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Australians lost $12.5M to scams last month. Older women are the hardest hit.

September 22nd, 2017 Posted by Alerts, Financial Management, Gobbill News, Staysmartonline 0 thoughts on “Australians lost $12.5M to scams last month. Older women are the hardest hit.”

Gobbill processes 3 times more bills in the last month of each quarter, with installments such as council rates and some electricity bills coming up for payment. This makes this period the ideal time for scammers to target individuals with fraudulent bills.

It’s always good to keep a close eye on your email inbox. Statistics show that online scams are a growing issue, with huge losses to scams over August this year. Australians lost $12.5M in scams last month (August 2017), which is almost double compared to the same time last year. Email fraud makes up an estimated 27% of all scams, with an estimated total of $3.4M lost last month. The hardest hit by scams are older women. Apart from being aware and cautious of scams, keep yourself protected with Gobbill to help check and pay email bills.

August 2017 – Number of reports by Age and Gender

Source: Scamwatch

 

Gobbill is a partner of the Commonwealth Government Stay Smart Online program. In recent months, the Government Cyber program has issued a number of alerts of new phishing emails carrying malware. The emails pretend to come from a number of Australian institutions including Telstra, Origin Energy and AGL.

Find out more about Gobbill. It’s free to use service that protects you from email bill scams.

New Gobbill features

September 14th, 2017 Posted by Financial Management, Gobbill News, Time Management 0 thoughts on “New Gobbill features”

What’s new?

Each month our team adds a range of new features to make Gobbill even better! Take a look at our new features below.

  • [New] Gobbill will automatically store your digital receipts with bills paid by Gobbill*. You can also forward bill receipts to your account to be matched with the original bills. It’s all in one place. To view the receipt, simply navigate to the ‘Paid Bills’ screen and select the view receipt icon.

*Where possible with billers send email receipts.

Other recent features:

  • Individualise Gobbill to suit your needs, with increased flexibility when viewing your bills via the new list function. Try this out by pressing the ‘select view’ button.
  • Need to pay a bill earlier than the due date? Now you can by scheduling your payment dates. To do this simply click on the calendar icon at the bottom of your bill and select your preferred method of payment.
  • Make tax time easy with Gobbill. To view your bills in a spreadsheet, simply log in, visit the ‘All Bills’ tab and export a csv file.
  • See what billers are linked to your payment methods by navigating to the ‘Biller Accounts’ tab and selecting the ‘Show/Hide bills’.
  • See all the bills for a certain biller by navigating to the ‘Biller Accounts’ tab and selecting the ‘Show/Hide bills’ tab.
  • Set Gobbill up to work for you and change your payment method nickname. To do this simply visit the ‘Payment Methods’ tab, select the ‘Edit Payment Method’ icon and update your payment nickname at the bottom of the pop-up screen.
  • Gain valuable insights into your spending habits with the Gobbill Report function. To access this feature click ‘Reports’ from the homepage and select your preferred report layout. Currently two layout options are available – ‘Cash Accounting Tax Preparation’ and ‘Accural Accounting Tax Preparation’. You can also download this data into a Summary Report.
  • Paying a bill in segments? Users now have the option to process instalment bills through Gobbill, including council rates and more. To do this forward your segmented bill to Gobbill and each instalment will be paid automatically.

Free holiday? Yes please. Learn how from our experts.

August 22nd, 2017 Posted by Financial Management, Lifestyle, Time Management, Travel 0 thoughts on “Free holiday? Yes please. Learn how from our experts.”

Everyone deserves a free holiday, and with the right rewards credit card you can accumulate enough points to travel for next to nothing. Want to learn how? The first step is to find the right credit card for you. Steve Mickenbecker from Canstar shares his expertise with Gobbill.

Know yourself before you fly into a rewards credit card
Choosing a credit card is one of the earliest financial decisions many young Australian adults will make. Rewards cards are one of the options that should be considered – but they are not right for everyone. Choosing the right credit card is not just about knowing about the cards on offer. It is also about knowing yourself and your financial behaviours.

