Ordinary consumers ‘adept’ at using buy now pay later services
22 May 2023. Sky News interview with Elsa Markula
Australian Retail Credit Association CEO Elsa Markula says nearly 50 per cent of all Australians have used a buy now, pay later product.
Ms Markula said ordinary consumers are quite “adept” at using the services and enjoy the “technology on offer” that may not be present with traditional credit providers.
'Financial hardship': The tough admission that can make your life easier
26 April 2023. Money Magazine Article by Elsa Markula
Rising interest rates and an increase in the cost of living are biting into the hip pockets of Australians, so it’s important to know that support is available to help you get your finances back on track.
Government dragging its feet regulating BNPL sector, causing more grief for the vulnerable
16 March 2023 - Michael West by David Gilchrist
Only a few years ago, Buy Now Pay Later was hailed as the ultimate in consumer credit innovation. The current reality is massive losses for the providers while cost-of-living pressures escalate, and the most vulnerable consumers suffer most.
ARCA moves to protect consumers, reaffirms support for BNPL regulation
27 January 2023 - Mortgage Professional
The Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) reiterates its position that Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) should be regulated as credit to protect consumers from harm. In its submission to Treasury’s Regulating Buy Now, Pay Later in Australia consultation process, ARCA maintains its long-held position that BNPL is credit and should be regulated as such under the National Credit Code. BNPL is already credit under the Privacy Act definitions.
Call for affordability checks, credit score reports on BNPL
25 January 2023 - The Australian / Article by Joyce Moullakis
Affordability checks and credit score reporting should occur on all buy now, pay later accounts to protect against consumer harm, with the proviso that smaller ticket purchases have a slightly simpler set of regulations.
That's the view of the Australian Retail Credit Association. Combined, ARCA's members account for more than 95 per cent of all regulated consumer lending in Australia.
Four steps to protect your credit identity in a world of data breaches
2 December 2022 - Money Magazine / Article by Geri Cremin
In the wake of Optus, Medibank and other big-business data breaches, Australians are rightly concerned about how their personal or financial information may be misused.
And that risk is only getting worse. An alarming 17% of Australians have experienced their personal information being misused in the past year.
Domestic abuse can have serious financial consequences
Domestic abuse is a growing issue within Australia. We know that domestic abuse can affect anyone, although it does disproportionately affect women. Domestic abuse can also occur across postcodes and socioeconomic divides. Click to view CreditSmart's:
CreditSmart reveals rise in credit usage amid economic uncertainty and growing credit health concerns
CreditSmart media release / 21 November 2022
Australians are increasingly concerned about their credit health, but remain unaware of credit reporting, according to the latest research from consumer education website, CreditSmart. The research also shows credit usage is up almost 10%, with eight in 10 Australians now having at least one credit product.
When do I need to LOCK my credit report?
CreditSmart article by Elsa Markula / 17 November 2022
In Australia a ‘lock’ on your credit report is known as a ‘credit ban’. You can place a credit ban on your credit report with just one credit reporting body (CRB), who, at your request, can also extend the ban to the other two credit reporting bodies. The three CRBs are Equifax, Experian and illion. The credit ban will block all third parties, such as lenders or other companies, from accessing your credit file without your consent.
Are my credit card details safe? A credit card security check
MOZO / Article by Sara Borman - 20 October 2022
With all the recent panic surrounding the Optus hack, we’re all feeling hyper alert about our data security right now.
BNPL regulation shake up to help protect users
SMH / Article by John Collett - 19 October 2022
Incoming regulation of Australia’s sizable buy now pay later (BNPL) space is likely to improve protections for consumers, with a recent report revealing one-third of users on BNPL platforms have fallen behind on their scheduled payments.
Four critical steps to protect consumer credit IDs following Optus data breach
CreditSmart media release / 11 October 2022
Consumers impacted by the recent Optus data breach should look to take a comprehensive approach to protecting their credit identity and overall credit health.
ARCA supports OAIC's independent review of the Credit Reporting Code
ARCA media release / 20 September
The Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) welcomes the findings of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) review of the Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code, the CR Code, following a thorough consultation to address the current needs of consumers and industry stakeholders.
Should I refinance my home loan?
Canstar / Editor-at-large Effie Zahos
Switching to a new loan can be a great way to combat rate hikes but should you keep refinancing to chase the best deals?
What happens if I can’t pay my mortgage and what are my options?
The Conversation / Article by Andrew Grant - 23 August 2022
With rising costs of living, including interest rate rises, many people are really worried about their mortgage.
So, what actually happens if you can’t pay your mortgage – and what are your options?
A financial hardship arrangement will no longer ruin your credit score
Money Magazine 20 July 2022 / Article by Geri Cremin
Changes to Australia's credit reporting system kicked in on 1 July, designed to better reflect the credit history of consumers who are in financial hardship. Financial hardship can affect anyone at any time. A financial hardship arrangement is an agreement between a borrower and a lender to adjust the borrower's loan repayments because something unexpected has affected their ability to repay.
New credit reporting changes will protect Aussies in financial hardship
Savings.com.au / Article by Hanan Dervisevic
From 1 July 2022, credit reporting changes will come into effect protecting the credit history of consumers who are in financial hardship. Consumers who agree to a financial hardship agreement with their lender for a personal loan, home loan, car loan, or credit card will have their repayment history safeguarded through a special payment arrangement.
