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Why do Australians Switch to Balance Transfer credit cards?

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A relatively new concept has gripped a nation of once loyal customers who never used to switch between banks: balance transfer credit cards. We take a closer look why this is happening.

More Australians than ever are taking to comparison websites to stump out high interest and get better deals. In some ways, this is revolutionary – yet many are still not aware of the opportunities that came in recent years and a conventional mindset is still costing the nation a fortune, benefiting a few big banks.

Roland Bleyer, the CEO of creditcard.com.au is the man behind this revolution. He said that “for too long did we face a closed market where millions of consumers acted as cash cows to a handful of banks. Today, the Australian market is as open as any other market and we help consumers to save millions collectively – with balance transfer cards being one of the most sought after solutions”.

So what exactly is a balance transfer card?

It is a new card that is issued from a new provider, when the consumer transfers a balance from an old credit card (to the new card) in order to get a lower interest rate on the balance for an introductory period. The consequence in most cases, is lower interest where debt is paid off faster.

According to Bleyer and his team, there are four main benefits that consumers consider when opting for a balance transfer card: “reducing the amount of interest payable, repaying any debt sooner, consolidating existing debt – and getting a better credit card than before”.

What the open market looks like in Australia:

Today, you can hop onto a comparison site like Creditcard.com.au, or Mozo, Ratecity, and Comparethemarket – and find attractive offers from a multitude of providers. These include Virgin Money, HSBC, Citi, WestPac, St. George Vertigo Platinum and the Bank of Melbourne. With the open market, consumers can find an alternative option within seconds. Instead of entering your details on all the various bank websites, a single platform provides a blazing fast experience that attracts offers from various providers.

Essentially, all the benefits that consumers enjoyed previously in mass-markets in Europe and America – has now come to the shores of Australia, and it is about time.

But it is not just a matter of switching to another provider. Many people lack the knowledge to truly do a better deal, so a bit of education on the matter is paramount, especially if the purpose is to make an improvement and incur savings.

Words of wisdom for anyone considering a balance transfer:

Bleyer and his team suggest that balance transfer cards should not be seen as a “magic bullet” in personal finances because that may tempt the consumer to overspend and never cease control of their situation. Instead, they argue that there are several pitfalls that should be navigated: Paying the minimum off on your debt each month is the first reason why some people end up taking longer to pay off their debt. Then, incurring more debt on their new cards is another reason people fail to get ahead. It is also necessary to pay off the transferred debt within a certain time frame in order to benefit from introductory offers – because once consumers have to pay the revert rate, it becomes expensive again. Choosing a card for its rewards and features – and letting that tempt you into spending, is another caveat for consumers, especially if that card has a high annual fee. Spending more on new cards and failing to understand what you’re in for in the fine print, can also defeat the purpose: you must control spending and really understand the terms and conditions of the card in order to benefit from it.

Conclusion:

The Australian consumer lived through challenging times during the recent property bubble. Yes, times were not as tough as they were in some other countries – and the severity of the problem was not at a high level overall. However, Australians lost a lot of money due to a lack of understanding and old habits. The oldest habit is to think that by being loyal to your bank and being friends with your bank manager will get you the best deal. We live in a new world, where new rules define our success in the global community – and it could not be truer for personal finance and credit cards.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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How Conventional Scores Are Stopping Most Millennials From Accessing Credit and How One Company Is Changing That

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Credit scores are a barrier to entry for just about everything for millennials. Trust Science® is taking new metrics into account to expand access to credit with Credit Bureau 2.0®

What’s Keeping Millennials From Accessing Credit?

The concept behind a credit score seems simple enough. It tracks your credit history to see if you’re someone that a bank or lender can trust to pay back a loan. However, conventional credit scores just don’t account for the way that millennials and Gen Z handle their finances.

Even where a person would be fully capable and reliable in paying back a loan, the lack of an established credit score can prevent them from accessing credit, or at least from getting as much as they should be able to. That leaves millennials without an on-ramp into the modern economy and it can also jeopardize access to other “credit gated” necessities like housing.

The way that conventional credit scores are calculated is complex but boils down to 5 essential metrics:

  1. Payment history
  2. Amount owed
  3. Length of credit history
  4. Credit mix
  5. Hard credit inquiries

You can start to see the issue for millennials when you look at what data goes into their credit scores. For one thing, younger people don’t have a long credit history. Even without other factors, simply being young and only having had so much time to build credit puts them at a disadvantage. However, millennials have also been tending to establish credit later in life compared with previous generations, putting them at a further disadvantage.

The most significant issue here is the credit mix. Different types of credit affect credit scores differently, and millennials generally don’t have a favorable mix. While they might have a credit card or two, they generally don’t have mortgages. These are the most beneficial type of credit to have on your credit report, and millennials really have that going against them.

The student loan crisis also plays a big role. Young people today have much higher student loan debts than previous generations, meaning they have a great amount of credit owed. Not only that, but many can begin to fall behind on payments and see that amount grow. This can quickly send a credit score spiraling out of control.

Student loans aren’t the only threat. When young, some people make poor decisions. They could find themselves making credit mistakes very early on and suffering the fact that those mistakes can haunt their score for seven years in general. That means someone at 25 is still paying for a mistake made at the age of 18, even if they’ve been on the up and up ever since.

It’s clear that conventional credit scores weren’t designed with the current landscape in mind and that young people are being negatively affected. But what exactly can be done about this? One company is changing the way that lenders look at creditworthiness to make it possible for millennials to mitigate these issues.

How Credit Bureau 2.0 Fixes Those Problems

Trust Science is an innovative fintech company that has developed Credit Bureau 2.0, a scoring service that acts as an antidote for lenders, offsetting the problems posed by conventional credit scores. Instead of seeing a lack of credit history, a few negative issues from years ago, or a poor credit mix and ending any credit application, Credit Bureau 2.0 considers a wealth of additional data to generate a more accurate credit score.

Credit Bureau 2.0 expands the data used to calculate credit scores, getting the borrower’s consented, permissioned data and/or acquiring Alternative Data in order to reach a more accurate credit score. For example, those applying for credit can use Trust Science’s Smart Consent™ app to divulge their information safely and confidently to Trust Science, which is working on behalf of the lender that is trying to reach a decision about the borrower. By doing so, young people or other people without a credit history in-country can let prudent financial decisions in other areas of their lives demonstrate that they’re trustworthy for greater credit.

The service is available to a wide variety of lenders, including auto lenders, installment lenders, and single-repayment lenders. It’s in their best interest to find more reliable, deserving borrowers to give loans to, so Credit Bureau 2.0 benefits both sides of the transaction.

Trust Science CEO Evan Chrapko says that “Credit Bureau 2.0 isn’t just about giving borrowers access to more credit than they would have had otherwise. It’s about recontextualizing financial data to give both sides–lenders and borrowers–a more accurate and reliable way to enter into loans in the modern economy.”

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