Do you lose control of your credit card? For some people, no credit card will be right. If you struggle to save because the plastic in your pocket makes spending too easy, stick with a debit card and save before you spend.

Do you leave a debt balance on your card most months? Having passed the “qualify for a credit card test”, now you need to answer a question about your repayment behaviour. If you struggle to repay the full balance every month and end up leaving a debt on your card, you will be paying interest. Typically rewards cards carry higher interest rates, in the order of double that of the lowest rates on the market. The rewards you earn are unlikely to compensate you for the higher interest you are paying. A low rate card is may be a better option.

If you repay in full every month, which type of rewards are for you? If you are a regular payer of the full balance on your credit card then a rewards cards is an option. But you are now faced with the choice of frequent flyer cards or cards that earn you shopping coupons, merchandise or cash back. Frequent flyer rewards take a long time to earn if you spend less than $1,000 per month on your credit card. Shopping coupons and the like can be earned earlier and more frequently, and potentially pay their way as you go rather than waiting years for a flight.

For bigger spenders though, there is something satisfying about paying for flights for an overseas holiday every couple of years or for the odd long weekend at Noosa.

Whether flights or vouchers, don’t pay too high an annual fee
With some cards you pay a fee for the card and a fee for the rewards programme. There are a few free rewards cards, some quite low cost, lots around $400 and a few a lot more than that. What is too much however, depends on how much you spend on your card and the rate at which your card earns rewards.

If your spend is $1,000 per month, the rewards you earn will not cover a high cost card, so you may benefit by looking at the lower end of the scale. However, if you are spending $10,000 per month, a high cost card can be the right choice if it earns high rewards and other benefits.

So now that you understand about you, how do you choose a specific card?

In a nutshell the choice of a specific rewards card comes down to five sets of factors:

  1. What type of rewards do I prefer – flights, merchandise, shopping coupons, etc.
  2. For my level of spend, what dollar value of rewards do I earn.
  3. What is the annual fee for the card
  4. What other benefits will I use – travel insurance, concierge, airline lounge entry, etc.
  5. What are the underlying credit card conditions

Easy to say fast but a lot to consider when you see the myriad of cards on the market. Canstar compares over 200 credit cards from 64 providers on its website, meaning that the consumer has no shortage of choice ….. but in some ways too much choice.

Acknowledgments to

Steve Mickenbecker, Canstar Group Executive, Financial Services.

 

www.canstar.com.au 

Free holiday? Yes please. Learn how from our experts.

August 20th, 2017 Posted by Financial Management, Lifestyle, Time Management, Travel 0 thoughts on “Free holiday? Yes please. Learn how from our experts.”

Source: Photo – Singapore Airlines First Class

“It’s our pleasure to upgrade you to first class. Have a lovely flight.” These are the words that we’d all like to hear on a 23 hour flight to London, but it rarely happens. Everyone deserves an upgrade once in a while. Maybe even a free holiday…

A sure way to feel like royalty while travelling is to earn and spend reward points wisely. Earning reward points is like money on the ground, but most people just don’t have the time (or the insider knowledge) to pick it up. In addition, the reward scheme and how you spend points can determine whether points are valuable.

The first step is to find the right credit card to earn points. So we asked several experts for their advice. Our expert this week is Steve Hui.


Steve Hui is the CEO of iFlyFlat, a Sydney based travel concierge service that helps people to fly business and first class using points. We asked Steve for a few tips…

What should you look for in a credit card that earns reward points?
Remember that not all cards are created equal. There’s a range of different cards out there earning different kinds of points. The first step to picking the right card is understanding what kind of points you need to collect, and that comes from decided which destination you would like to travel to. For every destination, different airlines require different points to fly there – so pick the right points for the right destinations.
Then you can compare cards within that range to find which one will earn you the most points per dollar.

 

Are there good ways to find and compare cards?
As we know, there’s a range of airlines and cards to choose from. Once you have chosen what type of points to collect based on your travel intentions, it’s time to compare the card benefits. There’s a number of factors to consider;
1) Based on your spending habits, can you pay with mostly with AMEX or only VISA/Mastercard? (AMEX cards may earn more airline points per dollar)
2) Is the card capped as to a certain number of points?
3) Are there bonus points for certain retailers that you regularly use (e.g. Specific supermarkets and petrol stations)?
4) With my spending, will this card help me achieve my travel goal?

