By Effie Zahos
Money magazine, September edition
Effie Zahos has a close look at modern day wedding day giving
“I don’t want to offend,
but I have it all,
and so much more.
To save you shopping,
looking and buying,
a gift of currency,
I thought you’d like trying.”
Sensible or just plain rude? Whatever your thoughts on the gift of cash you can be sure your next wedding invite will end with just such a poem. I guess it makes sense. These days couples are marrying later, probably already living together so a toaster is the last thing they want. Institutions have caught on and are wooing customers with proposals of their own.
Community First Credit Union, for example, has launched a Matrimoney account – an Aussie first I’m told.
It’s a cross between a traditional registry at a department store, a wishing well and a high-yield online saver. As Community First puts it, it is “a thoughtful way for engaged couples to request the gift of money instead of presents”.
The account is free to open, charges no fees and pays a healthy 4% return. While online savers such as those from RAMs and RaboDirect are paying slighter higher returns, there are no minimum monthly contributions needed to earn the headline rate, nor is the 4% return a promotional rate. The account comes with a whole lot of wedding bells and whistles.
There’s a personalised online home page where you’re able to upload photos, give out wedding details and a welcome message for your guests. You can create personal registry cards to include in your invitations.
On the guest side giving is just as easy. They can deposit in person at a branch, by post or over the internet. Receipt cards are issued so that guests can include this in a wedding card. You’re able to track any deposits via internet banking, SMS or email alerts.
“It’s a natural evolution,” says John Tancevski, Community First Credit Union’s chief executive officer. “We are responding to consumer demand. The concept is transportable so if this takes off we could roll out an account such as this for just about any milestone.”
While there are hundreds of cash gift registries online, watch out for those that want a cut of your cash – as much as 5.9% per cash gift transaction. And while some of the sites suggest passing these fees onto your guests, I don’t think this would be a wise move if you want to keep things smooth on your big day.
HatchMyHouse.com is a US-based site launched last year and has account users in Australia. It is essentially a cash gift registry for your guests to buy parts of your house or help with renovations.
You start by building a graphic design of your house and set a range of prices for the registry such as $100 for a coffee table, $75 for a window and so on. Your guests simple scroll over your virtual house and click on an item they wish to contribute to.
It’s a clever idea that’s nicely packaged but the site charges a 5.9% transaction fee (this includes the 2.9% PayPal fee).
Money Focus with Heidi Armstrong
If you apply for a home loan your lender will want to conduct a credit check. Most lenders subscribe to the credit reporting agency Veda Advantage so they can both receive information about your credit file as well as update it with your latest Inquiry with them.
Borrowers should be aware there is no benefit in not fully disclosing all existing credit contracts. Usually your lender will ask you to confirm the outcome of your historic credit applications. If the lender is not entirely satisfied with your response (and suspects you have additional undisclosed borrowings) they may seek confirmation directly with each credit provider noted on your credit file. In this era of heightened compliance, non-disclosure is a very serious issue AND lenders are showing little tolerance.
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