Ap­petite ripens for eat­ing out


THE na­tion’s ad­dic­tion to fast food and win­ing and din­ing in restau­rants is cost­ing a small for­tune as Aus­tralians splash more cash than ever on eat­ing out.

New anal­y­sis of Com­mon­wealth Bank trans­ac­tion data has re­vealed the banks’ cus­tomers are spend­ing more than

$640 mil­lion per month on eat­ing out, and with Christ­mas just six weeks away, cus­tomers are be­ing warned to watch their spend­ing.

At restau­rants, din­ers are splurg­ing about $140 per month each – up 6 per cent in two years – and ap­petites for fast food are also on the rise, with con­sumers spend­ing about $90 per month – an in­crease of 20 per cent.

For those tuck­ing into fast food, about 72 per cent of trans­ac­tions are on debit cards, whereas for those din­ing in restau­rants pay­ments are split – only about 55 per cent of trans­ac­tions are on debit cards and the rest pay by credit.

But with the na­tion’s credit card debt rest­ing at a whop­ping $51.3 bil­lion and about $31.4 bil­lion of that ac­cru­ing in­ter­est, CBA’s ex­ec­u­tive gen­eral man­ager of dig­i­tal Pete Steel warned con­sumers to think care­fully about how they paid when not eat­ing at home.

“The RBA said about 85 per cent of all trans­ac­tions are non­cash now, so we think as money is get­ting in­vis­i­ble it’s a lot eas­ier to spend,’’ he said.

Mr Steel said trans­ac­tion no­ti­fi­ca­tions and alerts on the bank’s app could help cus­tomers mon­i­tor their spend­ing and they could also use the app’s Spend Tracker ca­pa­bil­ity.

This dif­fer­en­ti­ates where and what cus­tomers are spend­ing on in cat­e­gories in­clud­ing eat­ing out, entertainment, bills and shop­ping.

Ris­ing Tide fi­nan­cial ser­vices’ man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Chris Browne said “tap and go” pay­ments and pay­ing by card had made Aus­tralians “more im­pul­sive with spend­ing.”

“They are not tak­ing cash out of their wal­let and pay­ing for their take­away, they are rush­ing out their card and they are done,’’ he said.

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