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Simple money mistake 7 million Aussies make: ‘It’s so enticing’

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
People walking on the street and Australian money.
Many Aussies regret spending their money using credit cards or buy-now-pay-later services. (Source: Getty)

If you’ve ever regretted whipping out the credit card or purchasing that ‘must-have’ item on buy now, pay later (BNPL), you’re not alone.

New research from Finder of 1,001 respondents revealed more than a third of Aussies (37 per cent) had made a regrettable purchase using a credit card or BNPL service – equivalent to 7.4 million people.

The research found Generation-Z had the biggest regrets (63 per cent), followed by Millennials (49 per cent).

Only a few Baby Boomers (16 per cent) could relate.

Clothing, shoes and accessories were the top guilty pleasure, with 11 per cent of Aussies reporting they regretted those purchases the most.

This was followed by entertainment, concert or sport tickets (4 per cent), holidays (4 per cent), and gambling (3 per cent).

Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder, said Australians were beginning to understand the real consequences of paying in installments.

“When BNPL first launched, there was a surge of interest in it – younger people in particular were drawn to the convenience and marketing hype around it,” Bradney-George said.

“It’s so enticing because it’s interest-free and easy to get when you’re already shopping.”

Bradney-George said that while having a credit card was also convenient, the cost of interest could add up if you didn’t pay it off in regular installments, and some charged hefty annual fees.

“There are big differences between cards, so it pays to shop around,” she said.

“And think about whether you need one.“Impulse buying can put you in hot water quickly, making it harder to pay back what you’ve spent and potentially leading to serious debt.”

The data found men (41 per cent) were far more likely to feel guilty for purchases they’d made using a credit card or BNPL than women (34 per cent).

“A credit card or BNPL could be handy if you’re confident you can meet the repayments on time, but just a few late payments can add up quickly,” Bradney-George said.

“Using credit cards or BNPL is often a reactive response, but you can be proactive with your finances by budgeting and planning ahead so that you don’t need to rely on them and risk ending up in debt.”

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