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ASIC's Laura Higgins on financial capability

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Money facts

Kids and money

Australian student saving, spending and financial access:

  • 81% of students have a bank account or a prepaid credit card
  • 52% of students earn money from working outside school hours
  • 57% of students regularly save money
  • 67% of students save money specifically to buy something if they don’t have enough money.

Source: FPA Aug 2018.

Unclaimed money

  • $1.2 billion from dormant bank accounts, shares, investments and life insurance policies is waiting to be claimed.
  • Australians can do a free unclaimed money search on
  • Money becomes unclaimed when a bank account hasn’t been used for 7 years and contains a balance of $500 or more.

Source: ASIC Annual Report 2018-19.

Credit cards

  • There are almost 16 million credit cards in Australia.
  • 1 in 6 Australians are struggling with credit card debt with $29.5 billion owing on credit cards accruing interest.
  • A credit card debt of $2,000 could take more than 12 years to pay off and cost around $2,150 in interest if the card holder only makes the minimum repayment.
  • Consumers could have saved $621 million in interest if they had a lower interest rate card (July 2016 – June 2017).
  • Consumers can use Moneysmart's credit card calculator to work out how long it will take to pay off their credit card debt.

Sources: RBA Nov 2018, ASIC July 2018.

Managing debt

  • 74% of Australian households hold debt and the average household debt is $168,600.
  • The most common form of debt is credit card debt, held by 55% of households, followed by home loans (34%) and student loans (17%).
  • 77% of over-indebted households in Australia lacked sufficient ‘liquid‘ assets to cover a quarter of the value of their debts.

Source: ABS July 2018.

Home loans

  • 70% of Australian households own or are purchasing their home.
  • 3.2 million Australians hold a mortgage over their primary residence.
  • The average owner-occupied mortgage is $384,700 and the average life of a mortgage is 25 years.

Sources: Census 2016, ABS 2017-18, ABS Nov 2018.

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National Financial Capability Strategy