Credit reporting on financial hardship arrangements 2022
Canstar/ Article by Maria Bekiaris
New credit reporting rules kicking in from 1 July 2022 will affect people entering financial hardship arrangements. We take a look at what is changing. There have been some big changes to credit reporting in Australia over the years. The biggest was probably the introduction of comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) which allowed positive credit information to be included in credit reports.
Financial hardship deals to be flagged on credit reports
SMH & The Age/ John Collett
Financial hardship deals often allow borrowers to have their payments lowered while they are doing it tough. Many were made with mortgage lenders and utility companies, as borrowers struggled to meet repayments after they had lost their jobs or had their hours significantly reduced during the pandemic.
Podcast: Credit Score - what's it good for?
Friends with Money Podcast with Tom Watson
ARCA’s Geri Cremin featured on Money Magazine Australia's Friends with Money podcast to bust some myths around credit scores and credit reports. Geri discussed the differences between a credit score and a credit report and the importance of consumers understanding their credit report.
How important is your credit health?
Australian Broker/Article by Jayden Fennell
As more lenders report on consumer loan repayments, CreditSmart is urging Australians to take ownership of their credit health. CreditSmart's annual research revealed that 52% of Australians never checked their credit report and 25% of Australians knew their monthly credit repayments were reported on their credit report.
As Christmas approaches, don’t Buy-Now-Regret-Later
CreditSmart.org.au/Article by Geri Cremin
This Christmas consider the real impact multiple small BNPL transactions could have on your long-term credit health. Be extra cautious if, like many Australians, you use multiple BNPL services. Each purchase may seem small, but they can quickly add up.
Half of Aussies haven't checked their credit score - here's why they need to
Moneymag.com.au/Contributed article Geri Cremin
One in two Australians have never checked their credit report, but recent changes mean that understanding the reporting system is more important than ever.
Upcoming changes to credit reporting: Good news or bad news?
Savings.com.au/Rachel Horne interview Mike Laing
Changes to the comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) system are inbound for 1 July 2022 that are set to impact Australians in hardship arrangements. Currently, any sort of hardship arrangement isn’t visible on a person's credit report. People that have been impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns, for example, will not have any missed repayments listed on their credit reports.
Responsible Lending - Who has to act responsibly – the lender or the borrower?
CreditSmart.org.au/Written by Mike Laing
Currently, lenders have “responsible lending” obligations that require them to assess that the loan the consumer is seeking is both “not unsuitable” given their requirements and objectives, and also able to be repaid without the consumer experiencing substantial hardship.
Credit reporting changes July 2022
Money Magazine/Written by Michael Blyth
7 April 2021: New credit reporting rules that come into effect from July 2022 will change what is shown on your credit report, especially when it comes to hardship repayments.
New credit reporting timeline puts industry in a spin
Banking Day/John Kavanaugh
5 February 2021: The National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment Act (Mandatory Credit Reporting and Other Measures) Act includes a provision allowing consumers to access their credit reporting information held by a credit reporting body free of charge every three months.
What to do if your mortgage holiday is over but you can't afford to pay
Money Magazine/Written by Michael Blyth
13 November 2020: Six months after the introduction of deferrals, many Aussies who requested one are now starting to resume their repayments for their deferred loans. By the end of September the number of home loans deferred had fallen to less than 325,000.
COVID-19: A wake-up call for Australians to take control of their credit health
CreditSmart media release
10 October 2020: The CreditSmart COVID-19 Credit Check-up looked at Australian consumers’ attitudes towards their financial health, before and during-COVID-19.
Tough decisions loom for homeowners on COVID-19 loan deferments
Together Australia / Derek Rose
26 August 2020: Thousands of homeowners granted payment deferments on their mortgages at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have a tough choice to make in the coming weeks. Those six-month payment deferments will start expiring in September, and while another payment holiday is on offer for up to four months, taking it could be a really bad idea.
How COVID-19 assistance affect your credit report
20 August 2020: Australians impacted by COVID-19 may be able to access a further four-month payment pause or deferral on their loan repayments from their lenders to help them get back on track – but that will not be automatic and consumers need to consider their options carefully, says consumer education website, CreditSmart.
ARCA checks in on credit reporting
AB & F / Christine St Anne
20 July 2020: The revised approach to credit reporting under the mortgage deferral programs will most likely continue post September but the sector is urged to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis.
Back to front CCR
Banking Day/Ian Rogers
6 July 2020: The Australian Retail Credit Association have shared rare insight into the composition of the credit market, in the process of seeking continued authorisation for the mechanics of consumer credit reporting.
8 Ways to protect your credit score when using BNPL
Article by Geri Cremin/3 July 2020: Online purchases have boomed as COVID-19 has transformed our shopping habits, including how much we spend, what we buy, and how we buy it.
According to CreditSmart figures, a huge 14.9 million Australians have some sort of credit product - and just over one in 10 are using Buy Now Pay Later services.
COVID-19: What is the impact of Buy Now Pay Later products on your credit health?
Buy Now Pay Later is a credit product just like any other loan so the same rules apply: only use it for things you really need and only spend what you can afford to pay back.
COVID-19: What it means for your credit report
Payment pauses on credit repayments due to COVID-19 will not be reported as 'missed payments' on credit report.
Australians impacted by COVID-19 who are seeking a payment pause or deferral on their loan repayments, need not worry about the impact on their credit report, confirms consumer education website CreditSmart.
Top questions around credit reports in the age of COVID-19
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many lenders are now offering an opportunity to hit pause or defer mortgage repayments for up to six months.
Under normal circumstances, missed loan repayments are recorded in consumers’ credit report as part of the 24-month record of repayment history information.