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AUSTRALIAN credit-card users have confessed they can’t get themselves off the ‘credit card roundabout.’

Sky-high interest rates on cards – many above 20 per cent – make it hard for almost half of the population to pay back, with many conceding they can’t wipe their growing card debts.

Some also admit they are struggling to set a household budget, results from financial institution ME’s Savings Intentions and Behaviours Survey found.

Reserve Bank of Australia figures show in April the nation owed a whopping $51.07 billion on plastic compared to $49.9 billion at the same time last year.

About $34.4 billion is accruing interest.

ME’s head of deposits and transactional bank, Nic Emery, said a lack of money discipline was holding Australians back from getting financial back on track.

‘It’s stopping them from paying back bills on time and paying back other debts that they have,” he said.

‘The hardest thing is to start budgeting and looking what it is you spend and setting a budget.’

The findings showed about 57 per cent of households do set a budget, but almost half of them (40 per cent) fail to stick to it.

Soaring credit card interest rates will come under intense scrutiny following the announcement last week that there would be a Senate Economics References Committee inquiry to examine how and when interest is applied to credit cards, and also how min???????-imum payment levels are set.

Navacue financial adviser Ian Fox said credit cards remained far ‘too easy to get’ and urged users to set new goals at the beginning of the new financial year which starts on Wednesday.

‘The cards have too bigger credit limits and we are spending more than what we are making, we know that when we have to use a credit card,” he said.

‘The other danger with credit cards is because of the bonuses like reward points, that’s well and good to get them, but what about in the month that you can’t pay your credit card off in full.’

The results also found 20 per cent of Australians consistently failed to pay their household bills on time.


Posted by Sophie Elsworth – Sunday Herald Sun on 28th June, 2015