ME Bank enables Google Pay as shoppers turn away from cash amid COVID-19

ME Bank enables Google Pay as shoppers turn away from cash amid COVID-19

ME Bank has switched on Google Pay for its customers who have an Android smartphone or wearable.

The bank’s customers are now able to link their ME debit and credit cards to Google Pay, with access available from today. The digital payment method can be used in-store, online and through apps, both in Australia and for overseas online shopping

It comes nearly two months after ME introduced Apple Pay access for its customers. 

  • What is Google Pay? Google Pay is a payment and digital wallet app powered by Google for Android smartphone and wearable users. If supported, Android users can make digital payments in-store and online using Google Pay. When your debit or credit card is connected to your device, you can tap your device near a contactless terminal to make payments.

ME group executive of customer banking Craig Ralston said the bank’s customers are increasingly seeking a digital alternative to cash and cards.

“Our customers are using cashless and contactless and digital payments more, so it makes sense for ME to increase the number of ways our customers can pay digitally with the addition of Google Pay,” he said.

Shoppers turn to contactless payment methods during COVID-19 

Mr Ralston added that the spread of the coronavirus has spurred Australians’ preference for cashless payment options.

“COVID-19 is accelerating the trend away from cash towards cards and digital payments. ME customers using an Android device will now be able to use Google Pay to pay for things without touching PIN pads or handling cash,” he said.

The number of cash withdrawals at ATMs have fallen by 14 per cent in the four months of the pandemic to June 2020, the latest Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) data showed. The lowest number of ATM cash withdrawals recorded by the central bank was in April 2020.

But the transition away from cash isn’t a new trend, as ATM withdrawals have plummeted by 32 per cent in the 12 months to June 2020.

According to ME, cash withdrawals at ATMs by the bank’s customers have almost halved since the onset of the coronavirus. The number of ATM withdrawals in the past six months tumbled by 45 per cent from the previous six-month period, ME payment data showed.

ME customers also withdrew 31 per cent less cash in terms of value in the same period.

How to use Google Pay

To use Google Pay, your smartphone or device must be running Android Lollipop 5.0 or higher. Make sure:

  • Your bank provides access to Google Pay, and
  • Your credit or debit card supports Google Pay. While many banks have Google Pay enabled, not every card or account type has Google Pay support. 

Then download the app from the Google Play store and key in your credit or debit card details.

If you usually earn points or rewards from spending with your bank’s debit or credit card, you may still be able to collect these when paying with Google Pay. Check with your bank for details.

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A debt collector can garnish your bank account, but only with a court order. This drastic action is usually taken only if you’ve ignored several notices asking you to pay the debt.

If this happens, there is nothing you can do to stop it other than immediately pay back your what you owe in full or make arrangements to pay it off in installments.

Once a garnishee order is issued, your bank will put a freeze on your account as it processes the order. This usually takes two to three days and you won’t be able to access any of your money during this time.

If you have Centrelink payments, they may be protected, depending on what the court order says.

Can you find your bank account number online?

If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.

Keep in mind that each type of account you have with a bank comes with a unique account number. This means if you have a bank account as well as a savings account, for example, your bank account number and your savings account number will be different.

If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.

Alternatively, you can call your bank’s customer service number or visit a branch to retrieve your account number.

Can Centrelink access your bank account?

Yes, Centrelink can access your bank account, but only if you give them a reason to. Centrelink uses data-matching software with other federal government agencies to help it crack down on welfare cheats.

This is why it’s important to give true and matching information to all government agencies.

For example, if you report to Centrelink your annual income is $25,000, but at tax time you report your income as $50,000 with the ATO, it’s likely you’ll be ‘red flagged’.

At this point, Centrelink can legally request that your bank hand over your personal bank account details, to review your finances.

In most cases, Centrelink does not have the authority to take money out of your account. You will usually be given written notice to repay the debt.

However, Centrelink can also reduce your benefits until you’ve paid back what you owe. In extreme cases, Centrelink can garnish your wages and assets (including money in your bank account) until your debt is repaid.

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Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.  

Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.   

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If you’ve just welcome a new baby into the world, congratulations. Opening a bank account for your child can be a wonderful first gift.

Before you can open your child an account, you’ll need to have a birth certificate or passport for your baby.

As the parent or guardian, you’ll also be listed as a joint holder on the account. This means you’ll need to have proof of your identification and address (a driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate or Medicare Card).

Many banks and credit unions offer baby banks accounts. Usually, you can apply online; otherwise you can head into a local branch or office with your documents.

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There are a number of ways to open a new bank account – online, over the phone or in the branch. The trick is to decide what type of bank account you want beforehand.

It might sound like a simple enough task, but there are literally hundreds of bank accounts to choose from. And each offer their own banking features and benefits.

A comparison site like RateCity can help you work out what bank account product matches your needs.

Once you’ve made up your mind what you want, it’s advisable to have the following information ready for the application process.

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The good news for savvy young folks like you wanting to take charge of your finances is that there are many bank accounts available for under-18s.

For bank accounts that require you to be 18 or older, you’ll have to rope in a parent or guardian to open the account for you.

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If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

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To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.

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There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.

A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.

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Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

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The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

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