Australians desperate to pay their bills turn to HelpPay app
Australians who are desperate to make ends meet are increasingly crowd sourcing their bills to make sure they get paid on time.
Media Coverage Dated: 27 January 2023
The cost of living crisis has forced some Australians turn to friends, family and even strangers just to pay their bills on time, with hundreds of people turning to an app to raise money.
HelpPay, a social fintech company that allows people to crowdsource money to pay their bills, saw usage skyrocket by 60 per cent over the Christmas period as people looked for ways to make ends meet.
The amount of money sent through HelpPay’s app in the December period surged by $200,000 to $1.74 million.
Rye couple Sandy and Peter have used HelpPay for two years to make ends meet after he suffered a heart attack.
HelpPay’s app allows those under financial stress to turn their bill into a link that can be sent to loved ones or shared online for people to donate to, ensuring the money goes where it’s intended.
Surging inflation rates have put added pressure on Australian households, with the consumer price index rising to 7.8 per cent in the 12 months to December 2022.
The app has been a lifeline for nurse Sandy and her family, who are now on a single income after her partner Peter suffered a major health scare in 2021 that prevented him from working as a landscaper.
“The cost of living was hard but we were doing okay and then he had a heart attack, had eight stents put in his heart and found out he was in heart failure.” she said.
“He said to the doctor ‘When can I go back to work?’ and the doctor said ’Well, how long do you want to live?’
“We were shattered, both of us were shattered, you know, moving forward. We just didn‘t know what to do.”
The couple say that the app has helped them through the "pressure" of being on a single income through the cost of living crisis.
Co-founder Rowan Wilde says increasing interest rates are also putting more pressure on households.
The couple turned to HelpPay, something Sandy said changed their lives completely after struggling on one paycheck, having to go on payment plans for bills and cutting expenses out of their lives.
“I was not prepared to put myself under that pressure because then how was I going to manage,” she said.
“I don’t get a lot of money per hour, even with the work I do.”
Sandy said this Christmas period was even tougher due to the increasing cost of living.
“We had to change this Christmas since Peter got sick, because we‘ve got seven grandchildren and five children between us. We couldn’t spend money on them like we used to,” she said.
Not only did usage climb over Christmas, but the total active users on the platform also surged by more than 60 per cent.
Electricity bills are the most common type sent through the app, followed by phone bills and gas. Source: HelpPay
Treasurer Jim Chalmers described the level of inflation as “unacceptably high” and “very high by historical standards”.
Mr Chalmers told reporters the latest figures are “likely the peak in inflation but we won’t know that for sure until we get the numbers for this March quarter”.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics blamed higher costs for food, automotive fuel and new dwelling construction for the rise in inflation.
The surging usage and new member figures surprised co-founder and chief customer officer Rowan Wilde.
“The new numbers tell us there’s many Australian households experiencing financial distress who are already open to the idea of asking for help,” he said.
“It’s our job to reassure anyone who’s struggling that it’s okay to ask for help.”
Electricity is the most common bill type uploaded to the platform – something Sandy said was true for her family – representing 21.8 per cent of all payments.
“You only need to read the papers to see why. Prices are going up fast at a time when families will be agonising over how to keep the house cool for the kids,” Mr Wilde said.
Phone bills are the second most common bills sent through HelpPay (17.7 per cent) followed by gas (11.3 per cent).
Some are even forced to pay their rent through the app.
Sandy has urged other Australians to reach out to family and friends for help through the app considering the cost of living crisis.
“I’m not a lover of asking for help, it’s a really hard thing when you’ve been financially independent for so long,” she said.
“But how many people are in a bad position? Whether someone’s going through something, someone’s lost their job, had a car accident.
“It creates anxiety, mental health conditions, suicide, people need to be aware of this so that they can get the help they need and family can help them while knowing where the money is going.”
See the original article here - news.com.au: Australians desperate to pay their bills turn to HelpPay app
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HelpPay is a 100% Australian owned fintech focused on making helping easier. HelpPay's app is available to everyone in Australia to download for free and enables them to share and get help with bills. Unlike other platforms payments made towards bills go directly to the company that issued the bill, so help arrives quickly with less effort for everyone. Download the HelpPay app for Apple here and Google here.