September 23, 2022

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Almost one in five Australians have had a purchase declined at a checkout in the past three months amid the increased cost of living, new research has suggested.

A Finder survey of 1001 Australians has found 19 per cent have had a transaction declined at a supermarket, petrol station, restaurant or store in the past three months, equating to about 3.8 million Australians struggling with their bank accounts.

A further 13 per cent of people who took the survey said they had watched someone else have a transaction declined.

Finder’s money expert Sarah Megginson has put the results down to Australians struggling due to the cost of living crisis.

“So many people are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now,” she said.

“Australians are being left embarrassed at the check-out as increases to household bills means there’s just not much money left in the bank.

Research by Finder has further found a record 37 per cent of Australians are ranking groceries as one of their top three most stressful expenses this month, up from 28 per cent in March.

The highest number of people ranking groceries as in their top three before this year was in June last year, when 24 per cent of people said groceries were in their top three financial stressors.

Megginson said 2022 was proving to be the “perfect storm” for struggling finances.

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“Soaring food costs, high energy bills and rising interest rates and rents are the three key areas that are hurting households the most right now.

“It’s really distressing to be in a position where you can’t afford your groceries or fuel.

Megginson suggested Australians reconsider their service providers to try to keep their bills down.

“Consider switching utilities and refinancing your home loan to reduce your monthly expenses,” she said.

“And if you’re really struggling to make ends meet, contact your bill providers and ask them about their hardship policies or payment plans.

“They can work with you to alleviate some stress and get on the front foot.”

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