speed at which Australians have embraced digital payments places the country among the top users of cashless payments globally, surpassing the United States and European countries.</p> <p>Digital wallets are not the only players in this space. The use of BNPL products is also growing rapidly in Australia, which was where many of the large-scale products in this category started.</p> <p>The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) reports the total value of all BNPL transactions increased by <a href="https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-672-buy-now-pay-later-an-industry-update/">79% in the 2018–19 financial year</a>. This continues into 2022 with an annual growth beyond 30% according to the <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/annual-reports/psb/2022/the-evolving-retail-payments-landscape.html">Reserve Bank of Australia</a> (RBA).</p> <p>PayID and PayPal payments are also claiming their shares in this space.</p> <h2>Are government regulations necessary?</h2> <p>The government’s planned regulation of the system, contained in amendments to the Reforms to the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998, is a big step towards establishing a secure and trustworthy cashless society in Australia.</p> <p>It will subject BNPL and digital wallet service providers like Apple Pay and Google Pay to the same oversight by the RBA as traditional credit and debit cards.</p> <p>The regulations will require providers meet clear standards for security measures, data protection and dispute resolution to give Australians confidence their funds and personal information are safeguarded.</p> <p>With increasing concern over cyber attacks, the regulations will help reduce the risk of fraudulent activities and money laundering and help identify suspicious transactions, maintaining the integrity of the financial system.</p> <p>Also, regulation will promote fair competition and market stability by levelling the playing field and by preventing monopolies.</p> <p>While banks support the forthcoming regulation, new market players are less positive. For example, Apple Pay says it is merely <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/new-rba-powers-to-regulate-apple-google-payments-20231010-p5eb6d">providing technical architecture</a> rather than payment services.</p> <p>The current regulatory debate is not new. When credit cards made their debut in Australia in the early 1970s, there were hardly any safeguards for consumers. This led to card users being hit with high interest rates on money owed, sneaky fees and aggressive marketing tactics.</p> <p>Consequently, regulations were introduced to hold card providers to a standard of responsible behaviour. Today, they must openly disclose interest rates, fees and charges, and follow stringent guidelines in advertising their products and services.</p> <p>Regulating digital wallet providers strikes a crucial balance between innovation and accountability, ensuring life-changing technology continues to serve the public interest.</p> <p>The shift towards a cashless society in Australia isn’t just a possibility, it’s already well underway.</p> <p>The blend of technological advancements, changing consumer preferences and regulatory adaptations has set the stage for this transformation. The new regulations will help Australians navigate this transition more confidently.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215446/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/angel-zhong-1204643"><em>Angel Zhong</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-move-to-a-cashless-society-isnt-just-a-possibility-its-well-underway-215446">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Major fuel savings for seniors

<p>Major fuel savings are now on offer for over 1.6 million seniors over the age of 60 across New South Wales, as the government adds fuel discounts to the list of benefits for NSW Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card holders. </p> <p>Senior card holders will be eligible for the new United Discount Fuel Card, which offers savings of 4c per litre at participating service stations, which can be used once daily for single transactions up to 150 litres. </p> <p>Anyone over 60 can become cardholders of the Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card, which allows them to save on fuel, energy, insurance, cybersecurity, pet adoption and vet services, and groceries.</p> <p>United Petrol head of loyalty Judith Russell said that after they've signed up for the card, “members then need to show and scan this United fuel discount card at the time of purchase at participating United service stations to save the four cents per litre.”</p> <p>The Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison shared their excitement to launch this discount. </p> <p>"We’re excited to launch the program’s first fuel discount with United Petroleum, an Australian-owned business offering discounts to members at the bowser.”</p> <p>“This brand-new discount has been added to the wealth of Seniors Card savings to help keep more money in seniors’ pockets and ease price pressure at the pump.”</p> <p>For those who want to apply for the fuel card, they can <a href="https://www.unitedpetroleum.com.au/fuel-discount-cards/our-partners/nsw-seniors-card/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sign up here </a>for a digital or plastic card, and find out the participating service stations here. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Lump sum, daily payments or a combination? What to consider when paying for nursing home accommodation

