Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Does paying a home loan fortnightly or weekly, instead of monthly, save money?

For some reason the question as to whether paying a loan fortnightly or weekly instead of monthly, saves money or not came into mind.

Over the years I've heard many people suggest paying the loan off fortnightly or weekly, but there's a trick in the technique. You take the monthly amount, divide it into two or four and pay this amount fortnightly or weekly. If you pay fortnightly you're paying an extra half monthly payment a year and if you pay weekly, you pay an extra monthly payment. So yes that will reduce your interest by an amount since you're paying more off your loan.

But what if you just calculate and pay off the loan weekly or fortnightly.

I decided to update my Mortgage Repayment Calculator so people can easily work out a weekly or fortnightly payment, if for example they get paid weekly or fortnightly. By doing this I could also quickly see the effect of making a weekly or fortnightly payment based on this being the correct amount to repay the loan off over the nominated period.

The bottom line.

The savings over the life of the loan are insignificant. For a $600,000 loan over 30 years at 5%, paying weekly compared with monthly saves about $1,000 in half a million dollars of interest. The real benefit is it may make it easier to budget for a loan if the loan payment matches you pay period. No real savings to be made.

Kelvin Eldridge
Mortgage Repayment Calculator

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Mortgage Repayment Calculator web app now live.

A while ago I wrote the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator which I felt may be handy for home buyers. However at the time I thought a mortgage repayment calculator would also be handy.

Yes there are a lot of mortgage calculators on the web, so who really needs another one. The calculators I write are most often single function calculators. You can add them easily to your home screen on your mobile device for quick reference. They aren't buried deep in a site, they are the site.

When I see two calculators like the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator and the Mortgage Repayment Calculator that are often used by people around the same time, I can then provide handy links between the calculators.

If you would like to know how much the monthly repayments on a mortgage are, give the Mortgage Repayment Calculator a shot at https://www.justlocal.com.au/mortgagerepaymentcalculator/.

Kelvin Eldridge
Mortgage Repayment Calculator
Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator

How gullible are you? Hoax sharing on Facebook may allow scammers to find gullible people to scam.

Tonight I watched The Project and was quite surprised when they said how people on Facebook may be exposing themselves, their family and friends.

Over the past week I've seen and know others will have seen a couple of Facebook posts, where it felt something may not be quite what it seems. Not that the pictures weren't real, but they'd been reused.

1. A young boy who was told they wouldn't get birthday wishes and people being asked, 'Please do not scroll without typing "Happy Birthday"'.
2. A pack of wolves led by the elderly and sick in the pack.

The first was a picture that had been taken from site set up to help raise funds and the second from a BBC documentary in 2011, describing the alpha female leading the pack reducing the energy required by those following.

Whilst there may be a variety of reasons these posts exist, the reason The Project gave was very concerning.

The episode aired on Tuesday the 21st of February. The segment starts at 26:55 into the video. You can see this segment on Catch-up TV for a limited time.

An example of the type of post was given. In summary for the example given, a UK mum posted pictures on Facebook of her son with severe case of chicken pox a year ago. Her son is now healthy. The pictures now appear on Facebook saying the baby has cancer. It is stated that Facebook is giving money for likes, shares and comments. People are asked to 'please not scroll down without writing a comment saying "Amen"'.

This is a hoax.

One person interviewed said what the scammers may receive is people's information or, to direct people to websites where they might compromise a person's computer.

Carrie Bickmore goes on to say, "liking, commenting and sharing these posts, isn't just a waste of time, it's a great way to get yourself on a list of people who are vulnerable to cons." Now whether Carrie is correct or not about people ending up on list of people vulnerable to cons, outlandish offers by scammers in the past have been used to help identify the more gullible.

So if you're liking, commenting, or sharing these posts, you're potentially exposing yourself, but you may also be exposing your family and friends, who may in turn also like, comment and share.

A few years ago we saw many people forwarding emails with hoaxes and scams. This activity has now largely moved to social media sites like Facebook.

Before liking, sharing, or commenting on posts, perhaps pause for a moment and ask yourself if this will help or harm those you know.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Save 7 cents a litre on petrol, possibly more with a discount voucher.

Today I noticed we're in the part of the petrol price cycle where prices split out and can vary considerably across areas. Below is a map of the petrol prices around my area from Petrol Prices Melbourne.
The red markers show the most expensive petrol at 129.9 and the darker green markers at 122.9 cents per litre. Whilst this price spread isn't unusual, with Eltham more expensive and Doncaster East lower, the difference is usually more around the four to five cents a litre.

If I were to go to the local Shell service station, I'd be paying one of the highest prices at 129.9. However, if I plan my trip and stop at one of the petrol stations I pass along the way, there's a good chance of saving quite a bit on petrol. This could add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

The extra bonus, throw in a Woolworths petrol discount and the savings could be up to 11 cents a litre.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Thursday, February 16, 2017

TPG. No indication a voicemail has been received.

I've been using the TPG mobile service for a number of years. A while ago I retired the old iPhone and moved to a very inexpensive Huawei. Whilst the Android/Huawei phone has some gremlins, overall, for the very low cost ($99 on special at Coles), it's hard to complain.

However, one thing I have noticed is, if I'm on a call and someone rings and they go to voicemail, I don't get any notification that they've called and left a message. No beeps in the background. No text message. Nothing. Nada. Zip. It isn't until next time I check the voicemail I realise someone else has called, perhaps a few days ago. That's really not acceptable.

I couldn't help feeling there must be a setting that I need to change. There it was. If you call 1218 on your mobile you set the option to receive a text message if a voicemail is received.

Are you getting notified of voicemails when you're already talking on the mobile? It's a good idea to do the following test to see.

