Rising costs affecting vulnerable households

Rising costs affecting vulnerable households

Pensioners and other recipients of government benefits have been the most affected by rising prices for goods and services, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  

The ABS Selected Living Cost Indexes (LCI) show that in December 2017, Australian households for employees, pensioners, self-funded retirees and recipients of other government transfers, all saw their overall cost of living increase, both over the previous quarter and the past 12 months.

While the ABS Consumer Price Index (CPI) looks at the average costs of a variety of goods and services, the LCI looks at how much household incomes would need to grow to allow Australians to continue to buy these goods and services in the same quantities. This includes the costs of mortgage interest and consumer credit charges, as well as housing and insurance costs for different households.

All household types experienced increases in the cost of:

  • Food and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Housing
  • Transport
  • Recreation and culture
  • Education
  • Insurance and financial services

Offsetting these increases were falls in the following categories:

  • Clothing and footwear
  • Furnishings, household equipment and services
  • Health
  • Communication
Weighted average of eight capital cities Pensioner and beneficiary LCI Employee LCI Age pensioner LCI Other government transfer recipient LCI Self-funded retiree LCI Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Food and non-alcoholic beverages 1.3% 1.0% 1.4% 1.2% 1.2% 1.0%
Alcohol and tobacco 4.8% 3.0% 3.4% 5.6% 1.9% 3.2%
Clothing and footwear -0.3% -0.2% -0.4% -0.4% -0.5% -0.3%
Housing 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3%
Furnishings, household equipment and services -1.0% -0.8% -1.2% -0.8% -1.2% -0.8%
Health -2.0% -0.3% -1.7% -2.5% -0.7% -0.5%
Transport 3.5% 2.7% 3.3% 3.5% 2.3% 2.4%
Communication -1.3% -1.3% -1.2% -1.4% -1.3% -1.3%
Recreation and culture 0.8% 0.7% 1.0% 0.4% 0.8% 0.6%
Education 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Insurance and financial services 1.1% 0.8% 1.4% 0.8% 1.5% 0.2%
All groups 0.8% 0.7% 0.6% 1.0% 0.6% 0.6%

Source: ABS

The higher cost of tobacco over the quarter was due to the flow-on effects of the federal excise tax increase effective 1 September 2017, while the increase to transport costs were driven largely by rising fuel prices. The rise in food and non-alcoholic beverage costs was driven by fruit, due to rises in the price of berries, particularly strawberries and grapes.

The reduced cost of health over the quarter was attributed to pharmaceutical products, due to the cyclical increase in the proportion of consumers exceeding the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) safety net. Ongoing competition and continued discounting activity in the retail industry contributed to lowering the cost of household textiles, softening the furnishings, household equipment and services figure.

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Learn more about bank accounts

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.

How do you open a bank account under 18?

If you’re under 18 and you want to open an Australian bank account, you will need your passport or birth certificate. (Some lenders might require just a Medicare card or driver’s licence.) You can apply online or at a branch. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

How do I open a bank account for a baby?

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.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.

How can I close an ANZ Bank account from overseas?

There are two ways you can close your ANZ Bank account from overseas:

  • Call +64 4 472 7123 (toll charges apply)
  • Send a bank mail request via ANZ internet banking

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

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.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

How long does it take to open a bank account?

The length of time it takes to open a bank account varies, depending on whether you want to open it online or in person.

Online

Most banks and credit unions have simple online applications that usually take no more than 10 minutes to fill out. It can be especially fast if you have your identification documents like your driver’s licence and passport handy. Sometimes you will instantly be approved and the bank account opened. However, depending on the financial institution, it may take a day or so to be processed and your account number issued. Your account information and ATM or debit card will then be mailed to you, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

In person

If you decide to go into a branch or office to open a bank account, it may take about half an hour. Make sure you bring your identification documents with you. Also book an appointment if you can, otherwise you might be forced to wait in line. Sometimes your ATM or debit card will be issued on the spot, otherwise you’ll need to wait for one to arrive by mail, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

Can I open bank accounts for my children?

A common question for new parents is, ‘Can I open a bank account for my child?’

The short answer is yes – as a parent you can open a bank account for your child.

Once you’ve compared your options and found a bank account that suits your needs, the process is relatively simple.

As the bank account is for your child, you’ll need to provide some documentation such as proof of ID, including your tax file number.

You will also need a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and in some cases you may also need to sign a guarantee of indemnity.

Depending on the bank and whether you’re an existing customer, you may be able to open a bank account for your child online. However, you may still need to go into a branch to prove your identity.

How to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

Can I start a bank account online?

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How do you change your account name on NAB banking?

Changing the name on your NAB bank account is straightforward, as long as you have the right documents.

If you’ve just got married, divorced or legally changed your name, here’s what you need:

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