The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has sent shock waves through Australian society, affecting almost every aspect of life as we know it.
In addition to concerns about our health, many of us are also facing financial challenges as a result of government regulations aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. The temporary shut-down of businesses in a number of “non-essential” industries have seen employees stood down from their jobs or receiving significantly reduced hours, and families across the nation are now frantically trying to juggle the care and education of their children while continuing to work from home.
MOVE Bank is here to support all our members during this difficult time and we have a support package available that can help provide some relief from financial hardship. However, there are a number of other steps you can take to help reduce your expenses and give you some breathing room in your budget over the next few months.
Access advance payments
If you’ve been contributing more than the minimum loan repayment, you could consider redrawing any available advances to assist you with cashflow or to continue making your loan repayments.
To redraw online, simply:
- Login to Internet Banking and select the ‘Payments’ menu
- Click ‘Transfer’ and choose the loan you’d like to redraw from
- Follow the prompts to finalise
Please note: you’ll be able to redraw the amount paid in advance on your loan minus one month’s minimum loan repayment.
Reduce loan repayments
If you’ve been paying the same repayments on your loan despite rate reductions, you might be able to reduce your loan payments to the minimum amount. To do this, you’ll need to contact our Lending Specialists on 1300 362 216 to see if you’re eligible.
If you have your home loan somewhere else, it’s important to check your rate and how much you’re being charged. With interest rates at historical lows, now is a good time to compare loans and find yourself a better deal. Contact our Lending Specialists to see how much you could save by refinancing with us.
Check your protection
It’s also worth checking if you’re covered by insurance policies.
Consumer Credit Insurance (CCI)
CCI can provide cover if you can’t meet loan repayments because you’ve lost your job or become sick or injured. MOVE Bank has previously offered CCI through CGU Insurance and St Andrews. If you’re unsure if you took out this cover on your loan/s, it’s worth checking your loan contract or calling our Lending Specialists on 1300 362 216 to find out.
Although not offered through MOVE Bank, you might have purchased income protection insurance or may be covered through your superannuation.
It’s important to remember that every insurer is different, so it’s worth checking what protection you have in place, what you’re covered for and any exclusions or conditions that may apply.
Consider your superannuation
The Government has also announced that you can access up to $10,000 of your super in the 2019-20 tax year and another $10,000 in the 2020-21 tax year if you’re experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
While these amounts will not be taxed and won’t impact any Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments, remember that your superannuation is there to support you in retirement so you should only take out what is necessary.
For more information about accessing your super early visit moneysmart.gov.au
Review your payments
We’re all in this together. Many companies and service providers are offering payment extensions if you’re concerned about meeting your ongoing expenses during this time.
If you have general insurance through MOVE Bank and CGU, and are suffering hardship as a result of COVID-19 from 1 April 2020 CGU can offer:
- 90-day extension on annual policies
- Option to pause fortnightly or monthly payments for 90 days, which will see the pro-rata balance spread over the remainder of the policy period
Remember, it’s always a good idea to contact your service providers and see what they can offer if you need assistance.
Watch out for scams
Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of current events with a significant increase in reported COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails aimed at gaining access to your personal and banking information.
We encourage you to remain alert during this time, especially as scams are likely to increase over the coming weeks and months.
To stay up to date with the latest scam information and tips on how to respond, visit www.cyber.gov.au/.
Improve your financial wellbeing
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by financial decisions right now, know that we’re here to support you.
Available free-of-charge to all members, we offer an online program which provides you with the tools and resources needed to improve your financial wellbeing during this time.
To register for the Your Financial Wellness program, visit: movebank.com.au/wellness
This information is for general purposes only and is not intended as financial or professional advice. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product or other professional advice. You should seek your own independent financial, legal and taxation advice before making any decision about any action in relation to the material in this article. Insurance is issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681 trading as CGU Insurance.