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Credit card fails: The bad spending habits costing Aussies

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A significant number of Aussies have revealed their worst credit card spending habits, according to new research by Finder.

More than one-third (37%) of credit card holders – equivalent to 4.9 million people – have engaged in concerning credit card behaviour in the last 12 months.

Finder research found 1 in 7 (14%) have bought items impulsively, while 9% have totally maxed out their credit card.

The data shows 12% only pay the minimum amount each month, 11% have made a late payment and 9% haven't checked their statement before paying off debt.

A further 10% have taken out regular cash advances and paid fees for more than 1 card, while 2% have applied for new cards they don't need.

Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder, said while credit cards can give you some great perks, there are risks and costs associated if you don't use the card responsibly.

"Having a credit card is super convenient, but the cost of interest can add up if you don't pay it off each month. Some cards also charge hefty annual fees.

"Impulse buying can make it harder to pay back what you've spent and could get you into debt.

"One way to avoid the temptation to overspend is by getting a credit limit you can afford to pay off each month."

A recent Finder survey found 8% of credit card holders never check their credit card activity.

That's an estimated 1 million credit card holders who are oblivious when they pay their bills.

Data released by the industry self-regulatory body Australian Payments Network (AusPayNet) shows a 9.2% rise in fraud on payment card transactions in the 12 months to 30 June 2021.

Bradney-George added checking your statement can also help reduce the risk of fraud and make it easier to stay on top of repayments.

"Monitoring your account will not only keep track of your spending but it will help you identify any unusual transactions before you lose serious money.

"Turning a blind eye towards your statements paves the way for potential overcharges, late fees, unauthorised charges, or even worse, identity theft behaviour – all which can affect your credit score.

"Set a calendar reminder or create an automated repayment plan so you don't forget to pay your balance each month.

"If you're struggling with your credit card, speak to your bank or provider to see what support is available, or shop around for a lower rate," she said.

Have you engaged in the following credit card spending behaviours within the past 12 months?
I haven't done any of these63%
Impulse buying14%
Only paying the minimum amount each month12%
Making a late payment11%
Not checking my statement9%
Maxing out my credit card9%
Taking out regular cash advances5%
Paying fees for more than 1 card5%
Applying for new cards I don't need2%
Source: Finder survey of 517 credit card holders, March 2022
How often do you check your credit card activity?
I never check, my account is set to autopay2%
I never check the activity, I just pay the balance6%
Every few months4%
Monthly, when I get my statement24%
Multiple times a week21%
Every day15%
Source: Finder survey of 517 credit card holders, March 2022

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