1. Make a call from your mobile. I called my home phone.

2. Whilst chatting, make a call from a second phone to your mobile. The call should go to voicemail if voicemail is enabled. Leave a message and hang up the second phone.

3. Now go back to your mobile and complete that call.

4. You should receive some form of notification that a call has been left. If not, investigate your mobile service provider's options and see if you can turn on a text message alert when a voicemail is left.

A separate issue is sometimes I've heard people say, "I've been calling you" and they expect somehow you're supposed to know. When questioned it turns out they call but don't leave a message. If the person they're calling is on another call there's no way for the person to know they've called. There's nothing in the log, no message, so no indication anyone has called. If you want someone to know you've called, it may be a good idea to leave a message.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Don't answer YES to a telephone call. Scam or Hoax scam?

I've read recently quite a few articles letting people know of a scam where they answer yes to a telephone call from a scammer. The problem is this has been widely reported, yet I can't find one incident where the yes has actually been used by a scammer.

The typical situation is you get a phone call. You know the phone calls. "Are you the resident of the home", or any other question where you answer yes. The yes response is recorded and then somehow later used to scam you. Sounds feasible because I suspect we've all received those type of calls. Even a call could be "can you hear me?"

The problem is, since I can't find one real reference to if the response of yes has actually been used to scam someone. Yes, lots of responses by people saying they've received calls where they answer yes to the call, but none saying this has actually resulted in being scammed.

When I read news items like this it means they may be true, or they may simply be a hoax designed to get people to forward the information to others. The hoax gets people to spread the news even though it may not be real. For example this post is letting others know so if it is a hoax, then I've been tricked into spreading the hoax.

Until I can determine/find a real situation where this 'yes' type call is actually being used to scam people, we have to assume it's a hoax. However, it doesn't hurt to be safe. If you receive a telephone call from someone you don't know, perhaps don't answer 'yes' from now on. Perhaps use 'why'. "Why,  who wishes to know". "Why, how can I help you".

It is truly sad when our technology such as our phones, which offer us such convenience is used maliciously against us, but that's the age we live in.

Many years ago when caller id came in I happily blocked my number so others could not see it. Now I take the opposite approach. I suggest to everyone to let others see your number unless there's a reason not to. I now don't answer any calls to the home line if they're not from numbers I know. The telephone rings with a different ring tone for those I know and all other calls then go to the answering machine. Even my mobile I use for business calls are mostly telemarketing calls for numbers or private calls I don't know.

Scammers and telemarketers often hide their telephone number. Some calls come from interstate numbers such as when overseas callers (often telemarketers) appear to call from within Australia. If you can see the telephone number, it gives you a better chance of filtering unwanted calls. If you provide others with your telephone number, it likewise gives them a better chance of filtering unwanted calls.

Finally if you do call someone you want to speak to and they don't answer the telephone so you go to an answering machine, do leave a message. Scammers and telemarketers will simply hang up. Real people with a real need should be more than happy to leave a message.

Hopefully these tips will help us all avoid unwanted scam and telemarketing calls.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections

Thursday, February 09, 2017

New speed and red light camera locations now live.

According to the following news article on The Age site a number of new speed and red light cameras are now live.


For those who have used or checked the Speed Camera Locations site (https://www.SpeedCameraLocations.com.au) these camera locations and the pending upgrades had already been present for quite some time. However this does mean fines will shortly be enforced.

The majority of the locations are upgrades from wet film cameras to modern speed and red light cameras. The number of fines generated by wet film cameras is often quite low due to the manual effort involved. With the new cameras, we can expect to see a significant increase in fines.

The two locations that according to the article which haven't been released, are most likely Brighton Road and Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea and Nepean Highway and Centre Road, Brighton East. These are upgrades from wet-flim cameras.

Most of us know the locations of red light and speed cameras we pass every day, but if you're travelling in a strange location, or perhaps switched jobs and thus your route to work, checking the locations is a good idea.

The Speed Camera Locations site provides the ability to see a map of the locations so you can drill down and check the roads you travel on. The Speed Camera Locations site also has an alert feature, which can be used to alert you to nearby speed or red light cameras. If travelling in a strange area or taking a new route, the alert feature can be useful for helping you learn where the cameras are located.

There is now very little tolerance when it comes to going over the speed limit, and from what I've seen, no tolerance for red light camera incursions, so it is good to know where the cameras are located. There's no need to mention the fine for red light and speed camera violations is huge and can financially impact many people on limited or constrained incomes. Best to drive appropriately at all times. Whether you consider the fines unfair, a tax, or a cash grab by the government, the bottom line is these fines can be avoided by driving appropriately.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Mobile phone porting scam. If your mobile stops working contact your telco immediately.

I read an article recently about a new scam I'd not heard of previously. The scam involves porting your mobile number to another service, so the scammers and not you are in control of your mobile phone number.

In the past I've seen one person who had their mobile number redirected to a scammer and their bank account cleared out, but this one goes a step further. Porting the mobile number from one telco to another.

The following is an account of such a scam from the Bankwest site.


The lesson here is if your mobile phone service stops working unexpectedly contact your telco immediately. In fact the story shared by Bankwest indicates even if you get a notice that there may be an interruption to your service, you should contact your telco immediately as well to ensure it is actually the telco sending the message.

The reason this type of scam works, is people often have accounts set up so a confirmation is sent to their mobile phone. This is called two factor authentication. E.g. a pin number is received to enable them to verify it is actually them making the request. Once your mobile phone has been compromised and the scammer is then receiving the pin or other number, they then have control over whatever account they have access to.

You may wish to let others know of this scam, particularly those who are less comfortable with technology.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections