Race that stops us spend­ing – briefly


TO­MOR­ROW’S Mel­bourne Cup is the race that stops the na­tion from spend­ing, al­though only for a while.

A new anal­y­sis by the Com­mon­wealth Bank of al­most 1.4 mil­lion credit and debit card trans­ac­tions has dis­cov­ered a 10-minute win­dow around race time when con­sumer spend­ing ef­fec­tively halves.

How­ever, over­all Mel­bourne Cup day spend­ing is about

12 per cent higher than a typ­i­cal Tues­day, and spend­ing on res­tau­rants and trans­port has surged in the past two years, CBA’s anal­y­sis found.

CBA’s gen­eral man­ager of ev­ery­day ac­counts, Rohan Ritchie, said that the 42 per cent drop in con­sumer spend­ing in the min­utes be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter the race was unique. “It’s the only day of the year where we see this type of stand­still in trans­ac­tion ac­tiv­ity,” he said.

Mr Ritchie said the ma­jor­ity of Mel­bourne Cup spend­ing was on debit cards rather than credit cards.

“If we’re not care­ful the day can re­ally add up with­out us even re­al­is­ing,” he said. Mr Ritchie said Cup Day rev­ellers should give them­selves a spend­ing limit ahead of time, and could use apps or on­line bank­ing tech­nol­ogy to block a blowout. Wealth for Life Fi­nan­cial Plan­ning prin­ci­pal Rex Whit­ford said peo­ple could pre­vent temp­ta­tion at Cup func­tions by not bring­ing credit and debit cards with them.

“Just take cash if you can – leave the plas­tic at home,” he said.

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