How you lose money through laziness

How you lose money through laziness

When was the last time you went through all your transactions with a fine-tooth comb?

The truth is that most of us don’t have the time or the patience, but this laziness means you could be losing money in unnecessary debits.

Some of the biggest culprits are fees. No, not just those pesky ATM fees we know are sometimes an unavoidable evil, but all the different fees that can add up across your loans and bank accounts.

RateCity has compiled a list of the most common types of fees and the average amount you could be being charged without realising it.

Home Loan Fees

Most people will be aware of the different types of fees you can be charged with a home loan. However, a lot of these can be avoided as there are products available that do not charge a variety of fees.

RateCity has found the following information about the different types of fees for currently available home loans:

Discharge Fees:

  • 4518 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $289.36
  • 69 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Valuation Fees:

  • 940 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $230.39
  • 90 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Annual Fees:

  • 2885 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $258.60
  • 26 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Total Upfront Fees:

  • 3131 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $509.76
  • 74 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

While avoiding every single fee may not be possible, if you take the time to research different home loans you can avoid costly payments. For example, choosing a home loan that offers no annual fee can save on average $7,758 over thirty years.

Check out RateCity’s home loan comparison table which helps you to compare products via fees. For example:

Top home loans with zero estimated up front fees


Car Loan Fees

 Another way you could be losing money through laziness is by not examining the fees charged in a car loan. RateCity has found the following information about the different types of fees for currently available car loans:

Application fee

  • 216 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $200.46
  • 47 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Missed penalty fee

  • 164 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $20.15
  • 51 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Ongoing annual fee

  • 79 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $97.06
  • 53 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Car loans that don’t charge you loan fees?

One example of a car loan that doesn’t charge you loan fees is the CUA Discount Personal Loan Fixed. This loan has zero upfront fees, ongoing fees, early exit penalty fees, missed payment penalties and redraw activation fees.

Personal Loan Fees


If you’re looking to take out a personal loan, it’s best you carefully examine the fee structures and compare them against other available loans so you don’t get caught paying more than you need to.

RateCity has found the following information about the different types of fees for currently available personal loans:

Application fee

  • 303 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $181.51
  • 13 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Missed penalty fee

  • 228 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $20.57
  • 13 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

Ongoing annual fee

  • 118 loans available with this fee
  • Average fee cost is $85.28
  • 95 per cent of products available have ZERO fees

More than half of personal loans available will not charge you an ongoing annual fee, so it’s important that you identify these loans before you commit to one.

Our RateCity personal loan comparison tools can be filtered by fees. For example:

Top personal loans with zero ongoing fees


Savings Account Fees

Another place you may be losing money without realising it is through monthly account keeping fees for your savings accounts.

The percentage of products with zero fees is around 99.9%, however there are some savings accounts available that do charge you monthly fees at an average of $4.85. As this type of fee is a lot less common, it would be reasonable to look elsewhere if your savings account charges you monthly.

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Learn more about credit cards

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

There are a few stages you need to go through to get a credit card; each one takes a different length of time.

Applying for the card online, over the phone or in person is the fastest step. This usually takes around 15 minutes, provided you have all of your documents handy.

After submitting your application, it usually takes between one to 10 business days for the lender to assess your eligibility. Some lenders offer instant approval, although you will need to send supporting documents before it is official.

Once your application has been approved, expect to wait between one to 14 days to receive your card in the mail. Keep in mind that delays can happen during busy periods, such as if the lender has launched a special deal.

How to get cash with just a credit card number

Banks and merchants usually will not allow you to access cash without a physical card, because doing so would open up opportunities for fraudulent activities. Even most non-cash credit card transactions (such as shopping online) require you to know the expiry date and CVV on your credit card in addition to the card number.

However, some banks offer cardless cash for transaction accounts. Using a secure app installed on your mobile phone, you can log onto an ATM and withdraw the money you need. This could be a practical and secure solution if you don’t have a card and need cash.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

What is CVV on a credit card?

CVV stands for ‘card verification value’, and is also sometimes referred to as a CVC or card verification code.

A CVV code is usually needed when the card is used online or over the phone as an anti-fraud measure. Without the cardholder being physically present to sign or verify the purchase, the CVV provides an extra layer of protection. 

If you’re using Mastercard or Visa, the CVV is the three digits located on the back of the card. If you’re using an American Express, the CVV is usually four digits and is on the front of the card.

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How is credit card interest charged?

Your credit card will be charged interest when you don’t pay off the balance on your credit card. Your card provider or bank charges you the individual interest rate that is associated with your card, which is usually between 10 and 20 per cent. 

The interest will be added onto your bill each month or billing period if you don’t pay off the balance, unless you are in an interest-free period.

You will be charged interest on anything that hasn’t been paid for inside the interest-free period. Usually you will receive a notice on your bill or statement saying you will be charged interest so you have some form of notice before you’re charged.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

How to get a new credit card

To get a new credit card, generally you need to be at least 18 years old and have a good credit rating. You don’t need to be an Australian citizen. Usually you can apply online or in person at a branch of the card issuer. You’ll typically have to supply information like:

  • Your income and living costs (e.g. rent/mortgage, loan repayments, living expenses)
  • Your employer’s contact details
  • Details of your assets and any debts you are paying off