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anam-bilgrami-1179543">Anam Bilgrami</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>Moving yourself or a loved one to a nursing home can be <a href="https://theconversation.com/should-we-move-our-loved-one-with-dementia-into-a-nursing-home-6-things-to-consider-when-making-this-tough-decision-189770">emotional and difficult</a>. While some have their nursing home accommodation costs fully covered by the government (based on a <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/how-much-will-i-pay">means test</a>), most will have to pay their own way.</p> <p>The average lump sum room value is <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/08/ninth-report-on-the-funding-and-financing-of-the-aged-care-industry-july-2021.pdf">A$334,000</a>. Choosing how to pay can make this time even more challenging, particularly for those with <a href="https://theconversation.com/would-you-pass-this-financial-literacy-quiz-many-wont-and-its-affecting-expensive-aged-care-decisions-175063">low financial literacy</a>.</p> <p>This is an important and complex decision. It can affect your income, wealth, means-tested aged care fee, and bequests. Here are some things to consider before you decide.</p> <h2>3 ways to pay</h2> <p>You can <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/understanding-aged-care-home-accommodation-costs">pay</a> for a nursing home room in three ways.</p> <p>You can pay the entire room price as a one-off, refundable lump sum (a “refundable accommodation deposit”, sometimes shortened to RAD). This lump sum is refunded to the resident or their estate when the person leaves the nursing home (if they move or pass away).</p> <p>The refund is <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/aged-care-home-accommodation-refunds">guaranteed by the government</a>, even if a provider goes bankrupt.</p> <p>People who don’t want to pay a lump sum can instead choose rent-style, “daily accommodation payments” (sometimes shortened to DAP).</p> <p>These are fixed, daily interest-only payments calculated on the total room price. The rate at which they are calculated is known as the “maximum permissible interest rate” or MPIR.</p> <p>The maximum permissible interest rate is set by the government and is currently <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-06/base-interest-rate-bir-and-maximum-permissible-interest-rate-mpir-for-residential-aged-care_0.pdf">7.9%</a> per annum. The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/residential-aged-care/managing-residential-aged-care-services/managing-accommodation-payments-and-contributions-for-residential-aged-care#accommodation-payment">formula</a> for a daily accommodation payment is (RAD × MPIR) ÷ 365.</p> <p>Unlike lump sums, daily accommodation payments are not refunded.</p> <p>The third option is a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/residential-aged-care/managing-residential-aged-care-services/managing-accommodation-payments-and-contributions-for-residential-aged-care#accommodation-payment">combination payment</a>. This means paying part of the room price as a lump sum, with daily payments calculated on the remaining room amount. On leaving the home, the part lump sum is refunded to the resident or their estate.</p> <p>With a combination payment, the consumer can choose to pay whatever amount they like for the lump sum.</p> <p>The table below shows three different ways someone could pay for a room priced at $400,000.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=432&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=542&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=542&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540310/original/file-20230731-130241-shaphm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=542&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="attribution"><a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">CC BY</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>So which is best? It’s impossible to say. It depends on a person’s circumstances, family situation, finances, preferences and expected length of stay.</p> <h2>Why do some people choose a lump sum?</h2> <p>One downside of a lump sum (or part lump sum) is that choosing this option means this money is not invested elsewhere.</p> <p>By handing over the lump sum, for example, you forgo returns you could have made by investing this same money into property or stocks over the period of your nursing home stay.</p> <p>On the other hand, paying lump sum means you get to avoid the daily interest payments (the 7.9% in the table above).</p> <p>So you could potentially be better off paying a lump sum if you think there’s no way you could make investment returns on that money that are substantially higher than the interest you’d be charged through daily payments.</p> <p>One advantage of choosing a lump sum is it’s considered an <a href="https://www.dva.gov.au/get-support/health-support/care-home-or-aged-care/help-pay-home-or-aged-care/residential-aged-0">exempt asset</a> for pension purposes; some people may get more <a href="https://www.afr.com/wealth/personal-finance/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-aged-care-deposits-20200302-p54606">pension</a> if they pay the lump sum.</p> <p>The lump sum, however, does count as an asset in determining the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/residential-aged-care/charging-for-residential-aged-care-services/residential-aged-care-fee-scenarios-for-people-entering-care-from-1-july-2014">means-tested care fee</a>.</p> <p>And if you sell your house, remember any money leftover after you pay the lump sum will be counted as assets when you’re means-tested for the pension and means-tested care fee.</p> <h2>Why might some people prefer daily payments?</h2> <p>Not everyone can can afford a lump sum. Some may not want to <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-it-worth-selling-my-house-if-im-going-into-aged-care-161674">sell their home</a> to pay one. Some may want to hold onto their house if they think property prices may increase in the future.</p> <p>Daily payments have recently overtaken lump sums as the most <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/08/ninth-report-on-the-funding-and-financing-of-the-aged-care-industry-july-2021.pdf">popular payment option</a>, with 43% of people paying this way. However, recent <a href="https://amp-smh-com-au.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.smh.com.au/money/super-and-retirement/aged-care-interest-rate-increase-sees-daily-payments-almost-double-20230324-p5cuz2.html">interest rate rises</a> may slow or reverse this trend.