Which card do you use and what do you use it for?
Most of my points come from both a personal and business American Express card with each AMEX card earning between 2x to 3x points on every single dollar. The benefit of AMEX points is the increased flexibility. My AMEX points can be transferred to 10 different airline partners including Qantas, Emirates, Singapore and Virgin. Further, my points do not expire and are uncapped, so I can earn as much as I spend.

Remember to choose the card that works for your situation. Pay close attention to the points per dollar earnings and any caps/restrictions. Personally, I don’t worry about the annual fees very much, because the value of flights I redeem with my points far exceed the annual fee by a factor of 10x.

Great insights from Steve at iFlyFlat. In addition, paying expenses online with a reward-friendly credit card is a great way to get those points moving. Using Gobbill, you can link your credit card to make payments automatically. This can earn you reward points much faster and, of course, you don’t have to spend time actually paying the bills.

Gobbill also makes changing credit cards to earn bonus points a breeze. Want to pay one biller with a different credit card? Easy just change the details in Gobbill. In no time, you’ll be enjoying your free flight upgrade or holiday.

Acknowledgments to Steve Hui, Chief Executive, www.iFLYflat.com.au – The Points Whisperer.

Have you been caught short by direct debits?

August 18th, 2017 Posted by Financial Management, Internet Safety, Time Management 0 thoughts on “Have you been caught short by direct debits?”

Want to dispute a bill? Low on cash towards the end of the month? Too late, your account has already been debited. While direct debit can save you the hassle of bill payments, being locked into fixed automated payments can also get you into trouble.

With direct debit, billers don’t need to contact you or ask for permission before withdrawing funds. This gives a third party control over payments, potentially leaving you with extra fees or bills for products you no longer use. So, if you’re thinking about setting up a direct debit, make sure you understand the pros and cons. Read our article about direct debits.

Ms. Ocea Smith spoke to the Gobbill team about her bad experience with direct debit. “I find it frustrating when it comes to direct debit and there’s a public holiday…The trouble I had was with Vodafone, who direct debited from my account on the 5th of every month. A while back it was taken early due to a public holiday and I didn’t transfer in time.

Sometimes they [billers] decide to deduct early while others wait for the closest business working day. I really wish they would confirm so I can be sure my end is all okay. All I would need to do is transfer between my accounts. Instead I’ve been caught with fees for bounced payments.…So I received a dishonour fee from my bank of $40! I complained to my bank and it was revoked, which was great.”

Do you have a horror story about direct debit? Share it with us here: gobbill@gobbill.com.au

The Dangers of Direct Debit

August 1st, 2017 Posted by Business Management, Financial Management, Time Management 0 thoughts on “The Dangers of Direct Debit”

Direct debit can be a great way to organise your finances, but what are the risks? Make sure that you understand the pros and cons of direct debit before making a commitment to payments that may have hidden strings attached. 

Don’set and forget 

Keep yourself informed of the direct debits associated with your bank account. Signing up for a trial can seem like a great way to access a free product, but if a biller only accepts direct debit ensure to cancel your subscription before the trial period has ended. Alternatively, if you are a customer who prefers the convenience of a ‘rolling’ policy (a policy that is automatically extended each year), review these payments regularly to confirm that you still require the services. Customers are often hit with charges for products they no longer use without notification from their provider. 

Giving control to a third party can be risky 

As direct debit payments allocate billing control to the biller and give your bank account details to a third party, it is vital that your service provider is a trustworthy organisation. Customers are not required to provide approval for payment, even if a bill is out of line with prior spending.   

Monitor your bill payments 

Using direct debits as a method of bill payment does not mean that customers can avoid monitoring bill amounts. To remove the potential of being overcharged, it is important to be vigilant about what is taken from your account. Monitor withdrawals from your biller and ensure that bill amounts are in line with your spending habits.  

