Don’t waste that gift card

Australians are wasting $70 million a year in unused gift cards.

A new study by comparison website showed that 14 per cent – or 2.6 million people - let the funds expire on gift cards in the past two years.

On average, Australians left $54 each on gift cards, but men were more wasteful, leaving $68 on the card on average, while women left $45.

Finder’s Bessie Hassan said consumers were giving retailers a free ride.

“Unlike cash, which can easily be spent, gift cards often fall between the cracks,” she said.

Scammers out in force this tax time

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is warning people to guard their Personal Identification (PIN) numbers in the same way they guard other key personal information.

As tax payers prepare to lodge their 2016/17 returns, ATO Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson urged them to keep their personal information secure and to report any suspicious activity.

Ms Anderson said identifying information such as tax file numbers, bank account numbers or date of birth were the keys to identity, and could be used by scammers.

Cash is still king for many older Australians

Older Australians still prefer to use cash rather than cards, a new study shows.

The Reserve Bank’s report How Australians Pay: Evidence from the 2016 Consumer Payments Survey, released this week, found that younger people started the week with an average of $20 in their pockets, but over 65s held an average of $95.

This was more than double the amount held by the next closest age group, those aged between 50 and 64.

Update your financial knowledge over breakfast

National Seniors is urging its Northern Territory members to update their financial knowledge at breakfast seminars next month.

The seminars, in Alice Springs on 3 August, and in Darwin on 4 August, are designed to improve investment and other financial information available to older Australians, before they give up paid work and in retirement.

You can learn more about Government Income Support (GIS), opportunities for fully self-funded retirees, and potential use and types of equity release products.

Seniors want simpler electricity pricing

Deregulation of retail electricity prices has led to a proliferation of offers that is confusing and misleading, especially to older consumers, according to National Seniors Australia.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said many consumers had lost faith in the current system, given major retailers had been fined for false and misleading discount offers.

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