New changes to how Australians bank their cash
BANKING will be in the spotlight this year, and not just from next month's Royal Commission.
Big changes for our money are on the way, say financial services specialists, as new technologies combine with market forces to reshape banking.
"People can position themselves to benefit from the changes," said People's Choice Credit Union spokesman Stuart Symons.
Fast payments will be one of the first moves, enabling immediate money transfers as BSBs and account numbers get replaced by email addresses and phone numbers known as PayIDs.
"Start thinking now about the accounts you use the most, and save your email address and phone number for those accounts. You can only link one account with each PayID so get it right early," Mr Symons said.
Other key banking changes to put on your radar include:
1 FEWER ATMS
Comparison website Mozo.com.au says you can say goodbye to an ATM on every street corner.
"We expect the banks will begin the process of amalgamating their ATMs into one network under one brand," said Mozo director Kirsty Lamont.
"There will also be far fewer ATMs available to consumers due to the banks' inability to charge for ATM usage." There would also be fewer branches, she said.
2 LOWER FEES AND CHARGES
Ms Lamont said February's Royal Commission would put heat on the banks, meaning fewer rate rises and downward pressure on fees.
"Charges that many consumers encounter on an everyday basis, particularly for tap and go transactions, will be seriously questioned in the next six months."
3 TRANSFER FEES SCRAPPED
International money transfer costs have dropped in recent months as banks bowed to pressure from consumers and non-bank providers, and more falls are forecast.
Ms Lamont said new apps that allowed people to transfer money overseas without any fees were on the way.
4 CREDIT CARDS CRUNCHED
Credit card issuers will try to woo consumers after their popular reward programs were watered down dramatically in 2017.
"Many rewards schemes are barely worth having due to paltry rewards and there are now competing payment systems like Afterpay," Ms Lamont said.
Mr Symons said he expected credit card rewards to dwindle further this year. "But there's also a great opportunity for card holders. We expect competition to heat up over low-rate and business cards," he said.
5 CRYPTOCURRENCY CLOSES IN
Bitcoin mania may be pure speculation but the technology behind it - known as blockchain or shared public ledger - is seen as promising because it allows fast, efficient and secure transactions.
Finder.com.au spokeswoman Bessie Hassan said her firm's recent survey of economists found that 94 per cent expected blockchain to have widespread use in the financial sector and economy.
6 BIOMETRIC PAYMENTS
Ms Hassan said banking apps were following phones by introducing technology that read our fingerprints and faces instead of account passwords.
"Fingerprint, iris or face-scanning in banks could be next as these are far more secure forms of authorisation than cards with pin codes," she said.