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The mistake 1 million Aussie credit card holders are making

Someone paying with credit card
People who don't check their credit card accounts are opening themselves up to fraudulent activity. (Source: Getty)

A troubling 8 per cent of Australian credit card holders never check the activity on their credit cards, increasing their chance of losing money through identity theft scams.

“Looking at your credit card activity often will help you keep track of your spending and identify any unusual transactions before serious financial losses occur,” Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder, said.

Bradney-George said if people spotted suspicious activity on their credit card accounts, banks can freeze the account and investigate the issue.

“This helps you get your money back in the case of fraud,” she said

According to the data from Finder, around 2 per cent of credit card holders employed a set-and-forget approach to their credit card accounts, preferring to leave their accounts unmonitored with their bills set to autopay.

Another 6 per cent just logged in to pay their balances but didn’t bother to check activity on their accounts.

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

Credit card scams are on the rise, with the Australian Payments Network reporting a 9.2 per cent rise in fraud on payment card transactions in the 12 months to 30 June 2021.

Fortunately, the majority of credit card holders checked their accounts regularly.

As many as 57 per cent checked their accounts at least once a week, with 24 per cent glancing over their accounts when their statements came through every month.

Checking your account keeps your finances healthy

Bradney-George also said keeping an eye on your credit card activity helps keep your spending under control.

“Tracking your spending regularly will also help you avoid spending more than you can afford to repay,” she said.

“If you have a balance, checking your account activity can also help you see your progress towards paying it off.”

National credit card debt has risen for the fourth month in a row to $17.44 billion, according to Reserve Bank of Australia data. research director Sally Tindall said family budgets were under pressure from rising costs of fuel and groceries.

“Credit card debt has ticked up for the fourth month in a row. While the rises have so far been relatively moderate, it’s a red flag some Australians are doing it tough,” Tindall said.

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