</p> <p>And if a spouse or “<a href="https://www.dva.gov.au/get-support/health-support/care-home-or-aged-care/residential-aged-care/aged-care-costs">protected person</a>” – such as a dependant or relative that meets certain criteria – is still living in the house, it’s also exempt from assets tests for the pension and other aged care fees.</p> <p>If the home is vacated by a protected person, its value is still excluded from the pension means test for <a href="https://www.dva.gov.au/get-support/health-support/care-home-or-aged-care/help-pay-home-or-aged-care/residential-aged-0">two years</a> (although rental income is still assessed).</p> <p>If you do not anticipate a lengthy nursing home stay, daily payments may potentially be the easiest option. But it’s best to consult a financial adviser.</p> <h2>What does the research say?</h2> <p>My <a href="https://www.mq.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/1190086/What-drives-end-of-life-financial-decisions.pdf">research</a> with colleagues found many people choose the lump sum option simply because they can afford to.</p> <p>Those <a href="https://ahes.org.au/portfolio-items/entering-aged-care/">owning residential property</a> are more likely to pay a lump sum, mostly because they can sell a house to get the money.</p> <p>People who consult financial advisers are also more likely to choose lump sums. This may be due to <a href="https://www.afr.com/wealth/aged-care-costs-most-opt-for-pay-as-you-go-20181023-h170g4">financial advice</a> suggesting it’s tough to earn investment returns higher than what you’d save by avoiding the interest charged in the daily payment option.</p> <p>Some aged care providers <a href="https://www.mq.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/1164243/the-role-of-refundable-accommodation-deposits-FINAL.pdf">prefer</a> lump sum payment since they <a href="https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/providers/prudential-standards/permitted-use-refundable-deposits">use</a> these to renovate or refurbish their facilities. But providers are not allowed to influence or control your decision on how to pay.</p> <p>The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care recommended <a href="https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-03/final-report-recommendations.pdf">phasing out</a> lump sums as a payment option, leaving only daily payments. While that would reduce the complexity of the payment decision and remove the incentive for providers to sway decisions, it would also reduce consumer choice.</p> <h2>Is there anything else I should know?</h2> <p>Some 60% of people we <a href="https://www.mq.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/1190086/What-drives-end-of-life-financial-decisions.pdf">surveyed</a> found the decision complex, while 54% said it was stressful.</p> <p>It is best to seek professional <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/understanding-aged-care-home-accommodation-costs#financial-advice">financial advice</a> before you decide.</p> <p>Services Australia also runs a free <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/what-financial-information-service?context=21836">Financial Information Service</a> that can help you better understand your finances and the payment decision. But it does not give <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/financial-information-service-officers?context=21836#a2">financial advice or prepare plans</a>.</p> <p>You have <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/residential-aged-care/managing-residential-aged-care-services/managing-accommodation-payments-and-contributions-for-residential-aged-care">28 days to choose a payment method</a> after admission, and six months to pay if you <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/residential-aged-care/managing-residential-aged-care-services/managing-accommodation-payments-and-contributions-for-residential-aged-care">choose a lump-sum payment</a>.</p> <p>In the interim, you will be charged daily interest payments on the room price.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/207405/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anam-bilgrami-1179543">Anam Bilgrami</a>, Research Fellow, Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/lump-sum-daily-payments-or-a-combination-what-to-consider-when-paying-for-nursing-home-accommodation-207405">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Cash could be almost gone in Australia in a decade – but like cheques, who’ll miss it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Late last year, the Reserve Bank gave 1,000 Australians diaries and asked them to record every payment they made over the course of a week. Of the 13,000 payments, only <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">17</a> were with cheques.</p> <p>It’s been an astounding collapse. Back in 1980 at the start of the credit card era, <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/1996/oct/pdf/bu-1096-2.pdf">85%</a> of non-cash payments were made with cheques. Today it’s less than <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">0.1%</a>.</p> <p>Earlier this month, the government announced it was following <a href="https://www.justice.govt.nz/about/news-and-media/news/the-ministry-is-phasing-out-payment-by-cheque/">New Zealand</a>, Denmark, the Netherlands and <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-death-of-the-cheque-book-australia-to-phase-out-cheques/qu0e4xf55">others</a>, closing our cheque system down by <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/modernising-payments-infrastructure-phasing-out-cheques">2030</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, New Zealand is already on to the next thing. Having <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300011579/bnz-anz-westpac-to-phase-out-cheque-use">phased out cheques</a>, it’s now looking at winding down the use of <a href="https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/project/sites/rbnz/files/research/future-of-cash-issues-paper.pdf">cash</a>.</p> <p>So how close is Australia now to becoming a cash-free nation?</p> <h2>The hidden costs of cheques and cash</h2> <p>Cheques are horrendously expensive to process. The average cost of everything that had to happen to process a cheque exceeds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">$5</a> per payment, mostly borne by banks.</p> <p>But cash is expensive in its own way. The average cost of creating, sorting and trucking all those sheets of plastic and coins exceeds <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">50 cents</a> per payment, mostly passed on to banks and retailers, and it is soaring as the number of payments plummets.</p> <p>As recently as 2007, the vast bulk of consumer payments – 69% – were in cash. By 2019 only 27% were in cash. By 2022, after two years of COVID, it was only <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/consumer-payment-behaviour-in-australia.html">13%</a>.</p> <p>At this rate, it’s hard to be certain how long cash will last.</p> <h2>What made cheques so slow and costly</h2> <p>For those who’ve never had to write one, cheques are bank-issued pieces of paper on which the owner writes the name of the person they want the bank to pay and the amount. They they hand it to that person, who then hands it to their bank, which then tries to get the money from the payer’s bank.</p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Behind the scenes, until recently when the electronic transmission of digital images changed things, each bank would collect all the cheques that had been presented to its branches each day and sort them into bags, one for each originating bank.</p> <p>Then, late at night, its “bag man” would travel to a nondescript city location with a bag for each bank, hand the correct one to each of the other bagmen, and be given bags in return, which the bagman would take back to the bank for signature checking.</p> <p>When each bank worked out what it owed the other bank, they would usually discover the flows largely cancelled each other out, and then make net payments which would be reflected in the cheque-writer’s account, up to five business days later.</p> <p>Always expensive, the cost per cheque grew and grew as the number of Australians paying with cheques dwindled to a fraction of what it had been.</p> <h2>How moving cash became a loss-making business</h2> <p>It’s the same sort of story with cash. Although we don’t often think about it, cash costs an awful lot to move, sort and restock.</p> <p>Printing the notes still makes money – it costs about 32 cents to make each note, whether it’s worth $5 or $100, although making some coins now <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-mint-and-note-printing-australia-make-billions-for-australia-but-it-could-be-at-risk-190901">loses money</a>.</p> <p>The real expense is in moving notes and coins around, keeping them nearby and restocking banks and cash registers. Aside from payments the Reserve Bank makes to banks for returning damaged notes, the banks (and, through them, the retailers) are expected to pay for the lot.</p> <p>Until recently that gave the two firms that dominate the business (Linfox Armaguard, and Prosegur, which owns Chubb Security) a pretty good deal.</p> <p>Except that the volume of cash they’ve carried has dived <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/public-registers/documents/Application%20for%20merger%20authorisation%20-%2027.09.22%20-%20PR%20VERSION%20-%20MA1000022%20Armaguard%20Prosegur.pdf">47%</a> over the past ten years, 30% of it during COVID.</p> <p>Both firms say their money-moving arms are incurring “heavy financial losses” and that if they increase their prices much more, retailers might move even <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532829/original/file-20230620-48940-4a5amn.PNG">further away from cash</a>, pushing their costs even higher.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Last week, the Competition and Consumer Commission allowed them to <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/public-registers/mergers-registers/merger-authorisations-register/linfox-armaguard-pty-ltd-and-prosegur-australia-holdings-pty-ltd-proposed-merger">merge</a> on the condition that they limit their price increases to the consumer index plus 7.5% per year. That increase is so steep as to suggest a <a href="https://www.energynetworks.com.au/news/energy-insider/the-death-spiral/">death spiral</a>: the more they charge, the less retailers will use cash, the more they’ll have to charge.</p> <p>The only way out, unless they can make really big efficiencies, or unless the decline in the use of cash stops, would be for the government to return to subsidising the use of cash. It’s hard to see how it could make the case to do that when there are cheaper emerging technologies.</p> <p>Bank transfers cost a <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2014/pdf/rdp2014-14.pdf">mere fraction</a> of using cash, and pretty soon we’ll be able to use them for everything, via things such as <a href="https://www.mobiletransaction.org/qr-code-payment-works/">QR codes</a>.</p> <h2>So when will cash go the way of cheques?</h2> <p>A previous federal government has already tried to eliminate the use of cash for transactions worth more than $10,000, as part of its attack on the black economy.</p> <p>Announced in 2016 by the Turnbull Coalition government, the ban was due to come into force in <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/kelly-odwyer-2016/media-releases/tackling-illegal-behaviour-black-economy">2019</a>. But, after delays, in 2020 the Morrison-led Coalition government <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-07/cash-ban-law-10000-dollars-abandoned-amid-covid-crisis/12951720">backed down</a>.</p> <p>If Australia wants to ban cash (and ban it for small transactions too – cash is now used less than cards for transactions <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/cash-use-and-attitudes-in-australia.html">of all sizes</a>) the easiest solution might be simply to wait.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="HykMF" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/HykMF/10/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Cards are now the dominant means of exchanging money, and electronic transfers are growing from a small base.</p> <p>Pure extrapolation would suggest cash has less than a decade to go, but it will probably hang around for longer as an (expensive, little-used) backup that maintains privacy.</p> <p>Like cheques, cash will probably die <a href="https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/08/06/bankrupt/">gradually, then suddenly</a>. By the time it does, there will be few users left who care.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208020/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cash-could-be-almost-gone-in-australia-in-a-decade-but-like-cheques-wholl-miss-it-208020">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Big changes for Bunnings Warehouse snags

<p>There’s nothing quite like a weekend shop at Bunnings, largely because it means there’ll be a fresh snag waiting for you post-shop, and with the hardware store’s latest announcement, it will be even easier to get your hands on one.</p> <p>Bunnings Warehouse has announced it is rolling out mobile payment options for customers who aren’t carrying cash or coins on them.</p> <p>Until now, most Bunnings sausage sizzles largely relied on cash payments, at the discretion of each community group that hosts their sausage sizzle, but the cardless concept proved difficult in a largely cashless economy.</p> <p>The Bunnings website states, "Not-for-profit organisations are able to book a sizzle with their local store - they need to bring volunteers and adequate supplies and Bunnings helps with the rest.”</p> <p>"The rest" being the addition of free mobile payment facilities.</p> <p>"We offer a free mobile payment option to community groups fundraising through sausage sizzles at our stores, providing an easy way for them to maximise fundraising and offering customers a cashless way to pay for their snag and support their local community group," said Bunnings General Manager Operations Matt Tyler in a statement.</p> <p>There will be no additional cost to customers or community groups, who previously had to bring their own EFT machine if they wanted to pay by card.</p> <p>Bunnings Warehouse will be incurring all the transaction fees to ensure community groups get 100 per cent of all the money raised.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock / Instagram</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Common credit card mistakes to avoid

<p>If you regularly use your credit card, you’ll know how easy it is to plonk down the plastic for your shopping and other purchases. It’s also easy to forget those pesky card payments that follow. </p> <p>Along with the convenience of credit cards comes the danger that your bills can quickly snowball into a major debt that can linger for years if not managed properly. </p> <p>It pays to be aware of the pitfalls of credit cards and ensure you’ve got good habits in place to avoid them as much as possible. The following are a few suggestions:</p> <p><strong>Shop around for the best card deals</strong></p> <p>Don't make the mistake of signing up for the first credit card offer that arrives in your mailbox. Go online and look for the best possible card terms and features to suit you. Credit card rates can vary significantly, depending on the card and type of promotion offered.</p> <p><strong>Rewards programs</strong></p> <p>Following on from the point above, make sure the card you choose provides features you genuinely need and will actively use. Credit card rewards are promoted to make consumers think they’re getting something for free. But when you add up what it costs to earn rewards, a rewards program may not be much of a perk. For instance, credit cards that offer rewards often have much higher interest rates than cards with no rewards.</p> <p><strong>Keep track of your spending</strong></p> <p>While using a credit card sometimes feels like you’re not really spending money, not keeping track of your spending can wreak havoc on your finances. Carry a small notebook or if you’re more tech savvy, use one of the many apps available on your phone to record your purchases so you won't get a nasty shock when you receive your monthly statement. Make sure you check your statements regularly too.</p> <p><strong>Late and minimum payments</strong></p> <p>Credit card payments that aren’t paid on time result in late fees and higher interest rates. Read through your credit card statement carefully so you know when the payment is due. Consider auto-payment facilities or put a recurring note in your calendar each month a few days in advance of your payment due date to ensure you don’t miss it. Most card statements list the date that payments must be received by to avoid penalty interest fees. Ideally, it’s best to pay the full amount every month. Only paying the minimum amount will make the situation worse over time by attracting cumulative interest payment penalties.</p> <p><strong>Using cash advances</strong></p> <p>While they’re a tempting option, cash advances attract higher interest rates and should be used with care.</p> <p><strong>Handle with care!</strong></p> <p>Credit cards can be useful financial tools when used responsibly. Getting into good habits can ensure you take full advantage of the benefits while avoiding the traps.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"What am I going to do?”: Centrelink mother points out crucial flaw in new budget policy for parents

<p>An unemployed mother who relies on Centrelink benefits has broken down while noting a fatal flaw in Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ Federal Budget promises to parents.</p> <p>Jessica Blowers told ABC’s <em>Q&amp;A</em> program that she will be forced off the Single Parent Payment when her daughter turns eight in August, leaving her unable to afford the rent increases.</p> <p>Currently, single parents can claim the Parenting Payment of $949.30 a fortnight until their youngest child turns eight. By September 2023, the age limit for the pay rise to when the youngest child is 14, as part of Chalmers’ budget.</p> <p>Ms Blowers is one of many copping the brunt of it as her daughter’s 8th birthday is four weeks before the new rules begin.</p> <p>She will also see a rent increase during that period from $900 a fortnight to $960.</p> <p>“What am I going to do? What is my choice, other than I am doing my best to get a job so that I can keep a house over my daughter's head,” she stressed to the treasurer.</p> <p>“When I'm applying for the jobs, I am faced with being told that more than 100 other candidates have applied for the same jobs - I'm not sure how I am supposed to compete against 100 other people for one job.”</p> <p>Ms Blowers added she “would like to know what measures the government has in place to bridge the gap that I and other parents in similar situations will find ourselves in”.</p> <p>“I don't have anywhere to go because I am paying my entire pension in rent. Everywhere else in Sydney is comparable to that.”</p> <p>Although sympathetic to her situation, Chalmers said those suffering like Ms Blowers were “the reason why we are lifting the age from eight to 14”.</p> <p>“This is something we were really keen to do in the Budget because we recognise the pressure that you are under as a single mum,” he explained.</p> <p>However, Chalmers was adamant that the new system could not be introduced any earlier than September 20, 2023.</p> <p>“We've tried to do is bring that change in as soon as possible. We think September is the soonest that we can do it,” he said.</p> <p>“I understand that that means a few weeks for you going from the current payment onto JobSeeker and (then) back onto the single parenting payment.</p> <p>“I would love to avoid that if we could, but what we're trying to do is provide this extra assistance ... that you need and deserve. If we could avoid those couple of weeks, we would, but September is the best we can do.”</p> <p>In total, some 57,000 single parents, 90 per cent of whom are women, will benefit from the new scheme.</p> <p>Previously they would have been moved onto the lower JobSeeker rate when their youngest child turned eight.</p> <p>“By age 14, children have typically settled into high school and need less parental supervision, and single parents are in a much stronger position to take on paid work," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said when the policy was announced.</p> <p>Historically, the single parent payment was eligible for singles with children aged up to 16.</p> <p>But former prime minister John Howard, later supported by Julia Gillard, cut the age to eight in an attempt to encourage parents back into the workforce.</p> <p>Two advisory bodies have called for the government to extend the payment and the eligibility criteria.</p> <p>It is understood mutual obligation requirements will remain in order to continue encouraging parents to go back to work.</p> <p>Speaking to Nova radio in Perth, Mr Albanese explained he knew “firsthand what it's like to grow up with a single mum doing it tough”.</p> <p>“We want to look after single parents because we know that the role that they play in raising their children is such a priority for them and they’re deserving of more support,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credit: ABC Q&amp;A</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Over-55s the only group to receive Centrelink payment boost

<p>Older recipients of JobSeeker will receive a higher welfare payment as the federal budget is set to include an increase in payments for 227,000 Aussies.</p> <p>According to <em>7News</em>, the budget will include an increase in the base rate of the JobSeeker for people aged 55 and above.</p> <p>The change honours Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ promise that an increase “will be focused on the most vulnerable”.</p> <p>Finance Minister Katy Gallagher previously committed to a “significant improvement” in terms of the budget.</p> <p>When asked if the rate of JobSeeker would be lifted, Gallagher revealed the budget would contain “ongoing” investments to help people with cost-of-living pressures, in addition to one-off measures.</p> <p>“This budget will have a significant cost-of-living package and that cost-of-living package will be targeted to the most vulnerable Australians,” she said.</p> <p>About 227,000 Jobseeker recipients are 55 and over, which is the highest number of any age group and the group most likely to be unemployed long-term, meaning they are without a job for five years or more.</p> <p>The majority of people in this group are women.</p> <p>Senior sources reportedly told <em>7News</em> that the increase will be modest, not the $100-a-week advocates are hoping for but what the budget can afford.</p> <p>The change is unlikely to please Raise the Rate campaigners, who have called for the government to bring payments above the poverty line.</p> <p><em>7News </em>reported that the government will sell the moderate increase as a “responsible first step”, an increase that will help the most vulnerable of JobSeeker recipients and honours its election commitment to do what it can to help within the restraints of the budget.</p> <p>The pressure continues to pile up for the government to substantially increase income support payments above $49.50 a day for singles on JobSeeker and $40.20 a day for Youth Allowance.</p> <p>An open letter to the Prime Minister, which has been signed by more than 300 politicians, community advocates and prolific Aussies, called for an increase to be included in the budget to support those most in need.</p> <p>“Right now, the rate of JobSeeker is so low that people are being forced to choose between paying their rent or buying enough food and medicine,” the letter, coordinated by the Australian Council of Social Service, read.</p> <p>In 2022, the council’s research found six in 10 people on income support were eating less or reporting difficulty getting medicine or care due to their inadequate income. This increased to seven in 10 in March 2023.</p> <p>The budget plans to extend single-parenting payments and increase rental assistance - particularly for women.</p> <p>Around $120 billion in Morrison Government road and rail projects will be reviewed and money reprioritised, with hundreds of smaller projects likely to be stopped.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Only days left for one Aussie state's residents to make $1000 claim

