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Francis Church

Are credit repair companies effective? Here’s what you need to know about credible credit repair

So your credit score is shot. And you need to borrow money, open a utilities account, or rent a home. If only you could repair your credit. Chances are you’re at your wits’ end and don’t know what to do. It feels unfair that your old defaults are holding you back. Credit repair is possible (sometimes). But beware of the credit repair industry. They can promise a lot but deliver – well, not very much.  Their services to offer to…

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Will closing my credit cards hurt my credit score? Consider this first

You’d think closing off credit cards or other accounts would boost your bankability in the eye of providers. The reality is that sometimes it can do exactly the opposite. Closing off some accounts after paying down your debt may actually lower your credit score. Take mortgages for example. It would be natural to think that clearing your home loan would improve your credit score. But hold that thought. One of the lesser known things that could hurt your credit score…

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Debunking 5 of the most common credit myths

Where do you get your credit score information? According to Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) research, many of us rely on less-than-authoritative sources. Their Financial Behaviour and Attitudes tracker found that just over a third of us use bank websites for information on financial products (while definitely authoritative, they may not be independent). Around one-fifth rely on friends and family, while only 10 per cent (roughly) use a professional financial adviser. When it comes to your credit, it pays…

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Eat all the smashed avo you want, house prices won’t go down

It’s time to give millennials a break. It’s easy to pretend younger generations don’t work hard to get a home loan, but the reality is house prices compared to income are far, far higher than they used to be. Reserve Bank of Australia research shows that back in 1985, the dwelling price to income ratio across the main five capitals sat around 1:3 for most, with Sydney closer to 4:1. Now, these are all above 6:1. While there are many…

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Hand holding cardboard credit card
Did you know the first credit card was made of cardboard? Here are five random (but fascinating) facts about credit cards

The first credit card was cardboard The first independent credit card was Diners Club, founded in 1949 after hungry co-founder Frank McNamara took clients out to dinner and realised he’d left his wallet in another suit. His wife paid the bill and Frank thought up a charge card that would help him avoid embarrassment next time. He pitched the idea to the restaurant owner, and next day consulted his lawyer to get the ball rolling. Frank’s first Diners Club card…

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Nine ways to sabotage your own credit score

I’m working hard to improve my credit score these days. In the past I was a bit of a bad boy when it came to paying bills – so I’ve been looking into what will kill your credit score, and fast. Real fast. But just so you know: a good credit score is 500 or more on the scale of 0 to 1,000. Most of us Aussies sit between 400 to 600. Over 800 is brilliant. Anything less than 400 is…

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Cyber security
Fighting fraud: How biometrics and artificial intelligence are helping to keep you safe online

Once upon a time bank robbers needed guns and balaclavas. Today a mouse and keyboard can be more dangerous. Every year too many Aussies are defrauded by cyber criminals, resulting in annual losses of more than $2b, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology. One common fraud method is ‘phishing’, where the victim clicks on what looks like a genuine email from a company such as their bank, an online trading site, or another organisation. Except that it’s not their…

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Swiping right on Tinder? Watch out for STDs. (That’s Sexually Transmitted Debts)

It’s the great untold illness of personal finance. That’s sexually transmitted debts (STDs). It’s bad enough to build up your own debt. But when you shack up with someone else you often take on their debt as well. It’s easy to do. You spot someone across the bar, or on Tinder. The next thing you’re wildly in lust and then you become one. Bet you didn’t ask how big his or her debt was before falling head over heels for…

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Set up ninja bill payment systems, manage your finances and put your life on ‘automatic’. Here’s how

Ouch. You’ve just been pinged with failed automatic payment and a $20 dishonour or unarranged overdraft fee. Come on. Admit it. You’ve paid extra fees or failed to get prompt payment discounts for bills that you knew were coming up but failed to pay. That’s just throwing money down the toilet and possibly damaging your credit history.  My own bill payment system is failsafe for me. Everyone is different, however, and there is more than one way to skin this…

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Man sitting on beach reclining with laptop
Nudge, nudge, wink wink – how to nudge yourself to better money management

You know you need to change your financial ways. But it’s hard to actually do it. Just imagine standing at an EFTPOS terminal about to make a financial blunder and someone nudges you into making a better choice. A nudge is like having a little conscience sitting on your shoulder. Behavioural economists have found that tiny regular nudges that prod you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise can be a real game changer when it comes to mastering your money.…

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