Cancelling can be a process 

Depending on the biller and direct debit system, cancelling a direct debit can be a difficult process. When your direct debit is set up, ensure that you retain authority to end the debit unilaterally. Many banks are unwilling to stop direct debit at a customers request, meaning that a business may take several or more months of payments before the process is stopped. To cancel, customers will often be required to write a letter to the bank and merchant to stop the debits. Before setting up a direct debit read the Terms and Conditions and educate yourself on how to cancel in case you no longer require the service or product. Or alternatively, set up an alternative way to pay. 

Paying bills with a credit card has benefits 

Direct debit payments do not give users the opportunity to access rewards. For those looking to maximise their bill payment benefits, pay bills on a credit card where possible to gain cash and travel rewards. If your biller charges an inconvenience fee for credit card payments, this is the circumstance to look into a debit card or direct debit option. For billers that do not charge extra for the use of a credit card, do the research on what card will be most useful for which bill – do you want to use a card to increase points? Money flow? Choose what credit card gives you the best benefits for your preferences and go.  

Careful of the extra fees 

Utilising direct debit as a payment service can reduce the possibility of being charged late fees and get you pay-on-time discounts. However, if your bank account does not contain enough funds to cover the bill total, you may get charged a fee by both the financial institution and the biller. To manage this issue, it is important for users to either link direct debits to their primary bank account or set reminders to transfer funds before bill due dates.  

An alternative bill payment service like Gobbill can assist in avoiding the potential shortfalls associated with direct debit payments. The new online service issues payment reminders before a bill due date, gives users increased flexibility to pay bills using a credit or debit card, allows users to maintain control over bill payments and automates the bill payment process.

5 easy ways to save on your household bills

July 27th, 2017 Posted by Business Management, Financial Management, Time Management 0 thoughts on “5 easy ways to save on your household bills”

Bessie Hassan | Money Expert at finder.com.au

Bills can make up a big portion of your total monthly expenses, so finding ways to cut them down can save you lots of money in the long run. Monitoring your expenditure and finding ways to spend less can make a huge difference.

According to new research from finder.com.au, 42% of Aussies are too lazy to question their provider about an unexpectedly expensive bill, which suggests that we need to get more active when it comes to saving money on our bills.

If you’re ready to make a conscious effort, read through our simple tips for saving money on your household bills.

Find a better deal

The first thing you can do to cut down on costs, especially after receiving a massive bill, is compare the prices of similar products. You may be able to find another provider that can offer you the same features for a lower price.

If you do find something better but you’d rather not switch, you can call your current provider and ask them to offer you a better deal (and if you’ve been a loyal customer you can use this as leverage in your negotiations). Providers don’t want you to leave for a competitor and will often be willing to make some changes in order to keep you. If they can’t, then it may be time to move on.

 Only pay for what you actually need

If you haven’t been keeping track of what bills you’re paying and how much each of them cost, it’s time to go through your bank statements and figure it out. You can then create a draft budget that should give you a better idea of where your funds are going and whether you’re paying too much for features or services that you don’t use.

A lot of the time, you’ll find that you’re paying for things you don’t need. For instance, you might not need 10GB of data or 100 minutes of international calls a month. By switching to a different plan, you could save yourself over $100 a year. You also might find that you’re paying for services such as Netflix or Spotify that you can cut out altogether.

Once you’ve figured out where you can cut costs, your budget should be looking a lot better.

 Pay your bills on time

Remembering when your bills are due isn’t always easy, so it’s a good idea to have a system in place to help you do so. You could do something as simple as setting reminders on your phone for when your bills are due. You could also set up a direct debit via online banking so that your bills are automatically paid at the right time each month. Just make sure that you’ll always have enough in your account to pay your bills every time. If you don’t pay your bills on time, it could negatively impact your credit score.

You could also try setting up automatic payments with Gobbill. This tool allows you to have more control over your bill payments without having to worry about remembering to pay them on time.

 Set up bill smoothing

Bill smoothing can be extremely useful for those large bills that only come round a few times a year. Electricity providers will generally allow you to set up bill smoothing so that you can pay in smaller increments.