<p dir="ltr">New South Wales residents who faced the brunt of July 2022’s floods have only one week remaining to claim their $1000 lump sum payment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the Disaster Recovery Payment [DRA] - of $1000 per adult and $400 per child - as he set off to tour some of the hardest hit regions in July 2022. The news gave some hope to those who had lost everything in the disaster that swept through their homes, and the chance to secure the likes of clothing, food, and temporary shelter.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the peak of the devastation, over 100 evacuation orders - amounting to roughly 85,000 people - had been issued across the state, with thousands of properties inundated, with SES crews responding to over 370 flood rescues, and a frightening 7600 help requests. </p> <p dir="ltr">People living in the local government areas [LGAs] that were directly impacted by the floods are eligible, although certain criteria must be met. Service Australia outlines that you (or a dependent child to whom you’re the principal carer) must be an Australian citizen or hold an eligible visa, be in an eligible LGA, and must be claiming the payment for the first time. </p> <p dir="ltr">Those whose homes suffered major damage due to the floods and required either repair or replacement in certain areas, as well as those whose “major assets” - the likes of caravans, vehicles, water tanks, and sheds - were also in need of repair or replacement are eligible for the payment as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">And residents who were seriously injured, or had an immediate family member (who is/was an Australian citizen) die or go missing in the floods, are also eligible. </p> <p dir="ltr">Furthermore, individuals who lost income as a direct result of the floods may be able to get the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment [AGDRP]. If this is the case, they are then also able to claim the DRA.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for which LGAs the payment covers, residents from the following who felt the floods’ impact should look into it: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Cumberland, Dungog, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kempsey, Kiama, Lake Macquarie, Lithgow, Liverpool, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Nambucca Valley, Narromine, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, Oberon, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Port Stephens, Randwick, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Strathfield, Sutherland, The Hills, Upper Lachlan, Warren, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly, and Wollongong. </p> <p dir="ltr">New South Wales residents who are eligible only have until April 5 to make their claim. To check your eligibility status, <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/who-can-get-new-south-wales-floods-july-2022-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment?context=62849">head to Service Australia</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Husband ordered to pay for 25 years of unpaid housework

<p>A man has been ordered to pay his ex-wife a hefty six-figure sum for 25 years of unpaid domestic labour. </p> <p>Ivana Moral's ex-husband was ordered to pay her 204,624€ - or just over $327,000 AUD - in a record divorce settlement, based on the average minimum wage throughout their marriage.</p> <p>The separated couple, who live in Spain and share two daughters, took the issue to court as the ruling stated that Ivana had spent almost all of her time looking after their family and working as a housewife during their marriage. </p> <p>Ivana's husband must also pay her a pension of $797 (AUD) per month as well as $639 and $957 to his two daughters, who are now aged 20 and 14, for compensation for their childhoods. </p> <p>The mother-of-two, who married her ex in 1995 before asking for a divorce in 2020, has said she is happy with the payout after years of hard work.</p> <p>"Clearly this was a case of abuse to be completely excluded financially (by my ex-husband) with nothing left after my marriage ended, so me and my daughters were left with nothing after all these years of putting all my time, energy and love in the family," she told <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/woman-payout-unpaid-housework-record-divorce-settlement-2193153" target="_blank" rel="noopener">inews</a>.</p> <p>"I was supporting my husband in his work and in the family as a mother and a father. I was never allowed access to his financial affairs; everything was in his name."</p> <p>Since getting married and starting a family, Ivana had dedicated herself "to essentially working in the home, which meant looking after the home and the family and all that involves," the court ruling said. </p> <p>The couple's marriage was governed by a separation of property regime, which Ms Moral's husband had asked her to sign at the start of their marriage, which is similar to a pre-nuptial agreement. </p> <p>It specified that whatever each party earned was theirs alone, with them only sharing possessions, which would have left Ms Moral with no access to any of the wealth acquired through years of partnership. </p> <p>Ivana said her husband "made me take on the specific role" of doing domestic chores, to the extent that "I was in a place where I couldn't really do much else."</p> <p>She also said the sentence had made her "very happy" because it was "very well deserved".</p> <p><em>Image credits: Malaga Tribune</em></p>

Legal

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Dad’s horror at six-year-old’s massive bill

<p>A young boy from Michigan has learned a tasty lesson in money management.</p> <p>Six-year-old Mason Stonehouse had been playing on his dad’s phone when he discovered his soon-to-be favourite app - food delivery service Grubhub. </p> <p>After putting his son to bed, Mason’s father Keith was shocked to find delivery drivers began to frequent their doorstep, one after the other leaving something behind. Keith likened the strange evening to a<em> Saturday Night Live</em> skit, and in doorbell camera footage he could be heard asking one of the drivers “what the hell is going on?” </p> <p>A look at his phone confirmed that Mason had pulled off a parent’s nightmare - the boy had ordered almost $2,000 (AUD) of food from restaurants all across their town. </p> <p>Speaking with <em>TODAY.com</em>, Keith explained that the two were having father and son time in front of the TV when Mason asked to use Keith’s phone. Mason often uses his dad’s phone to play educational games, so Keith thought nothing of it, allowing Mason 30 minutes with the device. </p> <p>Keith recalled how Mason made his way downstairs to play, and went to bed without a fuss when his half hour was up. </p> <p>“A 6-year-old going to bed is not normally an easy thing but he was surprisingly really good,” he said. “There was no fight, no ‘I’m hungry’, or making up stuff to stay up. He just went to bed, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is amazing, I wish Mom was here to witness this’. And all of a sudden I hear the doorbell.”</p> <p>To various news outlets, Keith has mentioned how it was “car after car” that kept “coming and coming” to the family’s home in Chesterfield Township. In his own Facebook post about the incident, he shared Mason’s shopping list, telling his friends “if you’re hungry and you’re in the mood for 5 orders of jumbo shrimp, salad, grape leaves, rice, 3 hanis, several orders of chilli cheese fries, chicken shawarma sandwiches, and plenty of Ice cream - swing on by SMH.”</p> <p>Keith saw Mason’s delectable adventure to an end when his bank declined an order of $635 (AUD) for pepperoni pizza. As he told <em>Good Morning America</em>, this “would’ve been on top of the $1,000 worth of food that was piling in my kitchen.”</p> <p>This wasn’t even Mason’s first order of the evening from the same establishment - Happy’s Pizza for a happy Mason - with a sizable jumbo shrimp delivery already having made it to their doorstep. </p> <p><em>MLive.com </em>heard from Keith that he tried to speak to Mason about what had happened, but soon discovered that their priorities weren’t exactly aligned, “I was trying to explain to him that this wasn’t good and he puts his hand up and stops me and says, ‘Dad, did the pepperoni pizzas come yet?’”</p> <p>“I had to walk out of the room. I didn’t know if I should get mad or laugh,” he admitted. </p> <p>Whether the entire situation prompted more amusement or exasperation from the Stonehouses, they assured everyone that none of Mason’s bouncy went to waste, with the food going to their neighbours, and their phones well away from Mason’s sneaky shopping. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle release Christmas card

<p dir="ltr">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released their Christmas card which didn’t include their two children.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Christmas card was delivered to Archewell subscribers via email wishing everyone a joyful holiday season.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Wishing you a joyful holiday season,” the card read.</p> <p dir="ltr">“From our family to yours, and on behalf of our teams at The Archewell Foundation, Archewell Audio, and Archwell Productions, we wish you health, peace, and a very happy new year!”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, many pointed out that the card was missing a photo of their children - Archie, 3, and daughter, Lilibet, 1.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I wonder why, as it’s from their family to yours that 2 of their immediate family (children) are missing from the card,” someone wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Where are the children?” another asked.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the other hand, many said that the Christmas card is the Sussexes business one and they may release another with Archie and Lilibet.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This looks to be an official business holiday card not their official family holiday card,” someone pointed out.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That’s their business holiday card. No doubt they’ll have a family card as well. It’s a very common practice,” another wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is believed that Archie and Lilibet were left off the card because of their “basic right to privacy”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meghan previously spoke about her children’s privacy in the 2021 tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey about how “comfortable” she is or isn’t sharing photos of her children.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you’re at work and you have a photograph of your child on your desk, and your co-worker says, ‘Oh, my gosh, your kid’s so cute. That’s fantastic! Can I see your phone so I can see all the pictures of your child?’ You go, ‘No. This is the picture I’m comfortable sharing with you’,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And then if they double down and say, ‘No, but you already showed me that one. So you have to show me everything. You know what, I’m just gonna hire someone to sit in front of your house, or hide in the bushes and take pictures into your backyard, because you’ve lost your right to privacy … because you shared one image with me’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She also previously mentioned how she didn’t want her children to be the subject of racial slurs which she claims were used by the British media.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child?” Meghan told the <em>Cut</em> back in August.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Archwell Productions</em></p>

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