Top money trends of 2018. Expert predictions on how to earn cash this year

Getting on top of your finances was a resolution many made at the start of the year.

Finder.com.au’s Graham Cooke reveals his 5 biggest economic trends to watch for investing in 2018 including Bitcoin, one-on-one lending and the abolishment of ATMS.

TODAY: What is bitcoin, how do they work and is it here to stay?

GRAHAM: Bitcoin is a digital currency. No bills to print or coins to mint. It’s decentralised – there’s no government, institution, like a bank, or other authority that controls it. Owners are anonymous; instead of using names or tax file numbers they have an online encryption key.

Once you own bitcoins, they behave like physical gold coins: they possess value and trade just as if they were nuggets of gold in your pocket. You can use your bitcoins to purchase goods and services online, or you can tuck them away and hope that their value increases over the years.

The biggest impact in 2018 may not be from bitcoin itself, but the blockchain system that supports it.
Blockchain is the technology used to transfer bitcoin and other crypto-currencies such as ethereum and ripple.
This universally-distributed ledger platform has the potential to change not just the finance industry but also the property and music industries, among others. In fact 94 per cent of economists surveyed by finder.com.au in November 2017 expect blockchain will have widespread use in the financial sector and economy.

My number one tip, don’t risk more than you can afford to lose.

TODAY: How will banking change in 2018?

GRAHAM: Here are 3 examples:

1. MORE AUTOMATED BRANCHES:
The aforementioned rise in mobile and online banking has meant Australians are less likely than ever to need to visit their local branch. The number of branches is also predicted to fall further in rural, regional and remote areas. Branches in high-traffic areas such as city centres are likely to become increasingly automated, with automatic coin and cash deposit machines available alongside regular ATMs.

Those few Aussies who still want to deal with a human at their bank will be facing longer and longer lines in 2018. For those who have been reluctant the time to get engaged with technology may be now.

2. DISAPPEARANCE OF ATMs & CHEQUES:
Our projection of data from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reveals that despite many banks dropping ATM fees, ATMs could be a distant memory in Australia by 2036.

The number of ATM withdrawals per month has fallen from a high of 73 million in 2010 to just 47 million in 2017.
A similar forecast of cheque usage data from the RBA shows that cheques could be expected to disappear completely from circulation in Australia by the end of 2019.

3. NEW PAYMENTS PLATFORM (NPP):
By far the biggest change to the financial industry in Australia will be the New Payments Platform (NPP), which will be switched on in phases from February 2018.

The NPP will finally enable instant payment between most Australian citizens, banks and service providers. Meaning, Australians will no longer have to wait two days or more to transfer funds from one account to another, or to see if credit card bills have been paid.

The accompanying PayID system will mean Australians won’t have to ever remember a BSB again. Instead, they’ll have the choice to use a ID such as email, mobile number or address, to receive payments.

The NPP will be beneficial to both Australian consumers and businesses alike and may trigger further innovations.

TODAY: How are loans expected to change in 2018?

GRAHAM: I predict a rise of one-to-one lending. Until recently, the only options available to Australians who wanted a personal loan were products from banks or building societies.

However, peer-to-peer lending has revolutionised the lending industry internationally in recent time, and over the last couple of years, has hit Australian shores and have been widely adopted by Australians.

As well as offering loans with rates sometime lower than the major banks, these platforms also allow Australians to lend money and earn higher interest than they would in a savings account. For example, the average three-year term deposit in December 2017 paid 2.5 percent interest. However, peer-to-peer lender ratesetter are currently offering 7.4 percent for the same period.

While peer-to-peer lending has higher risk than a traditional savings account, the increased return may be tempting for many Australians with some funds to spare.

TODAY: For kids wanting to save this year what is a good money saving app?

GRAHAM: In 2018 there will be a influx of new innovations which help kids save their pocket money such as such as Spriggy, an app which won Best Banking Innovation at the 2017 Finder awards.
Spriggy gives children control over their money, which can be difficult to do with a traditional savings account.

Due to the attention received by this app, and a general lack of innovation in this space in the market, further fintech companies are expected to fill this space in 2018.

Furthermore, given how digitally savvy children are, using technology to empower them to take ownership of their savings and spendings is extremely effective and is expected to contribute to the success of future innovations.

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