In cases where bill smoothing isn’t available, you can setup your own makeshift system. For example, if your quarterly electricity bill is $2,100, you could set aside $700 a month or $350 fortnight to prepare.

Be savvy with your water and electricity usage

Doing little things around the house to save on water and electricity can definitely help to reduce the cost of your bills. Usually, the largest portion of your electricity bill is for heating and cooling, so try putting on another jumper or a pair of pants before resorting to switching on the heater.

For water usage, make sure you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and try taking shorter showers.

Making a conscious effort to reduce your household expenses and to think about how much you are spending is the best way to save on your bills. By making a small effort now, you can reap the financial benefits well into the future.

6 New Financial Year Resolutions to Save you Time and Money

July 17th, 2017 Posted by Business Management, Financial Management 0 thoughts on “6 New Financial Year Resolutions to Save you Time and Money”

The new financial year is always a great excuse to implement some money-saving strategies and get the ball rolling for the year ahead. Here are six tips to help you get started:

Set Up a Savings Plan

Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply review your spending: What areas of your spending are unnecessary and what things can’t you live without? Whether your priority is a new car or a daily coffee, encourage good habits with your spending. Make a budget that you understand and is realistic for you to follow.

Shift Money to Repay Debt

There’s no avoiding some form of debt these days. Set yourself a timeframe and add repayment of debt to your budget. Credit card debt in particular has the potential to incur high interest and fees on top of your debt, which will extend the amount of time required to pay it off. There’s nothing more relieving than removing the debt cloud over your head. If possible, shift any spare cash from savings and transactional accounts to reduce outstanding loans.

Take Out Private Health Insurance

Individuals and families on incomes above the Medicare levy surcharge (MLS) thresholds are liable to pay a surcharge for any period during the year that they do not have a private patient hospital cover. To avoid this extra cost, seek private health insurance with an approved health care fund for the next financial year.

Salary Sacrificing

Seek financial advice to identify the potential benefits of reducing taxable income, by allocating a certain amount of your pre-tax salary to be paid directly into your superfund. This financial year, you can put up to $25, 000 (for under 50s) of your pre-tax earnings into super under a concessional tax rate.

Keep Track of your Tax Deductions

Keep yourself organised and avoid the last minute paperwork by keeping track of your tax deductions. If you have expenses that can be paid before the end of the financial year, pre-pay these and reduce your tax total.

Join Gobbill and Save Time

An increasing number of people are working from home. If you work from a home office, then you have the potential to claim tax deductions on your home utility bills, landline and mobile phone bills, home and mortgage insurance, as well as internet. Rather than making home business payments manually, sign up to Gobbill and automate your payment process. Bill payment information can be easily exported for tax time, just with an easy click of a button.

It’s tax time again. Make it easier for yourself.

July 11th, 2017 Posted by Business Management, Financial Management, Time Management 0 thoughts on “It’s tax time again. Make it easier for yourself.”

Do you search for your bills and receipts in a shoebox? Make tax time easier by using Gobbill to pay and store all your bills.

Watch our video to see how simple it is in Gobbill.

When calculating your tax deductions, login to Gobbill and simply navigate to the “All Bills” screen from the main menu.

Then click the “Export to CSV” button. A list of all your bills details and payment history is there for your tax deduction claims.

EnergyAustralia dragged into major phishing scam

June 21st, 2017 Posted by Alerts, Internet Safety, Staysmartonline 0 thoughts on “EnergyAustralia dragged into major phishing scam”

EnergyAustralia is being impersonated by cyber criminals in a malware campaign reports  IDG ARN. EnergyAustralia has become the second local energy provider caught up in a major email phishing scam after a “large volume” of malicious emails recently began hitting Australian inboxes, according to email security company, MailGuard.

The Melbourne-based company said the realistic-looking email masquerades as an invoice from the energy company, advising customers that the invoice is due in the coming days. Read more at ARN. EnergyAustralia has also issued their own warnings of the fake bills and provided advice to check on the source/sender of the email. Read more at EnergyAustralia.

 

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