NAB credit card customers risk bad credit record

NAB is switching its credit card customers to Visa. Photo: Louise KennerleyNational Australia Bank credit card customers who do not update their direct debit arrangements when they are issued their new Visa credit card risk not only missing payments, but potentially damaging their credit records.
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The warning comes as hundreds of thousands of NAB credit card customers are being switched from MasterCard to Visa.

With the advent of the comprehensive credit reporting regimen, more types of late payments of bills are recorded on credit records.  A poor credit record could make if harder or impossible to get a loan.

Late last year, NAB signed a 10-year exclusive deal with Visa effectively dumping MasterCard. All customers have been notified of the change.

It started issuing Visa credit cards to its MasterCard customers in July. t is expected to be another 12 months until the switch-over is complete.

There is no change for NAB debit cardholders as NAB debit cards are already provided by Visa.

A Money reader recently received a letter from NAB saying that she is to be issued with a Visa credit card. This was the first she heard of it.

The reader, who wishes not to be named, said her husband has direct debits on the MasterCard to pay the bills and is not impressed with having to change all the arrangements.

“It’s a very high-handed, unilateral decision in which their customers have had no say in whatsoever,” she says.

NAB maintains that customers who have a MasterCard credit card are being issued a like-for-like or better Visa credit card.

A NAB spokesperson said the bank is providing its customers with a changeover period of at least 60 days after they receive their new Visa credit card to update their direct debit details.

Also, some direct debits, such as those payments set up by NAB or from other bank accounts, will automatically be transferred to the new card.

Bessie Hassan, money expert at comparison site, Finder, says it is very important that NAB customers check their last credit card bill and identify all payments that are processed automatically and give the providers their new credit card details.

“If you forget to change your direct debits you could miss payments and subsequently damage your credit score if a direct debit remains unpaid for too long,” she says.

A damaged credit score is more likely with a missed regular payment, such as for telecommunications plans, which many people pay automatically with their credit cards, she says.

Payments on home loans, personal loans and on credit cards themselves are usually not allowed to be made with credit cards, she says.

NAB says the deal with Visa will result in a “full range of card features and improved banking and payment experiences”.

For example, as a consequence of the deal with Visa, the bank earlier this year released NAB Pay, which allows customers to make contactless payments using their smartphones.

Westpac and Commonwealth Banks say they have no plans to follow NAB in signing up their retail credit card customers with one credit card provider.

ANZ was contacted but did not respond by deadline.

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NSW government accused of discrimination against temporary residents

Software designer Silvio Jemma is frustrated at not being able to enrol his son in a local school. Photo: Daniel MunozChildren as young as five are being rejected by NSW public schools because their parents are temporary visa holders while schools across Sydney overflow with enrolments.
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Five-year-old Frederico Jemma was born in Sydney to Italian parents who have lived in NSW for seven years on temporary visas. Both have paid taxes and are happy to stump up the $5000 it costs to send an international student to a local public school.

But in September they were told there was no room for Frederico at Kensington Public.

Enrolments have skyrocketed by between three and five times the NSW average over the past four years across the Waverley, Canada Bay, Sydney and Ryde local government areas, according to a Fairfax Media analysis of Department of Education figures. At Kensington Public they have surged 14 per cent in that time alone.

Facing a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion to build thousands of new classrooms, the NSW government committed record levels of funding this year for 1100 new classrooms in the next four years to help meet the boom in student enrolments.

But the extra capacity will not come quickly enough for Frederico.

Frederico was rejected because he was the son of migrants who had been unable to stay in the one job for the more than two years necessary to gain sponsorship and permanent residency.

As the son of temporary visa holders, Frederico is ineligible for citizenship until he turns 10.

Frederico’s father, Silvio Jemma, a software developer, has worked for Animal Logic, the film production company behind the animated hit Happy Feet.

He is one of several employees in the industry which runs on short-term contracts, who claim they have been left out due to restrictions on enrolling students on temporary visas.

“Most of the children in his class at the daycare, most of them are going to Kensington,” said Mr Jemma. “He thinks he is going to go there, he thinks he is going to stay with them, that is what we thought too, now we are just staying silent.

“It is discrimination. I live 500 metres away and just because I have a 457 Visa I have no rights. It’s frustrating.”

Last year, Fairfax Media revealed the NSW government was weighing a ban on international students at inner-Sydney schools to accommodate rising local enrolments.

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Mirvac forecasts strong growth despite settlement delays

At Harold Park in Sydney, Mirvac said there was only one remaining lot to be settled across all completed stages. Mirvac recently opened the Tramsheds at Harold Park, Sydney. Photo: Cole Bennetts
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The number of apartment buyers defaulting before settlement has risen above Mirvac’s historic average of 1 per cent following banks’ clampdown on lending to overseas investors.

But the diversified developer and fund manager said demand for its apartments remained strong and it had resold all defaulted lots marketed for sale.

“While we continue to experience settlement delays from foreign buyers, settlements overall are tracking in line with expectations, and we continue to carefully monitor and manage our settlement risk profile,” Mirvac chief executive Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said in the group’s first-quarter results.

Mirvac said it had completed 667 settlements in the past three months, including more than 60 by overseas-based buyers.

Despite looming fears of an oversupply of apartments around the country, Mirvac reaffirmed its target of more than 3300 lot settlements in the 2017 financial year, with more than 65 per cent expected to settle in the second half.

It said it would achieve its targets of 8 to 11 per cent growth in operating earnings in the 2017 financial year, and a residential return of more than 15 per cent on invested capital.

Overall, it had 2840 of targeted lots pre-sold or settled, including 95 per cent of its top 10 projects. These included Moreton Bondi, 2 Unison Waterfront, Queensland and 3 Yarra’s Edge, Victoria.

At Harold Park in Sydney, there was only one remaining lot to be settled across all completed stages. Construction of the final stage, Precinct 5, was under way and it was 93 per cent pre-sold.

Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz​ said Mirvac had released more than 850 residential lots, with “solid sales across both apartments and master-planned community projects”.

There was an increase in pre-sales contracts to $3 billion, with 37 per cent expected to settle this financial year.

“The group remains on track to achieve a significant uplift in earnings within our residential business in FY17, underpinned by a high level of earnings visibility,” Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

She said as at September 30, Mirvac had 89 per cent of expected residential earnings before interest and tax secured for the current financial year and and 59 per cent secured for the 2018 financial year.

“Our overweight [position] to Sydney and Melbourne, in addition to a balanced exposure to master-planned communities and apartment projects, means we are well-placed to capture demand for quality residential product,” Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

“Our medium-term outlook remains robust, with a current pipeline that supports over 14,000 potential lot settlements over the next four years.” Mixed outlook

But there is a mixed outlook for the residential sector.

Sydney and Melbourne, where Mirvac is overweight, are in the grip of a construction boom, with Brisbane steady and Perth remaining weak.

The latest State of the States report from CommSec says NSW remains on top of the economic performance rankings but may experience a challenge from Victoria over the coming year. Overall construction work is providing solid momentum to the economy.

Victoria remains in second spot on the performance rankings. And given solid growth on a number of key indicators, the state is well positioned to consolidate or improve its position.

CommSec’s chief economist, Craig James, said Queensland was the second strongest state on dwelling starts and population growth was the fastest in 15 months. Both tourism and agricultural exports would provide momentum in coming months and higher coal prices were encouraging.

This was reinforced by the latest Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index, which shows the residential sector continues to be the driving force in activity, with more than 81 per cent of all cranes sighted on new apartment developments around the country.

The RLB index shows that Sydney continues to be the driver of crane activity, with 46 per cent of all cranes (up from 44 per cent). Melbourne and Brisbane saw small losses in crane numbers as projects moved towards completion.

Mirvac’s other business of office, industrial and retail was also strong, with rents rising, vacancies steady and sales per square metre in the redeveloped malls, hitting about $10,000 a year.

Mirvac has plans to boost its retail segment with the redevelopment of the Harbourside shopping precinct in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, which is said to include an apartment tower. It also recently opened the Tramsheds at Harold Park, Sydney.

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Time for cricket authorities to act over schedule

Repercussions of a losing one-day series against South Africa were minimal for Australia. Photo: Gallo ImagesComment
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The message is loud and clear. Australia’s top cricketers are complaining there are too many matches, and the need to satisfy bilateral agreements and television contracts is potentially diluting the honour of representing your country.

Cricket Australia officials declare if players are feeling the pinch, then they should rest during April and May, rather than using this time to head off to the lucrative Indian Premier League.

That thought is echoed by Steve Waugh, who says the only difference in scheduling compared to his time in the game is the level of intensity of the matches, for there are more internationals, but players are able to bypass grade and domestic cricket – something he didn’t do.

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council continues to work on plans to add greater context to the three formats, even considering splitting Test nations into conferences.

Clearly, something needs to give soon, for hostility between players and officials over a congested schedule, exacerbated by complaints about a lack of context, are growing. So, what to do?

Scheduling, no matter what the sport, is tricky, with vested interests, but this summer’s hotchpotch of a calendar adds to the frustration.

Test campaigns against South Africa (the fourth different series they have met Australia in this year) and Pakistan are divided by three one-day matches against New Zealand, as part of the new deal over the Chappell-Hadlee series – a sweetener to the Black Caps agreeing to the inaugural pink-ball Test last summer.

Once the Pakistan Test series is done there are five one-day internationals, then a trip to New Zealand for three one-day internationals. And that’s not the end of the local summer, for there will be three Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka back on home shores.

These fall at the same time the Australian Test squad will be preparing for the first Test in India, meaning there will be two Australian sides on the go – potentially diluting the prestige of representing your country, although ensuring a healthy payday for a wider group of players ($5000 a T20 match).

There is no question the T20 format has been a stunning success at a domestic or franchise level, but it still seems an afterthought – outside of the World T20 – at an international level. There is a view among some in the Australian set-up that the commentary gimmicks associated with T20 internationals means the format is more entertainment than sport.

If international T20s were cut from the calendar, outside of the World T20, would it really matter? Probably not. It would allow more rest for the players, and even add to the value of the T20 domestic product, including the Big Bash League. Spots for the T20 World Cup squad could be judged on domestic performances.

In terms of the IPL, such is its lure and power that it’s time players from all nations can participate fully and annually. The Australians have been given about a six-week window in April and May to do so, although this is then used against them in the “rest” debate.

What shouldn’t be forgotten is that an IPL payday is money a governing board doesn’t need to find to help keep players content – an issue particularly among the poorer nations.

The “context” issue is also an important one, for the Test championship lacks public recognition – many judge Australia’s standing on performances in the Ashes rather than overall rankings – while there are too many meaningless one-day internationals. Australia was able to send an under-strength side to South Africa this month because the repercussions of a losing series were minimal.

That would change if these series had an impact on World Cup points qualification – the 2019 event will have 10 nations, a drop of four – and the pool groups countries were placed in. The sooner this happens the better. It may not be revolutionary but at least it’s something.

“There is a conflict within players around the world under the current structure. The game … must find a way to give meaning to each game. Every match must matter,” former South African skipper Graeme Smith said.

Federation of International Cricketers Association executive chairman Tony Irish said there is “rapidly losing spectator appeal” in many countries to bilateral cricket. “Consequently their commercial value is under severe threat,” he said in FICA’s structural review.

It’s not uncommon for players and administrators to be at loggerheads but, in this era when there is much money to be made, surely there is a way to keep all parties happy.

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Glenn Maxwell left out of Victorian Bushrangers XI for Sheffield Shield opener

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Having been denied a move to NSW during the winter, Glenn Maxwell was left shocked on Tuesday after his hopes of a Test recall took a major hit following his omission from the Victorian XI for their Sheffield Shield opener against Tasmania at the MCG.

The Bushrangers were rarely troubled in his absence though, with West Australian recruit Marcus Harris marking his first Shield appearance with his new state with a century as Victoria cruised to 4-351 at stumps on day one.

Maxwell, 28, sought a move to NSW during the off-season but had his request knocked back by the Bushrangers after an administrative bungle in which he requested his transfer after the window for Cricket Australia-contracted players had closed. The mercurial all-rounder was dumped from the national one-day side earlier this year, at which time national selection chairman Rod Marsh urged him to make a compelling case for a return by making runs aplenty for his state. But that task was made impossible – at least for now – when Victoria named their side for the clash with the Tigers, with Maxwell picked as 12th man.

Maxwell – who averaged 56 in the Shield for the Bushrangers last summer – was overlooked even after a sore neck incurred by fellow all-rounder Marcus Stoinis in the warm-up, with Daniel Christian drafted into the XI despite missing the initial 12-man squad. It’s understood Maxwell was taken aback by the news.

Victorian coach and selector Andrew McDonald defended Maxwell’s omission. “It’s just a matter of balance,” McDonald said. “There will be some unlucky players.”

While Maxwell was likely to struggle to play a home Test this summer, his reputation as a good player of spin, as well as a useful off-spinner and skilful fielder meant he had been touted as an option for the Test tour of India early next year.

Maxwell’s non-selection overshadowed the start of a match in which quicks Jackson Bird (Tasmania) and Peter Siddle (Victoria) are seeking to impress on-duty national selector Mark Waugh before Australia’s squad for the first Test against South Africa is picked later this week.

Tasmania won the toss and chose to bowl, with Bird taking the new ball for his side. He was typically tidy (1-53 off 22 overs) and was rewarded for his toil when he had Aaron Finch caught behind for 17 on the stroke of dinner. But it was Harris who stole the show, briskly making his fifth first-class ton and repaying Victoria’s decision to pluck him from WA, where his output was middling across 42 first-class matches. Harris was eventually dismissed for 115, after edging spinner Beau Webster to first slip. Test batting aspirant Peter Handscomb also started his red-ball campaign in fine fettle, getting to 78 before lobbing the ball to backward point where he was caught after misjudging an Andrew Fekete bouncer. However, Matthew Wade (56 not out) and Cameron White (50 not out) refused to allow the Tigers a look at Victoria’s tail. The early Victorian wicket to fall was opener Travis Dean, who was bowled by spinner Cameron Boyce after making a scratchy 26.

Harris said the pink-ball – first used in the Shield three summers ago – had become easier to see over the last two Australian seasons.

“It’s been good,” Harris said after play.

“It didn’t swing in the first five or six overs and then the lacquer came of it a little and it swung a bit, and then the seams went soft and the air went out of it a bit.

“But it’s been all good otherwise.

“It’s still sort of tough sitting in the viewing room watching it. When you’re playing it’s sort of OK, but yeah it’s definitely improved.”

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